Category Housekeeping

Above the spectrum, but not above using Twitter

If you’re on the Twitter, please follow me @JL_Liedl. You’ll get links to all my articles, both for Above the Spectrum and those which I write in my capacity of managing editor for The Purposeful Polis, a web-channel at Ethika Politika. Additionally, I “tweet” throughout the day about compelling stories I come across and provide […]

Introducing the Purposeful Polis

If you hadn’t noticed, I haven’t posted in a week. While this lengthy dry spell can partially be attributed to an increased workload and a decreased motivation to write, it’s also partly attributable to the fact that I was working on something new and exciting. I’ve been a contributor over at Ethika Politika for a couple of […]

The raison d’être of “Above the Spectrum”

In our day and age, there exists an incessant compulsion to label everything, to categorize it, to take anything that smacks of the political and nail it down somewhere along the two dimensional spectrum that characterizes American politics. Every issue, every politician, every perspective is sorted accordingly, whether it be cast as far-left, center-right, moderate, or whatever. Everything, we are told, is reducible to the language of the spectrum.

Catholicism undermines this false paradigm. It’s not simply the case that Catholic political thought is necessarily hard to define, and therefore, to pigeonhole accordingly; instead it’s the case that Catholicism is incommensurable with the American political spectrum itself; it can not be placed anywhere on the line segment, because the Catholic understanding of politics differs fundamentally from the political philosophy that underpins the entirety of the American spectrum. Any attempt to fit Catholic political thought on the spectrum is as futile as squaring the circle.

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Where I’m coming from

An attempt at a comprehensive “About” page is in the works. For now, here is an essay I wrote as part of an application for a summer fellowship. The prompt asked for a discussion of the one text that has had the most significant effect on the applicant’s political views. I share this essay here with the idea that it will help provide some insight into where I’m coming from, as well as a vision of where I hope to take this blog.

Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue is considered one of the most important and influential philosophical texts of the 20th century. Although primarily known for its criticism of moral philosophy since the Enlightenment, as well as its role in revitalizing Aristotelian virtue ethics, After Virtue is also a work rich in political thought. I consider this book to be one of the most important I have ever read, as it has had a profound impact on my own political beliefs and convictions.

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