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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Sailing on the Ship of Fools

The values America’s elites cherish are not the incontestable truth of things, and they may even run counter to the deeper truths of American politics and human life. Those who aspire to lead our country—and to deserve to lead it—would do well to ponder these lessons by reading Tucker Carlson’s Ship of Fools.

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Building A Culture of Religious Freedom

Serve the poor. Help the weak. Protect the unborn child. Speak the truth about the beauty and order of creation: Male and female he created them (Gen 5:2). Fight for your right to love and serve God, and for others to do the same. Defend the dignity of marriage and the family, and witness their meaning and hope to others by the example of your lives. Adapted from an address delivered at the Alliance Defending Freedom Summit on July 9, 2019.

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Politics as Usual

In Rucho v. Common Cause, the Supreme Court’s recent case on gerrymandering, both the majority and the dissenting opinions were heavy on pragmatics and light on constitutional interpretation. The heart of their disagreement is a difference of visions of how the judiciary ought to interact with the electoral process.

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Immigration Realism without Abandoning Ideals

Concerns about the effects of immigration on social cohesion and democratic sovereignty are legitimate, but we should avoid false moralistic narratives that pit pro-immigration elites against the American people. These narratives mask the diversity of “real Americans,” simplify the American people’s complex views on immigration, and downplay democratic politics’ potential to empower excluded groups and redefine the political community.

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Cash for Kids: Does Public Assistance Undermine Family Life?

Currently, public assistance in the United States damages vital social institutions like marriage. But the problem is not the public assistance itself: the problem is that we only provide guaranteed financial support to single people. When you don’t punish people for being married or reward them for being unmarried, but just provide simple, flat benefits to support family life, these benefits actually support family life.

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Cross Purposes

The Supreme Court has long channeled the views of a very particular sort of religious and elite class interest in its Establishment Clause jurisprudence concerning religious displays. Cases like American Legion v. American Humanist Association suggest that it is—gradually and haltingly, but nevertheless steadily—withdrawing from this field of cultural combat.

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Measles, Mumps, and Religious Freedom: Mandatory Vaccination and the Limits of Parental Rights

It is a mark of responsible governance, not authoritarian overreach, for states to act when the demands of public health call for such measures. It is true that the presumption of freedom, religious liberty, and parental authority are all at risk in an increasingly regulatory, secular, and statist culture, but it is an error to see vaccination policy as an essential battleground for defense of these important rights.

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False Choices: Religion’s Role in the American Revolution

In eighteenth-century political reasoning and rhetoric, ministers and statesmen were not obliged to choose between pragmatism or piety, orthodoxy or heterodoxy, reason or revelation. As we grapple with the role of religion in the American Revolution, we should not impose false dichotomies routinely used by modern scholars but were unknown to their subjects.

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Our Little Platoons Need Reinforcements

In Alienated America, Tim Carney paints a picture of a nation riven by a social capital divide, a divide that has led to the rise of populism and socialism. Our task is to rebuild civil society. This work need not wait for enabling legislation, the seizing of the means of production, or a national declaration of fealty to Rome. It can—and should—be undertaken today.

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A Case of Stolen Jurisprudence in Kansas

Kansas’s Supreme Court randomly festooned its recent decision on abortion with impressive terms, without making the slightest effort to learn the terms’ meanings. The court identifies “common law” with judicial opinions and thus shoehorns innovative judicial decisions into its discussion of “natural rights.”

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Conservative Women and the Intra-Conservatism Debate

Women have an understanding of conservatism that goes deeper than policy ideas, because we uniquely understand human relationships. The men that are the standard-bearers of conservatism need to make a greater effort to cultivate conservative women’s voices in the public square.

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It’s Time to Teach Our Children to Stand Up for Life—No Matter Who Stands in Their Way

It’s not enough to teach our children that life is sacred from the moment of conception until natural death. We must also teach them to declare the truths of our faith in the public square. Inside the loving embrace of the family, the faithful need to raise a new generation of Christians that stands up for life and boldly proclaims their faith, understanding that no one, not even an elected official, has the right to stand in their way.

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In Defense of Pence: Commencement Controversies in an Outraged World

Vice President Mike Pence has been invited to deliver the 2019 commencement address for Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. However, a severe backlash against the former Indiana governor demands that his invitation be rescinded. The accusations against Pence are fallacious, slanderous, and contrary to both a biblical worldview and a liberal-arts education.

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Thomas More’s Antidote to Modern Ideologies

Niccolò Machiavelli’s imprudence is surprisingly similar to that of Thomas More’s fictional character Raphael Hythloday. Since prudence is the virtue that finds practical means to moral ends, imprudence may consist in rejecting either practical realities (as does Raphael) or ethical principles (as does Machiavelli). To achieve justice, political regimes must reject both idealism and utilitarianism.

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We Cannot Be Both Christians and Marxists

Terry Eagleton attempts to offer us a gentle revolution, a soft “transition” from Catholicism to Marxism. This is as theoretically and theologically impossible as it is historically unprecedented. Any “radical sacrifice” on anything other than God’s terms will lead to mass bloodshed and human suffering, as it has whenever and wherever such a project has been tried before.