Religious Liberty in the States
Law & Liberty
by Mark David Hall & Paul Mueller
16h ago
When Americans think about religious liberty, our minds naturally turn to the protections offered by the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This amendment, and related federal legislation, offer important protections, but there are numerous areas in which states are free to protect, or not protect, religious liberty.  The Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy’s (CRCD) project Religious Liberty in the States (RLS), now in its third year, measures 39 distinct ways that states may, but don’t ..read more
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The Joy of Escapist Catastrophism
Law & Liberty
by Joseph Holmes
16h ago
Apocalyptic and dystopian myths today are different from the ones we used to have. The dystopian stories of yesteryear were tragedies—dark cautionary tales with unhappy endings. In The Planet of the Apes, Charlton Heston’s character discovers that the dystopian world ruled by apes he’s been trying to escape was actually Earth all along. Brave New World, 1984, and Animal Farm all end with the dictatorships and dystopian worlds they portray either triumphant or replaced with new ones. But something changed—slowly at first, but in full force by the 2000s. Now, books and movies about dystopian fut ..read more
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Mugged By Reality
Law & Liberty
by James E. Hartley
2d ago
“Hence like most people who have substituted the habit of delusion for reality, they became hysterical whenever the root of their delusion was touched, and reacted with a violence that completely belied the openness of mind which they prescribed for others.” — Whittaker Chambers, Witness, 1952 Nellie Bowles could easily have used Chambers’ observation as the epigraph for Morning After the Revolution: Dispatches from the Wrong Side of History. Much like with Chambers’ account of leaving the Communist Party, there are two stories here. First, there is the book itself, and then there is the rea ..read more
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Civilization-Ending Wars
Law & Liberty
by Graham McAleer
2d ago
Aristotle is known for the theory that there are four causes structuring reality. Best-selling author and American classicist Victor Davis Hanson follows Aristotle’s lead, identifying four causes that transform wars into civilization-ending defeats. Whilst most conflicts between great powers end in compromise, The End of Everything: How Wars Descend into Annihilation gives four reasons why wars sometimes liquidate entire civilizations. The historical record shows, Hanson argues, that no matter how sophisticated a great power is, there is the risk of annihilation when a strategy relies on hope ..read more
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Trade, Ambition, and the Rise of American Empire
Law & Liberty
by Samuel Gregg
3d ago
The United States’ march across North America to establish a transcontinental republic seems, in retrospect, almost preordained. In the American Revolution’s aftermath, there was no shortage of Americans who looked westwards and envisaged the new country’s eventual expansion to the Pacific. Indeed, one factor contributing to the outbreak of the War of Independence had been Britain’s attempts to prevent American colonists from settling in the North American territories acquired from France following Britain’s victory in the French Indian War and the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763. The s ..read more
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Playing Catch-Up on Grand Strategy
Law & Liberty
by Christopher Parry
3d ago
“Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” – Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War In his lead essay, Jerry Hendrix argues that the United States and its leaders are unprepared for the re-emergence of great power competition. We agree that the leaders and populations of the free world are unprepared, but differ slightly on the character of that competition. Hendrix divides the world between authoritarian and liberal democracies. The world is a lot fuzzier and not as binary as this simplistic formu ..read more
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Lowering the Temperature
Law & Liberty
by John G. Grove
4d ago
The scene was shocking, to be sure. But sadly, it wasn’t surprising. In fact, one might be forgiven for wondering at the fact that more bullets haven’t been flying at political rallies. You don’t have to look far on any social media outlet to find people salivating at the prospect of a politics of enmity and blood. And these are not just occasional cranks that nobody listens to, but often people with tens or hundreds of thousands of followers and sometimes with serious money behind them. The enmity is only slightly masked among the more “respectable” classes, who still present politics in exis ..read more
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In Search of the True Orwell
Law & Liberty
by Richard Smith
4d ago
In 2022, in the months after Russia’s President Putin announced his “special military operation” to “denazify” Ukraine, George Orwell’s 1984 rocketed up the charts to become the top-selling e-book in Russia—and no wonder! The verbal gymnastics employed to avoid calling the Ukraine war a “war” did indeed seem pretty Orwellian.  Two years later, the 75th-anniversary edition of 1984 currently ranks 10th on Amazon.com’s list of most-ordered Classic Literature & Fiction books, while Animal Farm (written four years before 1984) is right behind in 16th place. This is no surprise to Laura Bee ..read more
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Learning from Europe’s Mistakes
Law & Liberty
by Thomas Savidge
5d ago
When Thomas Sargent won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2011, the title of his Prize Lecture was “The United States Then, Europe Now.” In the lecture, Sargent compared the then-ongoing European Sovereign Debt Crisis (or “Eurozone Crisis”) to the sovereign debt crisis state governments faced during the Panic of 1837. Now, 13 years after the European Debt Crisis, state governments face unsustainable debt and dependence on federal funds. As June is the last month of the fiscal year for most states, now is an important time to reflect on the lessons from Europe’s fiscal crises in the previous deca ..read more
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Constitutional Imagination in the “Long Founding”
Law & Liberty
by Aaron N. Coleman
5d ago
Alison LaCroix’s new book, The Interbellum Constitution, challenges how we understand American constitutional history between 1815 and 1860. Most historians interpret the period as a power struggle between federal and state power. LaCroix, on the other hand, discerns in the era a multifaceted system of “federalisms” in which federal, state, and local governments engaged in two persistent debates. The first revolved around defining and determining the meaning of the Constitution. The second debate concerned who was responsible for policing the boundaries in this overlapping system of jurisdicti ..read more
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