As Americans, we must remember that place matters, and our founding principles are best understood when we look at how they were made real in the city of brotherly love.
Our duty is to live lives that conform to what is good, true, and beautiful. Natural rights in general, and the rights enshrined in the Constitution in particular, are means for citizens to fulfill their duties, live good lives, and build up their families and communities.
Let’s have a localism without nostalgia, a practical but also a faithful localism. As localists let’s be committed to an accurate accounting of the checkered past that grounds our hope.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, freedom is actually enhanced, not curtailed, when states have the right to experiment, subject to important federal constitutional limitations, with social and economic polices till they do right by their citizens.
For brokenists, the new regime is not just a matter of garden-variety regulatory capture, and “the rules” are just as often a symptom of the problem as a solution to it. This “merger of state and corporate power” comes, like all regimes, with a legitimating ideology, a cultural vision. And there seem to be quite a lot of rules involved in that vision. It’s technocratic, to say the least.
Weak parties are susceptible to extreme candidates who take advantage of party weakness to run shallow, populist campaigns. These people seem fun. They appeal to our political id, mostly in the way they make fun of everyone who opposes them, and encourage us to fester in our (often reasonable) frustrations and anger.
A skeptic’s take on such a variety of experience would chalk it up as privileged gonzo larkishness or chest-beating thrill-seeking—an understandable take, one likely partly true. But there was more to it. For I’ve not acknowledged the murders of his father and uncle; the psychic fallout in the family afterward; and his years-long struggle with drug addiction. That Mr. Kennedy had such an appetite for life despite these harrowings is considerable.
Why does my third child, my little son whom I mention above, need me to be in physical contact with him while he reads? Because it helps him feel warm and safe, I imagine, and so he is not as afraid of making mistakes. Alternative educators recognized this in the classroom decades ago: that children read better with an adult’s arm around them, or while piled onto soft pillows with a couple of friends.
Modernity has become permanently liquid; it no longer seeks solid replacements to the pre-modern world but finds greater value in transience, not just of institutions and things, but of human relationships too.