We often assume that unity is the norm in human affairs, and strife the exception. But a cold-eyed view of history suggests the reverse. Unity is what needs the special cause, and today we lack the cause.
Pillar: <span>Politics & Law</span>
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.
In his recent book, David VanDrunen makes a protestant case for politics based on the natural law. We need an approach to government that recognizes the built-in moral fabric of the universe, yet refrains from exercising too much ambition in telling people how they must live their lives.
There never was a golden age when low politics didn’t enter into the process of Supreme Court nominations, but the furies unleashed by Roe v. Wade have driven the politics lower and lower. Perhaps one day the end of Roe will mean the end of “Borking” too. So we may fervently pray.
Despite Andrew Koppelman’s good-faith efforts, he has not accurately stated important, fundamental convictions of religious liberty proponents concerning the character of moral reasoning and the nature of law.
Andrew Koppelman surely is correct that a same-sex couple must find it humiliating and embarrassing to be turned away from a wedding vendor. He is also right that the costs of using public law to remedy such indignities are significant, especially for the conscientious owners whose livelihoods are at stake. So, what to do? What we need is an institution that is capable of resolving these fraught disputes on a case-by-case basis. Fortunately, the common law provides such institutions.
Individuals who are victims of abuses against their fundamental human rights can and should be defended and protected using existing human rights laws and norms, regardless of their race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or any other distinguishing characteristic. UN member states and human rights advocates alike should work to promote and protect fundamental, natural human rights, not redefine or eliminate rights based on their particular policy preferences.
Our leaders cannot abdicate responsibility for difficult decisions and simply hide behind infectious disease epidemiologists. We have a mental health epidemic to also contend with, not to mention the economic and social effects of lockdowns. It is past time for us to reckon with these devastating realities.
While I do not intend to vote for Biden, I am adamant that a Christian may in good conscience vote for him so long as it is not because of the evils he supports. Recognizing this fact is crucial for those who care about Christian witness in a fallen world. When our moral witness becomes entirely tied to prudential political judgments, we swap our faith in a transcendent redeeming God who offers us salvation for a politician or party who promises to create heaven on earth.
No amount of high principles or decorous manners can exempt conservatives from the responsibility to continue the work that Donald Trump has begun. President Trump somehow has attached his robust self-love to a love of our country. He can use help articulating the meaning of this country, but he knows what it doesn’t mean, what it is opposed to: the pincer movement of cosmopolitanism and identity politics. Recognition of this threat is the one thing needful at this moment, for the conservative movement and for the United States of America.
For too long we have acquiesced to the political choices given to us, tried to figure out what the lesser evil is, and voted for that. Instead, we should demand a vision of the good that we share in our political space and vote for the party that espouses that vision: the American Solidarity Party.
The duty of Christians is to be the soul—even more specifically, the conscience—of our civilization. The options this November, and the trajectories they promise, are not acceptable, and in choosing between them we risk forsaking our calling by soiling our witness.
Once we no longer care about the truth, our own deliberations become corrupt. When the positions we take and the policies we advocate are not restrained by truth, it no longer seems to matter how we bring about our agenda. All that matters is that we win.
In the past, disparate groups on the American right were united by their opposition to communism. Today, fears of the threat of an ascendant China, the growing boldness of cancel culture, and the enervating philosophy of the “woke” proselytizers form the basis of new right-wing coalitions. If Trump succeeds, the big government of the American right will be one that embraces American ideals, American history, and American religion rather than tearing it down in pursuit of some post-religious techno-secular utopia.
If we think there’s too much government regulation, then the authentically conservative solution is not to say, “Well, let’s just try to operate a landscape of isolated individuals jostling in a competitively economic marketplace,” but “Let’s create institutions of countervailing power so that where exploitation is happening, the people themselves are equipped to resist it, and the government doesn’t need to intervene to fix it.” If designed correctly, a system of sectoral labor unions can actually help achieve the conservative goal of limited government.
All “dissidents” and men of good will need to give serious thought to the ways they might resist the regnant ideological lies all around us. In this task, Rod Dreher’s Live Not By Lies will remain indispensable for what might be a long time to come.
The pitfall of standard anti-racism is its simplistic attribution of all such disparities to systemic racism or racist policy. Simplistic analysis suggests simplistic solutions, some of which may be detrimental to black people. Heterodox thinkers challenge simple diagnoses and solutions, steering us toward constructive endeavor to achieve genuine progress.
While both presidential candidates have changed their views on abortion over the past decades, their actions in recent years clarify the direction that they would likely take while in office. President Trump has maintained a consistent pro-life record in office that affects the regulations of various executive agencies and American leadership on the world stage. On the other hand, former Vice President Biden has moved to support his party’s current position of actively promoting federal funding for the abortion industry and cementing abortion as a constitutional right.
“One Billion Americans” is more than a cheeky provocation. It is a reflection on what it might take to restore American vitality, and the policy steps needed to get us there.
The republication of Jacques Necker’s On Executive Power in Great States is an occasion to consider that eternal conundrum: how to empower but also limit the executive branch.
The opinion editor of Newsweek should be commended for striving to publish a diversity of views at the site, but its editor-in-chief committed journalistic malpractice by taking down an essay already published in order to reschedule it when it could be “balanced” by a view less challenging to the site’s readers.
Hobbes’ thin conception of natural law cannot sustain all the activities of a fully flourishing community, but it does appeal to those who live in fear of losing their basic security. Many people are possessed by that fear today, as many were in Hobbes’ time. But we have much to lose if the Hobbesian view of law prevails.
When people quickly compare the Norwegian and Venezuelan economies, they tend to see the one trait they have in common: a big public sector. However, when we study these countries in depth, it becomes evident that the two follow opposite economic principles. While Norway’s economy is among the freest in the world, Venezuela has become a prime example of what a socialist economy looks like.
An excessive desire for certainty about COVID-19 is leading to counter-productive responses. We must make decisions based upon the limited information we have, and then execute those decisions with conviction. But let us have the humility to admit when we are wrong.
Our culture’s deep ingratitude is the long, nihilistic outworking of the logic of modern thought itself. When human experience is reduced to only will and power struggle, there no room for gratefulness. Those of us who have not renounced cosmic order and the providence that brings that order to fulfillment, by contrast, know that all things willed or permitted by God work for good. Thus we should be grateful—profoundly grateful—for everything.
Even though European nationalist parties have been in power for over a decade in Hungary and coming close to a decade in Poland, the EU diplomatic machinery continues to aggressively promote abortion rights and the LGBTQ agenda at the United Nations and around the world