The reason I missed the Veronica Mars stuff yesterday was, obviously, the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis. I don’t have any especially keen observations or thoughts about Francis–for that you should be following George Weigel.
But I do have a thought about part of the world Pope Francis is inheriting, and that is this: You cannot understand the real philosophical problems of the West–which have been mounting for 40 years–without reading Mary Eberstadt’s new book How the West Really Lost God.
Mary Eberstadt is one of the brightest minds in Washington. (By happy coincidence, she’s also one of the nicest people in D.C.) She’s been writing great stuff for as long as I’ve been in journalism, but this book is pretty clearly her masterwork. I got the galleys a couple weeks ago and what it does is basically take the demographic data and do really smart metaphysics with it. This is a many-splendored book, but the general thesis is that the decline of the family and the decline of religion aren’t just linked–the former is actually powering the latter.
You can read the introduction online now, but I’d highly recommend ordering a copy now. This is one of those seminal books which should change the entire discussion of demographics, religion, and the decline of the West.