Kathryn Lopez

One of these threats, the Department of Health and Human Services insurance mandate that has forced business owners and religious leaders to court for relief is about protecting basic conscience rights that the late Ted Kennedy, as well as Hillary Clinton, when marketing her health-care reform plan as first lady, were not long ago in favor of. It's about basic freedom.

Family life is on the decline. Researchers and commentators tell us what we can see every time we get on an elevator or wait in a checkout line: People are connected, but they're not connecting. Good luck building families and communities, kids, in a culture of looking down at your iWhatever. Add to this an increase in Americans who believe that anything goes spiritually -- who needs organized religion anyway? -- when we actually do look up from our gadgets, we may just find that the mediating institutions that have buttressed our pluralistic, democratic republic have become relics.

We need to do more than just hit "refresh."

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.