“Post-revolutionary men and women are living in ways that are profoundly unnatural for the ineradicably social creatures that we are; and many are suffering as a result, at times without even knowing the name of what ails them. This preoccupation, and the desire to do something about it, continues to shape my work.”
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Public Discourse offers social conservatives precisely the type of forum that the particular challenges of our time demand. In the face of countless challenges to our familiar assumptions about politics, law, and economics, we need an honest and robust conversation among people who share the same basic moral commitments but defend widely different policies on the basis of those commitments.
Many on both the left and the right tend to speak of systemic racism simply as a 0/1 state: either the system is fundamentally and inextricably racist or it is not racist at all. But recognizing distinct mechanisms at play in a racialized system should help us see systemic racial bias as a matter of degrees—as something that can improve or worsen over time. Indeed, research suggests that racial disparities have been declining over time, though there is no guarantee of inevitable progress, and our present situation makes it clear that we still have a long way to go.
Sin corrupts every institution and every system because, one way or another, sinful human beings are involved. This means that laws, policies, habits, and customs are also corrupted by sin. We are called to do everything within our power to expunge sin from the structures of our society. Christians know that the justice of God demands that we do so. At the same time, we cannot accept that the structural manifestations of sin are the heart of the problem. No, the heart of the problem is found in the sinfulness of the individual human heart.
Christians are called not only to pray but also to act for justice, because faith without works is dead. Today, we are called to give new birth to the civil rights movement, to finally fulfill the promise of the American civil rights project for which so many fought and died.
Police killing is not the work of vigilant warriors defending society at great personal cost, and sometimes going too far. It is the day-in, day-out petty tyranny of a taxpayer-funded bureaucratic lobby group. The difference is that, unlike other public sector unions, police unions have military-grade equipment they can use to violently crush protests against their abuses, and they are legally immune from most consequences. They’re teachers’ unions, but with tanks and endless get-out-of-jail-free cards.
“Black lives matter,” taken as a sentence, is profoundly true. God made every human being in his image, which means every life on the planet, at every stage, matters. Yet that sentence is understood, nearly universally, as expressing approval of a movement rooted in critical race theory, which is grounded in destructive Marxist ideology.
Liberal justifications of liberal education are no longer effective. Teachers of humanities need a different way of defending the value of what we do and love. The Renaissance can teach us how to make a case for the study of old books that is compatible with the values of a pluralist society.
Fifty years from now, no one will care about May’s job numbers or the rocket launch. But they will remember whether—in the face of 400 years of pain and oppression—the president of the United States took decisive and bold action to heal this nation of its racist past and present through a particular and sustained national effort.
The fact is, many in positions of power and influence are oblivious or unaware of the unique challenges disproportionately facing African American communities across this country. We must now acknowledge these challenges and address these disparities that they create. The only way forward is to treat each other with the empathy and respect required of a people who have decided to share a nation—and a future.
As a nation, all citizens, regardless of color, need to respond to the persistent threat of institutional racism and persistent police brutality as if their own person was at stake. We must act to preserve life and the common good as quickly as if we were trying to preserve our own property from looting.
Accommodation and half measures—the stuff of everyday political life—will not do when we encounter the politics of mastery and subjugation. Aristotle’s “partnership of free persons” demands more.
John Ford’s America is a good deal like Ford himself—loud, brawling, and hard-charging. Ford’s Americans are also honorable, self-sacrificing, and faithful to their promises. That’s not the whole truth about America, not by a long shot. But it’s true enough that in John Ford’s films, we will forever see something of ourselves.
Integralism delivers a more realistic view of how states actually function—including states that are secular—than do models currently dominant in political and legal philosophy.
The leaked draft executive order “Make Federal Buildings Beautiful Again,” is not perfect, and it could easily be amended for the better. Still, a careful reading should not bring to mind visions of gulags. It has also given traditional and classical architects an unforeseen and unasked opportunity to promote their cause in a public forum.
The phrase “achievement gap” refers to the well-documented discrepancies between the scholastic achievements of African American and Latinos on the one hand and white students on the other. What explains the gap? My meta-analysis revealed that if an African American or Latino student was a person of faith and came from a two biological parent family, the achievement gap totally disappeared, even when adjusting for socioeconomic status.
The 1619 Project’s goal is not just reframing American history on ideological grounds, but reframing the philosophy of history itself. This in turn harms our ability to learn from history and understand our identity as Americans.
If you really must attack other conservatives, take the time to figure out what they actually said and why, and interpret them charitably, the way you would wish to be interpreted. You owe this even to your enemies, but other conservatives are not your enemies but your friends. After that, have some definite arguments.
“Virtue politics” is modeled on the phrase “virtue ethics,” an approach to moral philosophy inspired by Aristotle and elaborated by the British philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe. “Virtue politics” describes the central concerns of Renaissance political philosophy. Like the ancient Greeks, the Renaissance humanists had a richer understanding of what the state has to do in order to encourage virtue.
We need good measures of economic activity, but we must not presume that these measurements are impervious to political pressures, as though they were no more than the product of certain methods.
Christians cannot support so-called “Fairness For All” for this overarching reason: it is grounded in an unbiblical conception of the human person. The Scripture will not allow us to see any ungodly “orientation” or “identity” as essential to our humanity, as directed toward our flourishing, and thus enshrined in law as a protected category.
The 1619 Project points us to the need for the 3395 Project—the project of constructing a new and stronger American identity that incorporates both the experiences, perspectives, and distinctive contributions of the descendants of enslaved Africans (1619) and also the aspirations and ideals enunciated by European Americans in the Declaration of Independence (1776).
Hannah Arendt has been unjustly transformed into a political partisan for the liberal causes that are in vogue today. Letting Arendt speak for herself recovers her intellectual independence as someone who defined herself apart from and against the political traditions of her day—including progressive liberalism.
Is it any surprise that shooter Patrick Crusius called his attack “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas” when the president himself uses this language?
Could a new national conservative coalition enable Burkean conservatives to harness populist energy, using public policy to strengthen the core American institutions of family, religion, and country? Or will it inevitably degenerate into dehumanizing racism and xenophobia?