The Case Against Funding Local Journalism

This column by Brian Klaas of The Washington Post correctly diagnoses a malady of contemporary republicanism—the decline of local journalism and the rise of celebrity politics at the national level—but prescribes a perilous treatment: public subsidies. Klaas correctly notes that Americans trust local media more but pay attention to it less. But there is something worse than a continued erosion of local reporting: local reporting dictated, or substantially influenced, by government. It’s a bad idea for the same reason James Madison said public funding of religion was a bad idea. In his “Memorial and Remonstrance,” Madison had this to say … Continue reading The Case Against Funding Local Journalism

Politics as Worship: Madison Warned Us

The Southern Baptist Convention has embarked on what is all but a purge of leaders–such as Russell Moore–deemed insufficiently loyal to former President Trump. The episode is reminiscent of one of the lesser-noticed points in James Madison’s 1785 “Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments,” a petition against Patrick Henry’s proposal for the State of Virginia to provide public funds for Christian religious instruction. Madison likens that support to a religious establishment. Madison’s primary argument deals with the rights of religious minorities. But his seventh point notes that religious establishments are no better for religion than they are for politics: Because … Continue reading Politics as Worship: Madison Warned Us