smallcover 25 03 Touchstone May/June 2012The May/June 2012 issue of Touchstone is now available online in its entirety to subscribers, and a number of articles are available for reading at Featured on the cover of this issue is The Soul of Liberty by Hunter Baker.

The Soul of Liberty

Calls for Freedom, Democracy & Secularism End Up with None of the Above

by Hunter Baker

You can find a lot of interesting things on Twitter packaged in pithy statements of no more than 140 characters each. Some of you may recall that in the aftermath of the 2009 election in Iran, a number of protesters claimed that the government had tampered with the results to stay in power. Twitter was a key channel they used both to express their outrage and to receive support from sympathetic Westerners, many of whom shaded their profile pictures green as a sign of solidarity. I happened upon a number of short statements from students in Iran who asked for “Freedom, Democracy, and Secularism!”

Having studied the history of the West and paid particular attention to the question of religion and politics, this combination of concepts struck me as odd. But it obviously resonates with many Iranian students, who repeatedly use the Internet to call for this combination of political ideals. I find it again and again. They seem to believe it is the formula.

But do these three concepts belong together?

continue reading . . .

Also online from May/June 2012:

Just Sayin’
Thomas Howard on What We Used to Know vs. What We Know Now

. . .
As I try to form my prayers here, I recall that he is the one who “covereth the heaven with clouds, and prepareth rain for the earth; and maketh the grass to grow upon the mountains, and herb for the use of men: Who giveth fodder unto the cattle: and feedeth the young ravens that call upon him.” If that picture has any rag of validity, as the patriarchs, prophets, and psalmists seemed to suppose, then what can one say but Benedicite, omnia opera Domini Domino—Bless

Herein lies the rub for us who live in the post-Baconian-Cartesian-Kantian epoch. Does God do all that? Surely the works of the Lord don’t in any sense “bless” him. That’s just (“just”) poetry. Primitive Hebrew zeal. The Pathetic Fallacy. All of those things, we say, are merely programmed by “Nature,” which gets on with its own strange agenda.
. . .

A Thousand Words
Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man
by Mary Elizabeth Podles

. . .
Leonardo’s Man is more than just a well-proportioned dude. If God is a mathematician, and man conforms to the symmetries of God’s ideal forms, is man not a reflection of that divine perfection? An image, in small, of the harmonies and symmetries of the universe? A microcosm of the greater cosmos?
. . .