Recovering our Confidence: Four Theses on Social Conservatism (#4)

Note from Jake: This is the final post in Matt’s social conservatism series published in 2012 which we are re-publishing this week.

Post 1, Post 2, Post 3

One of my underlying themes through this week has been the current lack of confidence among mainstream social conservatism.  I’ll grant this is a somewhat surprising subcurrent:  after all, the religious right hasn’t exactly earned its street cred through timidity and reserve.  But I have always been haunted by that old verse, “in quietness and confidence shall be your strength,” as though the most authentic and honest sign of assuredness is the mocking silence in the face of those who oppose us. Continue reading

End the Hostilities Against Elites: Four Theses on Social Conservatism (#2)

Note from Jake: We are re-publishing Matt’s old series from the fall of 2012 on social conservatism:

Part 1

Thesis: For social conservatism to thrive, it needs to end its hostility toward elite institutions that are currently opposed to it.

Consider this bit by Rick Santorum from this year’s Values Voter Summit, which both stunned and saddened me: Continue reading

To Sow or to Reap: Four Theses on Social Conservatism (#1)

Note from Jake: This series was first published four years ago by Matthew Lee Anderson in the months leading up to the 2012 election. I had tentative plans to do a similar series this year, particularly after Michelle Obama’s opening-night speech at the DNC highlighted the enormous gap between the Democrats’ ability to give a positive vision of American and the GOP’s ability to do the same. But as I reviewed these posts by Matt, I decided that what he is saying here still basically applies. Indeed, if anything these posts should be read even more closely today in the aftermath of the Trump nomination. So over the next four days, we’ll be republishing Matt’s series of four theses on social conservatism. 

At the recent Values Voter Summit, I was fortunate to join a few friends on a panel discussing the gap between social conservatism’s current incarnation and the generation of young people who have grown up at its edges and are increasingly dissatisfied by it.* Continue reading

Soma and the Silencing of Evangelicalism After Trump

In his novel Silence Japanese writer Shusaku Endo tells the story of two Portuguese missionaries in 17th century Japan. After initial pioneering work by Francis Xavier in the 16th century, a small native Japanese church had begun to flourish in the mid-to-late 16th century, possibly growing as large as 100,000 people. Then the government took a hard anti-Christian turn, closed the island to foreigners, and began a harsh regime of persecution against the Japanese Christians.

At the center of this persecution were small icons called fumi-e, pictured above. During the torture, the government officials told the Christians that all they needed to do to end it is agree to trample on the fumi-e, which was understood to be a way of renouncing the faith. To make sure it took, it was common practice in much of Japan to require former Christians to step on a fumi-e once a year. (Silence spoilers below the jump.) Continue reading

Why Christians Can Support Tighter Immigration Restrictions

Today we have another long-form piece, this one coming from Stephen Wolfe. I’m pleased to run this piece chiefly because Stephen does a good job of trying to focus the debate around the specific principles that undergird our thinking about an issue like immigration. Even if you disagree with his conclusions, I think you’ll find that this piece raises new questions and issues that should help enrich your thinking about the issue. Again, if you want a print-friendly version of the essay, simply click that green button on the left side of the post. 

And now, here is Stephen:

The success of the Brexit campaign, driven largely by a rejection of the EU immigration policies and handling of the migration crisis, has shattered the hopes of progressives that xenophobia is a thing of the past—a hope that the older generation’s prejudice would give way, through natural attrition, to a new common humanity and cosmopolitan view of human relations, built on universal rights, negative liberty, and common human interest.

Donald Trump, likewise, has found success in promising to “make America great again” through various vague and unlikely policies, including building a wall on the US-Mexico border, generously funded by the Mexican government, and limiting immigration from select countries that tend to produce Islamic terrorists. The Western ruling class has expressed public outrage over these developments, condemning them as xenophobic, racist, and bigoted.   Continue reading

There is no Pro-Life Case for Donald Trump

We are now in the 12th hour of the conservatism’s life in this election cycle, which means it is as good a time as any to revisit the question of how I plan to proceed through American political life over the next four months.

For those who don’t want to read further, it is hard to find a more succinct or accurate distillation of the development of my thought than that offered by Ben Sasse’s spokesman after the Senator met with Trump this week: “Mr. Sasse continues to believe that our country is in a bad place and, with these two candidates, this election remains a dumpster fire. Nothing has changed.” I heartily agree.

There are no conditions at this point under which I could possibly vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Continue reading

Brexit and the Moral Vision of Nationhood

Note from Jake: This is an Alastair piece so it’s both extremely long and extremely rewarding to those who will read the whole thing. That said, today may be a good day to avail yourself of that green “print-friendly version” on the left-hand side of the post.

On the morning of June 24, Britain awoke to the devastation of a vast political and social earthquake, as, after an unpleasant and divisive campaign, a majority of our nation voted to leave the European Union (EU). The aftershocks and long term consequences of this earthquake are likely to define our politics for a generation.

Upon announcement of the result, the value of Sterling plunged precipitously, initially losing a tenth of its value against the dollar, as the markets responded to radical uncertainty about the future of Britain’s economy. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, quit and a vote of no confidence was submitted against Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, declared that, in light of Scotland’s overwhelming support for Remain, a new vote for Scottish independence should take place. Sinn Fein called for a vote on the reunification of Ireland. In response to Gibraltar’s 95.9% Remain vote, Spain renewed its push for joint sovereignty over the British territory. France’s current border agreement with Britain at Calais was challenged, with potentially significant consequences for the deeply controversial migrant camps there. Meanwhile, over a million people signed a petition advocating for a second referendum and many others for Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, to declare the city’s independence from the rest of the UK and remain in the EU. Continue reading

A Christian Case for Gun Control

Note from Jake: It’s been 10 days since the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Out of respect for the victims and their family, we haven’t posted anything about the shooting until now. But given the significance of this event in the life of our nation, we need to speak about it, but I hope that our continued discussion of it will show the same respect for the victims that our silence did. On that note, here is Bernard Howard making his Mere O debut:

On February 16th, Jeb Bush tweeted the single word, “America,” accompanied by a picture of a handgun with his name inscribed on the barrel. The tweet has been retweeted more than 29,000 times, probably by a combination of the admiring and the appalled. It led, as one might have guessed, to a multitude of copycat tweets featuring a place name and an emblematic picture. Continue reading