To Greg Weiner and his article about conservatism in The Constitution and how it should guide how the different branches of our government should act today. This was posted in the Imaginative Conservative blog.
Though the article is mostly concerned about the procedural approach by certain parts of our government and those parts of article merit a certain level of applause, there are other issues that come into play.
First and foremost, conservatism is presented as the ideal or standard of perfection as is The Constitution. The problem is that such an approach makes a religion out of conservatism and ignores the history of The Constitution and its framers.
To make a religion out of conservatism usually results in making it into a cult because it causes conservatism to serve as its only external reference point. As for The Constitution, we need to remember that most of the contributors to The Constitution were wealthy and were in the process of writing this document in fear losing their place in the nation because there was widespread dissent over the recession at the time and there was Shays Rebellion. Thus what the framers of The Constitution wanted was a stronger federal government that could respond to future rebellions while forming a new kind of government that would still serve their interests.
Spreading democracy was not the concern of the framers of The Constitution. Rather, they used the term 'democracy' as a pejorative on those who espoused specific policies that challenged the place of the then elites in America. And we could say, though to a lesser degree, of the above article's use of the term 'presentism.' The framers wanted to guard against impulsive decisions but called certain ideas they opposed impulsive and dangerous. In other words, they were merely speaking as politicians like today's politicians do. And losing sight of the frailties and human faults of the framers is a weakness of the article above.
We should note that The Constitution as originally written supported white male supremacy as well as upper class supremacy. While the latter is not stated as explicitly as the former, it is found in how it silently supported the conditions of its time where, for the most part, only white landowners could vote while Blacks in general could not vote until almost 100 years later and women could not vote until well after that.
Some other matters of concern was the description of Trump as a populist. In reality, Trump has always been an elitist who campaigned in populist clothing. Both Trump's past and his policies bear witness to that. Trump's past clearly shows that he has always been well connected to political and financial elites. And the primary beneficiary of his present policies as well as many of the people he has put into power over government agencies have been financial and corporate elites or those who serve them.
Something else to note, that the above article could serve as a source of criticism over the Republican lawmakers who so obstructed President Obama during his presidency. Mitch McConnell didn't care as much for creating policies as he did for trying to make Obama a one-term President.
We should also note that the conservative approach to trade was, for the most part, not close to being followed until the latter half of the 20th century. For our nation used protectionism from its beginning to build and make its industries competitive with those from the rest of the world. That protectionism does not necessarily endorse Trump's protectionism, but it shows that the conservative approach to trade wasn't followed for most of our history and with good reason.
Finally, again, there are parts of the above article that deserve praise. Not that those parts describe what is perfect, but those parts do help in telling the different branches of government what some of their proper roles are. It is that other parts of the above article also merit criticism for their distorted view conservatism, and The Constitution and its framers.
To Rev. Ben Johnson and his blogpost that attempts to link the Left with witchcraft. This appeared in the Acton blog.
Besides falsely describing the Left as a Monolith, Rev. Johnson's article misses an important question. That question is, what happens when unbelievers show more interest in biblical concerns more than Christians do? How does that reflect on the Gospel.
I suppose that Rev Johnson wants to associate all of the Left with witchcraft. Such is an authoritarian approach because such attempts to discredit the Left by attacking its credentials rather than responding to the specific points made by those on the Left. We should note that many from the Left, both past and present, have never been involved with witchcraft. Some of those people include those involved with Liberation Theologians, Martin Luther King Jr, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, or Karl Marx to name a few. But by associating witchcraft with the Left, he gives an excuse to Christians to pre-emptively dismiss the Left before having to judge the facts and logic of their their claims. Again, such an approach is authoritarian because authoritarians tend to believe that truth is more determined by the credentials of the source rather than by the logic and facts of what they say.
Perhaps Rev. Johnson should read what Martin Luther King Jr. said about communism (see pages 93-94 of http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/ows/seminars/aahistory/Pilgrimage.pdf ):
The late Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, referred to communism as a Christian heresy. By this he meant that communism had laid hold of certain truths which are essential parts of the Christian view of things, but that it had bound up with them concepts and practices which no Christian could ever accept or profess. Communism challenged the late Archbishop and it should challenge every Christians—as it challenged me—to a growing concern about social justice. With all of its false assumptions and evil methods, communism grew as a protest against the hardships of the underprivileged…The Christian ought to be challenged by any protest against unfair treatment of the poor, for Christianity is itself such a protest, nowhere expressed more eloquently than in Jesus’ words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hat sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
And he should finally read what Romans 2:1-3, 12-15 says (see https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+2%3A1-3%2C12-15&version=NASB ):
Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?…12 For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; 13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having [o]the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them
Finally, we should note that the authoritarian approach to persuasion is one that relies on manipulation rather than on asking people to make up their own minds by first fully examining the facts and logic of what others say.