Manage episode 296722293 series 2934007
America is either a plural republic or it dies. Right now, the judiciary is keeping pluralism shielded from attacks from both the political left and right. David French, one of our most thoughtful conservative public intellectuals, describes his own journey from partisan to a man without a tribe; how fighting in real war changed his view of the so-called culture war at home; the central importance of the Bill of Rights; the remarkable strength of religious liberty protections in our nation; why white Evangelicals flocked to Donald Trump ("white protestants have lost power and gained liberty and haven’t liked the exchange”, he says); how the judges, especially on the Supreme Court became "the only adults in the room"; the pros and cons of more federalism in public policy; and how the overturning of Roe v. Wade could de-escalate the culture wars. And much more.
A mini-rant from me
This conversation really made me realize how much liberal pluralists like me have come to rely on the courts now, with politicians on both sides proposing or even passing laws that are anti-pluralist and unconstitutional - and probably knowing that they are when they do it. Laws become signals of whose side you’re on, rather than of actual policy intent. The dangerous point we’ve got to is of an illiberal, performative politics held at bay only by the judiciary, which is holding the line and maintaining our liberal republic, much to the frustration, depending on the day, of the culture warriors on both sides but to the enormous relief and eternal gratitude of all liberals. The judges are keeping the Republic safe, for now. But we can’t ask the courts to do this job forever, they can’t remain in DF’s phrase, the only grown up in the room. Also there is growing pressure to appoint more politically reliable judges in the future, rather than the constitution-loving, liberty-protecting, precedent-respecting bunch we have at the moment. We need a grown-up politics rather than the pantomime we have been subject to in recent years.
David French is a leading political thinker and commentator focusing on the intersection of law, culture, and religion. He is currently a senior editor of the Dispatch and a columnist at Time. Formerly, he was a senior writer for National Review and served as the President for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. French holds a law degree from Harvard Law School and has worked on numerous religious-rights issues. Additionally, he served as senior counsel for American Center for Law and Justice and the Alliance Defending Freedom. In 2007, French was deployed to Iraq and served as a squadron judge advocate.
- Read his new and prominent book “Divided We Fall: America's Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation”
- Subscribe to his newsletter, The French Press, and read his work on The Dispatch or his column at Time. Be sure to check out his piece “Decency Is No Barrier to Justice or the Common Good” which sparked the debate between French and Ahmari.
- Watch French debate Eric Metaxes on the question “Should Christians vote for Trump?”
- I referenced Margaret Thatcher’s infamous question, “Is he one of us?”
- We discussed Sohrab Ahmari’s piece, “Against David Frenchism”
- In 2016, Donald Trump promised to restore power to Christianity, saying that it was “under tremendous siege.”
- And in 2020, Trump claimed that if Biden became president “There will be no oil. There will be no god. There will be no guns.”
- Last month, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of religious liberty in the Fulton v. City of Philadelphia case
- Recently, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law to fine social media companies that permanently bar political candidates.
- A few years ago, Jonah Goldberg characterized Congress as a “parliament of pundits”
- We mentioned Scott Alexander who ran the blog Slate Star Codex until 2020
- In 1992, Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the Madison Lecture at NYU School of Law. On the topic of Roe v Wade, she said that “a less encompassing Roe, I believe . . . might have served to reduce rather than to fuel controversy.” (p. 1199)
The Dialogues Team
Creator: Richard Reeves
Research: Ashleigh Maciolek
Artwork: George Vaughan Thomas
Tech Support: Cameron Hauver-Reeves
Music: "Remember" by Bencoolen (thanks for the permission, guys!)