So it’s Sunday and a so a day of rest from politics and economics.
Not only that, it’s THE FEAST OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY. And I was inspired by the sermon beginning that we, made in the image of the God, need to get more insightful about God so, among other reasons, we can be more insightful about ourselves. The priest giving the sermon, who actually is fairly well versed in “Rat Choice Theory” (the theory of our philosopher-pope), even went on to say that God is a unified yet relational being. What we long for God has and we can’t have without his help (due to our sinfulness) is achieving unity with other persons while retaining our personal identity. We seek, it almost makes sense to say, the truthful mean between pantheism and Lockean/Cartesian Deism.
Well, that last sentence wasn’t in the sermon.
Let me add one more: The Trinitarian view is also the mean between the polis-envy of civic communitarianism and libertarianism. In that respect, it’s one of those infamous THIRD WAYS. But it is a way that more effectually secures limited government than libertarianism or even Deistic natural rights all alone. Because being personal is being relational (and logos itself is irreducibly personal), freedom from government is freedom for the family and freedom for the church (church, of course, including synagogue etc.). The latter freedom is for personal participation the truth embodied in an organized, relational body or institution for thought and action.
In a historic compromise, a growing number of counties in Georgia are allowing liquor by the drink after 12:30pm. You shouldn’t be drunk in church or Sunday School, but there might be good reasons to want a drink afterwards. The effectual truth of this line of legislative deliberation is reduce the Sabbath to Sunday morning, the part of Sunday that depressed Kris Kristofferson.
Now that it’s well passed noon, I can, under the law of Floyd County, start drinking in public and, I would suppose, start blathering about politics and economics.
So let me appreciate the insight of John Lewis often displayed in the threads: Americans respond to BRANDING. That’s really true, or it better be. My college has more than once hired big-bucks consultants to improve our brand. It should go without saying that what they thought of we would have thought of ourselves. But we now have the solace of experts affirming the obvious.
Political philosophy—or, in one famous view, the political presentation of philosophy—has always been about branding. One form of branding involves WAVES. There are, of course, three waves of increasing radicality and ridiculousness when it comes to the community or communism involving woman and children in Book 5 of THE REPUBLIC. The most laughable and tyrannical wave is the rule of philosopher-kings, the personal politicization of philosophy.
We might assume that the imaginary rule of philosopher-kings over the imaginary cave would involve a lot of branding.
For Strauss, each of the three ways of modernity seems increasingly ridiculous and tyrannical—moving from Locke (America) to Rousseau/Hegel (revolutionary France and socialism) to Heidegger (Nazi Germany).
I acknowledge of course that the branding of America that involves the Founders (=first wave, comparatively good) vs. the Progressives (=second wave and so much worse) has considerable truth and has been very effective. Actually, lots of American branders have accepted that distinction as crucial, and the progressives differ from the founderists on the issue of what’s progress and what’s decline.
My objection to this branding these days is that the second and third waves have been pretty much discredited by ridiculous and tyrannical events. As Rorty explains, even though our nonfoundationalists have a certain family resemblance to Heideggerian radical historicism, they lack the philosopher’s fascism. They oppose foundations on behalf of the life and liberty of persons around these days, and you might say their undefended foundation is pretty first wavy.
So I turn to Jim Ceaser’s brilliantly innovative branding of POLITCAL, LEGALISTIC, and POPULAR constitutionalism. They aren’t waves or historical phases. This is branding I can believe in and spin to my own purposes.
I only have time to raise my first objection: Jin says that popular constitutionalism has many been defended by liberals in opposition to elitists or libertarians who say that the welfare state is unconstitutional. As even our friend William Voegeli has conceded, if we conservatives were to convince people Social Security is unconstitutional, tha would make the Constitution unpopular, not Social Security. So liberals say that the people decided that the welfare state is constitutional with their votes.
But Jim is curiously silent on the second form of popular constitutionalism—the kind that opposes the rights-based elitism found in ROE v. WADE and subsequent decisions, not to mention notorious “high wall” decisions on religion. The people really need to feel in their bones that the Constitution is not what the Court says it is in ROE and especially LAWRENCE v. TEXAS and be encouraged to employ political means to resist that distorted and pernicious abuse of legalistic constitutionalism.
There’s more. And obviously I mean this to be branding for provocation. I would question the pay grade of someone who actually agreed with me.