Caleb Stegall was one of the early guiding lights of Front Porch Republic, and his influence on the project, however distant, still endures. I’ve enjoyed, and learned much from, my opportunities to argue (usually unsuccessfully) with him about matters political, legal, and theological over the years, and that endures as well. Today, Justice Caleb Stegall, of the Kansas Supreme Court, published a short note that emphasized–in the midst of the radicalism often associated with any serious attempt to articulate a localist vision in the midst of globalized capitalism and its attending centralized culture–that the occasionally marginalized virtues of liberal procedures are worth remembering. I can’t put it better than him, so I won’t; instead, here’s a taste of his conclusion:
In the face of hard disagreements–and unfair name-calling–the civic temperament demanded by the rule of law calls us to strive for the ideal of a public-spirited, deliberative and reasoned engagement with others….[A]t a time when many are wondering if our political structures are hopelessly broken, the American constitutional tradition of sheltering, protecting and cherishing an open public space for the full airing of all viewpoints and facts–even on behalf of unpopular people and ideas, and doing so with deliberation and reason–deserves the respect and support of all of us, together.
Thanks for the reminder, Caleb.