The June issue of Chronicles (“Surviving the Global Economy”) was simply outstanding.  This is really saying a lot, since every issue is superb.  I especially liked Jack Trotter’s article on the Abbeville, South Carolina, Christmas celebration (“Christmas in Abbeville,” Correspondence).  While certain elements of our society feel compelled to demand hatred and shame for their history among those of white, European descent, the city mayor and commissioners of Abbeville are in complete and enthusiastic support of an event that celebrates the area’s past.  The article was quite inspiring and gave me a rare experience: hope for the future.  I have made plans to attend the event this coming season.

        —Monte Poitevint
Lakeland, Georgia

On Constant Innovation

I enjoyed Clark Stooksbury’s critical review of Jeff Gomez’s book Print Is Dead: Books in Our Digital Age (“Print Lives!,” May).  But there is a deeper problem revealed in Gomez’s book that he did not discuss: Technophiles such as Gomez are essentially revolutionaries.  They believe that constant change is necessary and inevitable.  They believe the future will be better than the past.  Most importantly, they desire the total destruction of the old (in Gomez’s case, the book) and its replacement with the new.

This process of constant innovation and change is the very essence of the industrial system.  Industry has provided many social benefits, but it also carries many costs—environmental, health, emotional, etc.  But the greatest cost is spiritual.  To date, there is no case of a society becoming more religious after industrializing.  Industrialization has been the engine of secularization the world over.  The reason is that simple industry and industrial products alter, even sever, human relationships with life itself.  God’s Creation is replaced by man’s creation.  Does it have to be this way?  Not necessarily.

The Roman Catholic theologian and physicist Fr. Stanley Jaki once said that one of the greatest imperatives for Christians today is to demythologize science (and, by extension, its byproduct, technology).  Technology is a tool, not an object of worship or instrument of revolution.  The real question concerns not the power and efficiency of these tools, but whether they enhance our culture and civilization.  Do they create stronger families and communities?  Do they bring us closer to truth, beauty, and goodness?  Do they bring us closer to God and nature?  If not, get rid of them.

And with respect to books, it may be possible to fit 500 volumes onto a single wireless gadget.  It may be cheap, portable, and easy to use.  But what looks better on your shelf?

        —Tobias Lanz
Columbia, SC