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Diamond from Coal

July 23rd, 2002 · No Comments

So what good is one more bloated and typically silly piece from Michael Novak? That latest one did at least produce a beautifully crafted response from Will. Since he trashes the most banal part of Novak’s argument effectively enough, I’ll limit myself to one ancillary observation. The piece opens with familiar rhetoric about how the ACLU wants to force religion “underground,” to purge it from the “public sphere.” Isn’t this a sign of something deeply weird about contemporary culture? That is, it seems to be totally unremarkable that someone would think to equate the whole of the public sphere with the sphere of government, and to consider what isn’t state sponsored “underground.” I’m still trying to figure out why voucher system which would guarantee tuition to all members of the public doesn’t count as “public education,” just because the schools aren’t run by the government. I mean, I used to think people who insisted on calling them “government schools” were being a little silly, but it sure seems like that little bit of linguistic conflation is doing bad things to the brains of otherwise smart people.

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