Localist LinkfestBy J. Arthur Bloom for FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC
From “Homeschooling and Christian Duty,” by Sally Thomas, in First Things:
The idea of sending a child daily into a hostile environment—if not actively hostile, as in bullying, then certainly philosophically hostile—expecting him not only to withstand assaults on everything his parents have told him is true but also to transform the entire system by his presence, seems sadly misguided to me. There may be many valid arguments for sending a child to school, but that one doesn’t wash.
Damon Linker on the Benedict Option:
… at other times, and more often over the past year, Dreher echoes the darker (and more dialectical) arguments of another friend, Patrick Deneenof Notre Dame. In Deneen’s telling, the recent collapse of Christianity’s political opposition to secular liberalism is the culmination of a long process that began before the time of the American founding, with the modern project of liberating humanity from the yoke of revealed religion and church authority. For a long time it looked like this project had developed along two broad tracks: at one extreme the French model of official state secularism (laïcité); at the other the American model of religious disestablishment combined with a broad right to religious free exercise.
Unlike the French model, the American approach to adjudicating conflicts between politics and religion has favored accommodation. This, in turn, persuaded devout Christians that they were free to live out their faith in public and even to seek political power, provided they didn’t try to set up an established church. But now, with the solicitor general of the United States musing before the Supreme Court about the possibility of stripping religious colleges of their tax-exempt status for upholding the sexual teachings of historic Christianity, these accommodationist hopes have been exposed as a ruse. All modern states follow a logic of laïcité, we can now see, even the United States — and even if it did so with a relatively light touch for much of the last few centuries.
This is a very radical argument. …
Noah Millman has some questions
Malcolm Pollack on Dzokhar’s death sentence:
The problem was that Mr. Tsarnaev’s was a Federal prosecution, and so proceeded according to Federal rules. This bothered the panelists no end; although they grudgingly acknowledged that Federal law supersedes local custom in these circumstances, they seemed awfully put out about it — because, you see, it was at odds with their own sense of right and wrong, and with their wish to do things the way they like to on their own home turf. Because the action of the Federal juggernaut has, for all of our lifetimes, busied itself almost exclusively with imposing on recalcitrant States the very same liberal values they themselves espouse, I actually believe this was the first time in their lives it had ever occurred to these pious and self-righteous busybodies, these preening moral solipsists, that using the crushing power of the Federal leviathan to override local norms might have any down-side at all. That it was just a matter of the shoe, at long last, being on the other foot, and so might give them something to think about, seemed to occur to none of them, however; I heard nothing but grumbling.
The Josias on republican liberty and the common good:
Christianity is sometimes construed as inimical to republican virtue. Hannah Arendt quotes Tertullian to this effect: “nec ulla magis res aliena quam publica.” Indeed, Jesus teaches a code of morality that can be fulfilled privately; you are to do good works secretly “that your Father who sees in secret” will reward you for (Matthew 6:4-18). But any student of politics—Thomas included—recognized political virtues. Orestes Brownson glosses the point, “France owes infinitely less to St. Louis [Louis IX] than to Louis XI, Richelieu, and Napoleon, who, though no saints, were statesmen.”
In America, there is precedent for incorporating virtue into a Christian republicanism, and also for Christian republicanism to dethrone a politics of competing interests. John Patrick Diggins shows how Hermann Melville and especially Abraham Lincoln, versed in the language of good versus evil, appealed to the Founding and the Declaration of Independence as religious text. (Indeed, Jacques Derrida has argued that the circular logic of the document, wherein the people’s representatives “sign the people into existence,” depends on God’s countersignature for authorization.)Lincoln consecrates an American Republic based on a revolution older than the constitutional compact, “carrying on the classical tradition inaugurated by Machiavelli” while also fusing what Machiavelli had sundered: political virtù and moral virtue.
At the time of Lincoln and Melville, Orestes Brownson, the sadly neglected American Catholic political theorist of the nineteenth century, points towards the ancient republicanism of virtue that predates the “modern infidel school.” His own turn away from “liberal Catholicism” in 1874, and towards a more robust Catholic public discourse of virtue, should point towards Catholic republicanism.
Related: Nick Szabo on the Justinian Code and the Constitution as corporate charter
ZEDEs in Honduras to get off the ground next month
Tibet’s Seda monastery
Russell Moore on the Pew study
Freeman on Henry George and Jane Jacobs