All posts by Marc Clauson

A Tribute to Jane Jacobs and a Christian View of Life in Cities

I realized only this week that last year was the centennial of the birth of Jane Jacobs, who was born in 1916 and died in 2006.  Now some or all of my readers might not recognize the name, but among city planners, architectural scholars, urban historians, urban economists and political scientists of an urban bent, she was (and is) legendary.  So my tribute here also gives me an opportunity to once again write about cities, their successes and failures.  It… Continue Reading ››

Are People Finally Getting Wise About Higher Education?

The Pew Research Center has released a study that shows Americans, especially more conservative Americans, are realizing that colleges and universities are, as the study states the most common answer, “have a negative effect on the country.” (see http://www.people-press.org/2017/07/10/sharp-partisan-divisions-in-views-of-national-institutions/)  While overall 55% of respondents still believe institutions are higher education are valuable, the percentage has declined in recent years, and dramatically among conservatives, who just a few years ago reported a positive view.  So what is happening?   A Washington… Continue Reading ››

Making Cities “Great” Means Making People “Great”

I just returned from a visit with my mother in my (and her) home city, Huntington, West Virginia.  We drove by way of Portsmouth, Ohio.  Both cities are in “flyover country” and both have suffered from the heavy (and likely irreversible) loss of manufacturing jobs.  To give you an idea of the losses, Huntington has dwindled from about 90,000 residents in 1960 to about 45,000 today.  Even accounting for suburban flight, that is a big loss–and the suburbs haven’t grown… Continue Reading ››

Sharia Law Protests: The Truth About Sharia

It has been reported that today (June 19m 2017) has been set aside for protests around the nation against Sharia law, the legal system used in most Muslim countries to a greater or lesser extent.  The principles for Sharia are derived from both the Quran and Hadith, the alleged sayings of Muhammed and have been more or less systematized into various schools of legal thought (five to be precise), all having significant overlap.  There are a number of groups today… Continue Reading ››

“How Do You Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm When They’ve See ‘Gay’ Paris”*

President Trump has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement.  I will say at the outset that I support this move.  Let’s settle the “legal” issues first.  The agreement was not a treaty, and was not ratified by the Senate.  It might be classified as an executive agreement or as a simple presidential agreement.  The courts have never held an agreement other than a treaty as binding in an attempt to leave that agreement.  That should settle that–unless of course some… Continue Reading ››

Memorial Day and Patriotism

On Memorial Day we take time to remember the sacrifices made by those who have served and currently served in the United States military, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  It is right that we should do so.  This commemoration is intended to be neither overly sentimental nor falsely patriotic to the point of ultra-nationalism.  More than that, Christians too can meaningfully participate in these kinds of commemorations, even though we must also recognize that our ultimate citizenship… Continue Reading ››

President Trump’s Budget: Neither Great nor Terrible

A reader asked me to post something on President Trump’s proposed budget to Congress.  Opinions have varied as to whether this budget is the apocalypse on one end or the second coming on the other, and pretty much every nuance in between.  As with most budgets–though you may not remember the last one, since it has been some time–this one is only a prospective declaration of a vision embodied in numbers.  There is no likelihood it will be adopted as… Continue Reading ››

Trump’s Follies: Ethical? Legal? Impeachable?

My Bereans colleague Mark Smith wrote a blog post the other day that has irritated some people and made others quite happy.  In this post, I hope to irritate both sides of the Donald Trump “crisis.”  By now, we have all read or heard about President Trump’s misdeeds, or alleged misdeeds, depending on your perspective: firing FBI Director James Comey, “giving” classified information to Russia, and lately, inviting Comey to the White House before he was fired and then pressing… Continue Reading ››

Democracy: Embrace or Re-think?

I recently finished a book by Jason Brennan entitled Against Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2015) that I found intriguing.  It might not sound glamorous but I think the topic is timely in light of our American love of democracy in its various forms, whether direct or representative.  I don’t want to leave the impression that Brennan is some sort of either anarchist on the one hand or totalitarian or monarchist on the other.  Rather what he does is pose a… Continue Reading ››

Speech: Its Value and Its Limits

Several incidents have occurred recently at American colleges and universities that raise the question of where freedom of speech is headed today.  Now let’s be clear.  Not all speech is morally acceptable if we are serious about our Biblical commitments.  Private Christian universities have good reason sometimes to create conditions for edifying and pure expression of faculty and students.  In addition private schools also have the legal right to restrict the opposite kind of expression–I daresay, even the obligation.  However… Continue Reading ››