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Pillar: Politics & Law

Politics & Law

The third pillar of a decent society is a just system of politics and law. Such a government does not bind all persons, families, institutions of civil society, and actors in the marketplace to itself as subservient features of an all-pervading authority. Instead, it honors and protects the inherent equal dignity of all persons, safeguards the family as the primary school of virtue, and seeks justice through the rule of law.

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The Bad History of Common Good Originalism

Common-good originalism’s historical understanding of the Constitution’s adoption is perhaps its weakest link. The Constitution emerged from a negotiated consensus of a complex popular sovereign—a fact that ought to reinforce a judge’s commitment to the written text.

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Big Tech and the Battle for Republican Liberty

Control of public deliberation and political action in America is quickly passing into the hands of an unelected oligarchy. To truly break the tyranny of Big Tech, Josh Hawley and his allies may need to drop the Jeffersonian fig leaf and forthrightly embrace a contemporary revival of Hamiltonian republicanism.

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What the French Can Teach Americans About the Electoral College

Pitting as it does two different conceptions of popular sovereignty against each other, the debate over the Electoral College is a proxy for a more fundamental debate over what kind of regime should govern America. The history of French republicanism teaches that the closer Americans come to changing the way they elect their president, the closer they come to regime change.

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Are Chinese Apps Just Trojan Horses?

The future of warfare will rely heavily on technology, and apps provide the perfect avenues for acts of espionage and targeted disinformation campaigns against the American people. Since the Chinese Communist Party has access to the copious amounts of biometrics, location tracking, conversations, and other personal data collected by apps like TikTok and WeChat, the Biden administration should take action against this serious security threat.

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Repudiating Roe (Part II): The Pernicious Doctrine of Stare Decisis

The doctrine of stare decisis is a dangerous tool, malleable, and peculiarly susceptible to manipulation and abuse. It entices and deceives. If just two justices compromise their principles and betray the Constitution, Dobbs will be lost. If so, Dobbs will displace Casey as the worst Supreme Court decision of all time, and the justices rendering it will merit the most severe condemnation of history. But if the Court overrules Roe and Casey, the Dobbs case would rank among the most magnificent decisions in the Court’s history.

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God and Public Reason

Who would deny that liberalism is falling apart, that the center is not holding, or that a vindictive and evangelistic progressivism is afoot? If so, the natural law cannot but feel like feeble comfort. Still, some of us are unwilling to reject public reason or the hopefulness of John Courtney Murray, for we never assumed his optimism was naivete.

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No-Fault Divorce Is Not the Right Way to Achieve “Therapeutic Justice”

While it is good that legal systems have become more sensitive to the psychological effects of the law on participants in the legal process, we should be wary of claims that assert that no-fault divorce is “therapeutic” for divorcing couples or their children. Advocates for the sanctity of marriage across the globe should pay close attention to this shift.

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A Theological Defense of the Liberal State

Andrew Walker’s new book provides biblical-theological resources for navigating an increasingly anti-Christian culture in the West, especially the United States. Baptists have been here before, prior to the Act of Toleration in England and the First Amendment to the US Constitution. They flourished in the midst of hostility as a countercultural force for the common good. We can too.

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Critical Race Theory: Plundering the Egyptians or Worshiping Ba’al?

Critical Race Theory rightly calls us to recognize that the effects of sin can be magnified throughout the institutions and social structures erected by individuals, leading to social systems that embody unjust racial prejudices. However, by focusing on sin as embodied with or without intent in social systems, proponents of CRT lose sight of what makes sin so wrong in the first place: that individuals who bear a moral accountability before God break his moral law.

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When It Comes to Public Policy, “Following the Science” Is More Complicated Than It Sounds

Scientific evidence is vital to public policy, but science does not offer a repository of neutral evidence that arrives ready-made onto the political scene. Using science to make policy decisions is complex, requiring not only expert judgment but also the judgment of those nonexperts whose experience, knowledge, and know-how is needed to deliberate well about the best course of action.

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Lessons from the Muslim Situation in France

Nations have cultural and moral foundations, and religion is historically at their core. The secular multiculturalist fails to see why a Christian and a Muslim cannot agree to disagree and fall into peaceable line in a republic. This is because he imagines Christians and Muslims who do not take their respective faiths seriously. Only if neither adheres to basic principled claims of their faiths is it plausible to imagine all potential religious and cultural conflict between the two disappearing.

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Between Man and Man: Friendship, Law, and the Common Good

Openness to love is the only satisfying defense against the supposed conflict between private happiness and the common good, the only thing that can convert the common good from an abstraction to a lived reality. The most important element of the common good, therefore, is that all of the members of the community regard themselves, somehow, as friends.

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How to Build Levin’s “Party of the Congress” and Make the Institution Great Again

Yuval Levin is right that we need a “party of the Congress,” a group of members who are committed to exercising the constitutional powers of the House and Senate, not just competing against the opposing party. Because the House is the weaker of the institutional links, the only way the institution of Congress will have a chance to be strengthened is if a “party of the Congress” forms in that chamber. This will require opening up House rules to give rank-and-file members greater opportunities for success as entrepreneurial bipartisan legislators.

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Can We Escape the Confessional State?

In Andrew Walker’s new book, religious liberty is presented less as a political doctrine than as a description of reality itself. In this view, religious liberty is the logical consequence of an orthodox view of God as the transcendent horizon of all human effort and a view of human beings as agents with consciences not subject to direct political coercion.

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Congress Plays at Anti-Civics

The Civics Secures Democracy Act will give the federal bureaucracy tremendous leverage to influence state and local decisions about civics education content and administration, thus making them less responsive to the people. This is an anti-civics civics bill that will stoke the fires of discord and alienation.

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