Category: Political Theology

Liberalism, the American Right, and the Place of Love in Politics

The debate about the common good currently roiling American conservatism is not a new one. In the 1960s it vexed National Review contributors, with William F. Buckley dismissing Pope John XXIII’s encyclical on social progress “Mater et Magistra,” with a...

/ May 5, 2020

Clash of Idols

The connection between political life and idolatry will not be evident to everyone, but it definitely exists, especially within the various ideological visions vying for influence in the corridors of power. An idol is a surrogate god—something to which we...

/ April 27, 2020
limits-of-policy

The Importance of Political Theology

Western societies are at something of a paradoxical moment in which it feels as though our politics is captive to cynicism and naiveté in equal parts. Everyone else has a “hidden agenda.” Everyone else believes everything they hear. Everyone else...

/ April 24, 2020

Our Lives or Our Freedoms: The Fear of Tyranny in a Time of Pandemic

There’s a famous scene in the movie, Braveheart, a 1995 film that became something of a classic among embattled Christian conservatives who liked to see our own battle with “Big Government” in the romanticized terms of a Scottish epic. Riding...

/ April 8, 2020

Common Good Constitutionalism Considered

Right. I read it. And by “It” I mean, of course, Adrian Vermeule’s Atlantic piece. Here’s the thing: Vermeule’s “Common good constitutionalism” is not actually that different from, for example, Hadley Arkes’ natural law constitutionalism. That tradition of Finnis-inspired Lincoln-loving...

/ April 1, 2020

Public Reasoning in a Pandemic: Responding to Moore, Reno, and Littlejohn

The rapidly expanding number of Covid-19 cases in the United States poses an extraordinary test of our nation’s institutions and their leaders. In recent days, a discussion has broken out about how we should integrate our interest in preserving and...

/ March 30, 2020

On Chosen Family in East Village Vaguely Soviet Speakeasies

Last night, we launched Issue 23 of Plough Quarterly, at the Red Room at KGB Bar on East 4th Street. I went there first when I was probably sixteen or so, for a book launch of my father’s, and I’ve...

/ January 30, 2020

Who’s Afraid of John Calvin? Answer: Thomas Jefferson

In 1822, Thomas Jefferson was enjoying a quiet retirement at his beloved Monticello. His family troubles gave him sleepless nights but he found solace in his correspondence and, as always, in his books. The former president’s mind turned over Virginia’s...

/ November 18, 2019

The Liberty of a Christian in a Democratic Age

Writing for the Catholic Herald, my friend Matthew Schmitz argues that the current political divide opening up in America confirms that Christian life and contemporary American ideas of liberty cannot permanently coexist. Eventually the two will come into conflict and...

/ October 23, 2019

What are nations for?

Once in college I asked my pastor if he had time to get coffee so I could ask his advice on something that had been bothering me for several months. I was feeling stretched to my limits because I was...

/ September 6, 2019