Quick Response to William E. Thro Essay

It is perplexing to me that Thro insists on using the distinctly Christian language of Original Sin to describe America’s constitutional tradition—indeed, to explain the very nature of constitutionalism—while at the same time insisting that public k-12 education must NOT push white people to “wrestle with their sins.” In addition to that tension, I see two problems with this essay: First, the idea that ‘Original Sin’ necessarily underpins the American constitutional system (or constitutionalism as such) is a highly contentious and idiosyncratic position given the First Amendment and the care that the founders took NOT to speak exclusively of the … Continue reading Quick Response to William E. Thro Essay

Recommended Reading: Hannah-Jones Statement, and a good bipartisan op-ed

Nikole Hannah-Jones was awarded tenure at UNC Chapel Hill last week, but has rejected the offer and decided to take a job at Howard University instead. She has released a statement explaining this decision, which is worth reading in full. The circumstances surrounding the process at UNC have still not been explained to her. I also appreciated this op-ed by By Kmele Foster, David French, Jason Stanley and Thomas Chatterton Williams. It’s a powerful and clear articulation of why the anti-CRT laws are so antithetical to American principles. There will always be disagreement about any nation’s history. The United States is no … Continue reading Recommended Reading: Hannah-Jones Statement, and a good bipartisan op-ed

Recommended Reading

This post by Paul Campus at Lawyers, Guns & Money captures something important about the asymmetric expectations that commentators tend to have of the two parties. Campos looks at the results of the 2020 election demographically, and shows how much extra credit Republicans get when they manage to eke out support from any minority. He points out how Hispanic/Latino men voted for Biden over Trump by a 2-1 margin. White men voted for Trump by the same margin. Everyone acknowledges that the latter indicates overwhelming support for Trump. But pundits also take the former as “great” support for… Trump! Campos’ … Continue reading Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading: “The Delusions of the Radical Centrist”

I highly recommend this article from last week by Eric Levitz, which is mostly about Michael Lind’s 2020 book The New Class War, but which touches on all kinds of important questions about American party politics today. The pathologies that Levitz ascribes to Lind are present in many others (Patrick Deneen comes foremost to my mind). Here’s one of the best parts: Lind’s insistence that America’s dominant class is a (vaguely defined) professional elite — rather than a smaller cohort of ultrarich capitalists — is tendentious at best. And this is far from the only defect in his political analysis. … Continue reading Recommended Reading: “The Delusions of the Radical Centrist”

Sinister Syncopation: The “New Conspiracism” Meets the Intellectuals of the Reactionary Right

This is the second in a series of several essays by different authors on the issue of conspiracies.  This series is sponsored by Claremont McKenna’s Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom. Laura Field is a scholar in residence at … Continue reading Sinister Syncopation: The “New Conspiracism” Meets the Intellectuals of the Reactionary Right

Grossman/Binder interview about the filibuster

Here is an excellent in-the-weeds discussion of the filibuster, between Matt Grossman and Sarah Binder, for the Niskanen Center. The two political scientists get into the current politics in the senate surrounding filibuster reform. It’s pretty fascinating, and a good companion to Adam Jentleson’s work (see links below). Here’s an excerpt from Grossman and Binder’s transcript: Matt Grossmann: So one thing that reformers often say is that these folks in the middle would have all the power under a 50 vote Senate, so why aren’t they in favor of moving it there? Molly Reynolds, who we’ve had on the podcast … Continue reading Grossman/Binder interview about the filibuster

“woke capitalism”

Is there anything more galling than conservatives deploying the phrase “woke capitalism”? When social democrats use the phrase as a term of derision, at least they are being consistent, since they were skeptics about unregulated capitalism from the get-go. But to hear conservatives, who have for decades lauded radical laissez-faire and fear-mongered about taxes, regulation, and campaign finance limits, suddenly do an about-face on capitalism the moment that the markets start to steer in substantive directions they find uncomfortable, is quite remarkable. To be sure, not all conservatives are against regulation (especially when it comes to their own areas of moral … Continue reading “woke capitalism”

On nuking (or reforming) the filibuster

I’ve been thinking more than usual about the filibuster lately, for a lot of obvious reasons. I think one of the things at the root of current political unrest is persistent government failure and obstructionism. The US Constitution already makes it pretty difficult to pass legislation, but the filibuster makes it that much more so. Does abolishing the filibuster makes sense from a constitutional perspective, given the fact that it has been part of normal legislative procedure for so long now? What implications would abolishing it have for bi-partisanship? And how much does the origin and history of the filibuster … Continue reading On nuking (or reforming) the filibuster

A Common Script for Dislodging Trumpism – Retrospective Thoughts on Impeachment 2.0

As some of my colleagues here know, I was a bit frustrated throughout the second impeachment that there wasn’t more focus on Trump’s dereliction of duty on January 6. It seemed clear to me at the time that the dereliction charge would have been more intuitive than the incitement to violence charge, because everyone knew at the time that, in the very least, Trump failed to protect the Capitol when it mattered. It seemed to me that setting the bar low like this would have made conviction more likely. Jeffrey Tulis and Bill Kristol wrote about this in the lead-up … Continue reading A Common Script for Dislodging Trumpism – Retrospective Thoughts on Impeachment 2.0