All people should be protected from harassment and harm, no matter how they identify. But we as a society must be allowed to reasonably act on the basis of sex when medical treatment, privacy, and safety are at stake. If “gender identity” becomes a protected class, women and children are the ones who will suffer most.
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.
Thomas More’s Utopia suggests that a defense of property emphasizing material productivity, though valid, is inadequate. By probing classical reasons for and against private property, More goes deeper, addressing the objective needs of the human soul.
To faithfully apply the original public meaning of liberty protected by the Constitution—that is to say, to be a faithful originalist—one must acknowledge that both a contractarian view of individual liberty and a Whig view of the liberty to make laws were held by the founding generation.
Indifference to human life in the prenatal phase is the original sin of the multilateral system, enshrined in its constituent agreements and diligently propagated throughout its institutions. Nothing short of a revolution in international policy will do if the human rights project is to be truly reclaimed.
In conservation biology, a complex ecosystem whose health was slowly compromised over time can be revivified through a cascade of positive changes set in motion by reintroducing one of that system’s previous components. That’s exactly what today’s civil society needs, and conservative policymakers can help. We mustn’t shy away from using policy to achieve important ends—not just freedom, but the lessons, beliefs, and norms that make a free society succeed.
The alternative to the ideology of radical self-sufficiency is not reliance on the state, but the kind of community-based brotherly love and mutual aid that could be found even during midwestern American farmers’ darkest days. In the end, neither individuals nor governments, but communities, are the real vehicles for peace, harmony, and human flourishing.
This Friday, the Court will decide whether to review a case about an Indiana law that prohibits abortions performed solely because the unborn child has Down Syndrome or another disability. Regardless of our nation’s polarized views on the policy and politics of abortion, it is clear that our Constitution does not include a right to abort children merely because of disfavored characteristics.
In the midst of a Church sex abuse scandal, many serious questions arise about the Church’s relationship to civil authorities. Any question of the state’s role or the freedom of the Church is obviously secondary to the moral urgency of ensuring that children are kept safe. Now is the time for the Church to contend deeply and thoroughly with its sins and to build structures consistent with the call to holiness.
Public Discourse is launching two new features: short book notes and long form essays. They'll run occasionally, on Saturdays and Sundays. Today is our first longform essay. Enjoy.
Permission to own slaves and suppress false religions was taught by the Old Testament, never denounced by the New Testament, and accepted in word and deed for very long periods by popes, bishops, and saints. And yet the Church eventually repudiated such permission. So, too, with intentional killing in capital punishment. The fact that death is deserved and proportionate does not license the state or any human being to intend to impose it.
Conservatives cannot afford to abandon the institutions of power that seek to redefine human rights for the entire world.
In The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, historian Michael Burleigh refuses to play favorites, calling on all conscientious citizens to demand the highest possible standards from their leaders. He does not always tell readers what they want to hear, only what they need to hear—and for that they should be very thankful.
“Economic piety” has led to an overemphasis on consumption, writes Oren Cass in The Once and Future Worker. If we value family and community life, we need a labor policy that is explicitly intended to sustain them.
Perhaps the real source of liberal anxiety is not simply that a conservative-dominated Supreme Court will become activist in the opposite direction. Rather, a more far-reaching consequence for the American left would be a repositioning of the judicial branch as equal—not superior—to the legislative branch.
The Vatican should not cede selection of bishops in China to the Communist Party.
Common-law marriage can never entirely be abolished. The duties of marital relations are generated and vested by the actions of the parties themselves.
The fortieth anniversary of the Jonestown massacre should remind us to beware of utopian causes with totalitarian methods, on either political extreme. Though they promise social justice, they only deliver deadly power.
In an age when supranational technocrats, utopian globalists, leftists contemptuous of patriotism, and tribal populists seem locked in relentless struggle with each other, we need individuals like Charles de Gaulle more than ever.
Melting Pot or Civil War? is a policy book. It’s a good one, to be sure. But our immigration crisis needs more than just policy. When making policy changes that relate to immigration, we need to consider the human cost.
Eighty-five years ago, staunchly self-reliant American farmers encountered a crisis-the Dust Bowl-they simply could not overcome on their own. The story of the Dust Bowl is a story about American grit and perseverance, but also about the limits of libertarianism.
There was an opportunity in 1787 to have torn up slavery by its roots, and that opportunity was missed. But the missing came as much through overconfidence that the march of opinion would wipe out slavery on its own, and as much through the miscalculations of political compromise, as through any conscious policy to foster or promote slavery.
American Muslims must seek to preserve the American constitutional settlement against encroachments by totalitarian secularism because doing so means preserving what remains of a civilizational order that proceeds from belief in God.
We have a moral right to own guns.
Justice Ginsburg’s claim in Masterpiece Cakeshop is deeply troublesome and problematic. Mistakenly asserted, it adds to the aggravated polarization within the United States.
Aristotle described three types of friendship. In a season of increased polarization and even calls for incivility from national political leaders, perhaps we need a fourth.
For ten years, Public Discourse has drawn on the insights of academics and scholars, political and legal advocates, and men and women of letters to offer the reading public thought-provoking reflections on the timeliest issues and the most timeless dilemmas of our public life.