This is the second post in a three part series aimed at summarizing some of the arguments made at Notre Dame during the Center for Ethics and Culture’s 15th annual conference, this year on poverty. You can read my first post here. In the following post, I’d like to elaborate on the ways in which we are all called in our own vocations to participate in solutions to material and spiritual poverty.

On Healthcare

The first breakout session I attended was a panel of medical doctors moderated by bioethics professor William Hurlbut of Stanford University. Each doctor gave insight into the ways the medical field is uniquely challenged with questions of poverty and how doctors should work to reform the system.

This weekend I flew out to Notre Dame as a guest of professors Gladden Pappin and O. Carter Snead for the 15th annual fall conference hosted by the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, entitled “Your Light Will Rise in Darkness: Responding to the Cry of the Poor.” The program, which spanned three days, gave attendees a unique opportunity to hear about the breadth of the topic, which was chosen in response to Pope Francis’ pontificate. Undergraduate and graduate students alike had opportunities to present submitted papers and were joined by many distinguished guests including Alasdair MacIntyre and Jim Heckman, a Nobel Laureate in Economics. In a series of three posts, I’d like to offer in the form of a summary some of the arguments made at Notre Dame this weekend and any commentary I may have as well.

On Sunday, October 12, three swastikas were chalked on the sidewalk on Old Campus. Dean Holloway, the next day, sent a campus-wide email condemning this act, affirming a campus culture that values respectful openness, and asking those with information to come forward. This situation presents us with the difficult question of how we ought to deal with offensive but anonymous acts of defacement based in hatred. Sure, community-wide and public condemnation of such acts and promotion of more positive and respectful attitudes are important first steps, but can we prevent these situations from occurring in the future?

A strange thing is happening in my hometown of Toronto: After a summer of record lows, Rob Ford, our infamous mayor, is seeing an upswing in his poll numbers. If you’re anything like me, then you probably suspect that there’s an interesting trend driving the change. It’s possible to dismiss this as just an insignificant fluctuation as frustrated, disenfranchised voters shift their support between candidates ahead of the late-October election. Even if that’s all it ends up being, there are still a couple of pretty interesting electoral trends that are worth considering, and a pretty counterintuitive fact that underlies it all.

We so often hear of the Chinese export market. Following a controversial ruling in China on antitrust laws, Tom Mitchell in the Financial Times provides an interesting look into the inner workings of a rather foreign-dominated industry within China: the automobile industry. Mitchell focuses on the investigations into some foreign automobile companies such as BMW, Audi, and Honda. And he sheds light on their questionable violations of Chinese antitrust laws—violations of fixing the prices of spare parts and those of repair and maintenance services.

Editors’ note: This week, following President Obama’s recent “We don’t have a strategy yet” gaffe, we turn to WFB’s take on the foreign policy of a different president. As part of his syndicated column called On the Right, Buckley wrote the following piece with the title “Now Do You Understand?” and with a bit of his usual wit. Originally published on August 22, 1980, this piece criticizes President Carter for trying to resolve the hostage crisis in Iran by appealing to the Ayatollah through none other than Muammar Qaddafi.

We’ve added in some links for a few other figures as well. Take a look. 

A senior’s op-ed in the YDN yesterday (“Keeping (out) the faith“) caught my attention for its frank dismay at the place religion occupies on Yale’s campus. Most notably, Kyle Tramonte pointed out a weird disconnect among students: There are many religious or faith-based organizations on campus, there are many religious and spiritual students involved in those organization, and yet there seems to be an unspoken campus-wide agreement, in and out of the classroom, that one’s faith is not a respectable justification for much of anything.

The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, is an unfortunate case where a severe penalty was imposed that was not equivalent to the crime committed. Yet Brown was a suspect in a robbery; and Officer Wilson, the cop who pulled him over for questioning, later ended up in the hospital with reports of a broken eye socket, swelling on his head, and other unconfirmed injuries from a scuffle. Brown was a victim of circumstance, yet of circumstances he perhaps created. The events that occurred that day would not have happened had Michael Brown stayed home or gone with the officer without fighting.

Ideas Have Consequences
by Richard M. Weaver
University of Chicago, 203 pages, $18

While written by one of the best known and well-respected conservative thinkers, Ideas Have Consequences actually has many arguments easily grasped by those who may not feel ready to dive straight into rigorous, academic texts. I can’t deceive you; Richard Weaver’s discussion of truth, reason, rationality, individuality, and sentiment is quite complex. Though if you need some convincing to read this famous, skillfully written work—ever-important to the conservative worldview—you’ll certainly find it in some of the topics within.