I've been coming across some pretty great gift ideas for this Christmas season so I thought I would share these things with you, dear reader.
Of course, giving or receiving the gift of Salvo would be my absolute number one suggestion. The new issue will be mailing out tomorrow and I think this is our best one yet so please show your support for Salvo and spread the word by giving a subscription. (Give a gift subscription online and use the special offer code CHRISTMAS to get a discounted rate of $10 off).
Salvo promotion aside, I now offer to you my next gift recommendation. It comes from the "Blips (reviews) section of the latest issue of Salvo. It is the excellent little book What We Can't Not know by J. Budziszewski.
What We Can't Not Know: A Guide by J. Budziszewski
reviewed by Terrell Clemmons
J. Budziszewski wants to talk about the facts of life. No, not those facts of life, but the moral and ethical realities built into the created order—those common truths we all really know about right and wrong that have historically been referred to as the natural law. To suggest the existence of such a thing as a "moral fact" in postmodern company may be regarded as more scandalous than bringing up the other facts of life at a dinner party. But a created moral order exists as certainly as does a physical one, and Dr. Budziszewski has produced an excellent manual for helping us become conversant about it.
The Common Ground
First, he re-establishes the common moral ground of natural-law philosophy, the best expression of which is found in the Decalogue—the Ten Commandments. What We Can't Not Know lays out rational explanations for its moral precepts, which are unapologetically presented not only as true for all people, at all times, in all cultures, but also as known at some level by all.
Precepts such as It is right to acknowledge the Creator and It is wrong to murder are underived. We just know them, whether or not we choose to acknowledge them. Budziszewski presents four clear and perennially present "witnesses" that attest to natural law: (1) the interior witness of deep conscience or the moral intellect—which is deeper than surface conscience, which can be damaged and rendered ineffective; (2) the witness of design, as seen in DNA or in self-replicating life; (3) the witness of design in the human species, as seen in human interdependencies, complementarity, and spontaneous ordering—the prime example of which is the family as the universal foundation of all civilizations; and (4) the witness of natural consequences or penalties, such as guilty knowledge, for violating the moral order.
See also Salvo gift idea #1 (in no particular order).