Heeding the Times from Harry Antonides' Desk

An Open Letter to Our Readers

April 1, 1988 -

What is so special about Professor Allen Bloom of the University of Chicago anyway? Why did his scathing indictment of American higher education (The Closing of the American Mind) catapult him to instant fame and on to The New York Times best seller list?

The answer is that Professor Bloom minces no words in saying that education which rejects the difference between right and wrong, truth and falsehood, destroys man's soul.

But what does Professor Bloom have to do with this letter and with the Work Research Foundation? A great deal, because he at least raises the right questions: what is Truth? And, by what standards are we to live? The Work Research Foundation was founded in 1974 not to provide all the answers to those questions, but to focus on two areas that directly affect a very large part of our lives: our daily work and the economy.

Obviously, we must limit ourselves and therefore we have modestly worded our effort as "doing research in industrial relations and economics." The most important thing is that we wish to do so from a Christian perspective.

All around us we see a great deal of frenzied activity to fix this "problem," to correct that "injustice," and to even out yet another "inequality." Increasingly, our society sees all issues as purely horizontal and therefore solvable by this or that tactical or strategic adjustment (often government-directed) or even by revolution. The cry is for freedom and self-realization. But it is largely forgotten that freedom is a gift of God, which can be truly enjoyed only by surrendering ourselves in service to God and the neighbour.

Starting with a Christian world-view, which is fundamentally counter to the spirit of our age, has far-reaching implications for the way we work and view the economy in general. People are never just individuals but live within a variety of institutions and associations. Furthermore, we recognize that the economy is not an isolated area but is intertwined with all the other dimensions of life. That is why in our research and writing we pay attention not only to clearly discernible and work-related economic issues and developments, but also to the underlying shifts and changes taking place in the way people view institutions (especially family, state, and business) and their interaction.

The current members of the board of directors are John Adema (Georgetown), Douglas Ball (Mississauga) and Peter Nicolai (Brampton). The WRF is a small organization with modest resources. So far we have operated, only with part-time staff and shared facilities, which we have been able to arrange through a very cooperative relationship with the Christian Labour Association of Canada. We would like to expand our current program of research and publication and sponsor more seminars and conferences devoted to the dissemination of ideas and insights.

We hope you like what you are reading in this newsletter. If you are not already a member or supporter of the WRF, we ask you become one now. We invite you to complete the reply form attached below and return it to us. Your interest and support will help us become a more effective Christian influence in a society badly in need of the healing power of the Gospel.

Web coordinator note: Q&A
How long has Comment been around?
Cardus was incorporated under the former name "Foundation for Research and Education in Developing a Christian Approach to Industrial Relations and Economics" (really!) In September, 1974. Comment was published as a 8.5x11 newsletter starting in January, 1983, under the editorial direction of Harry Antonides. After a brief hiatus in the early 2000s, Comment re-emerged in its current form (perfect bound book, and very regular online content) in August 2005.
http://www.cardus.ca/comment

This article originally appeared in Comment magazine, a journal founded by Harry Antonides. Find all of Harry’s pieces, and thousands more, at http://www.cardus.ca/comment