The Marriage that Made America

Why do we remember Martha Washington as Lady Washington? Isn’t this the kind of aristocratic pretension that Mister Jefferson taught us to reject? No. Very simply, the wives of the American generals were known as the Lady Washington, the Lady Knox, the Lady Greene, etc., simply as a way of . . . . Continue Reading »

The Voracious Nought

I just got back from giving a lecture at a small liberal-arts college. The tenured professors were complaining. (That, after all, is allegedly what tenure gives professors the unlimited right to do). Their main complaint: Students are no longer doing the reading for “core texts” or . . . . Continue Reading »

To Lead America, Follow Canada

Let me know if you’ve heard this one. Republicans need to move to the center and nominate moderate candidates that will accommodate an America that is moving to the left. They need to find candidates from outside their declining base who can appeal to an ever more diverse country. Republicans . . . . Continue Reading »


At the Center for Law and Religion Forum, my colleague Marc DeGirolami and I have recorded a podcast on last week’s oral argument in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, the Contraception Mandate case. We address the background of the litigation, the rhetorical strategies adopted by each side, and the major doctrinal questions the Court will need to resolve. We also make predictions about how the Justices will ultimately rule. The podcast will be useful for students and others looking for an introduction to this extremely important case.

Mozilla, Mo’ Problems

Silicon Valley is in an uproar. Angry blog posts have been written, resignations tendered, and boycotts organized, with no sign that the furor is likely to abate. Seeing such ruckus, a casual observer might assume that some fallout had finally resulted from the shocking revelation that several of . . . . Continue Reading »

The President and the Patriarch

Vladimir Putin, who after a sham “referendum” completed his aggressive seizure of Crimea, denies he has plans to invade Eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, he is increasing the number of troops on the Russian-Ukrainian border and sending provocateurs and criminals to incite ethnic tensions in . . . . Continue Reading »

CPAC Behind Bars

A few weeks back, I highlighted the friction between ascendant libertarians and ignored social conservatives at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). After some time to mentally digest that red meat laden all-you-can-eat political buffet, one nutritious morsel still stands out: the . . . . Continue Reading »

Global Culture Wars

In February, the Kremlin announced that Russia is tightening its ban on same-sex couples adopting Russian children. A new law prohibits single people in countries that allow same-sex marriage from adopting children from Russia, one of the world’s largest sources of children for adoption. (Adoptions by Americans were banned early in 2013 for different reasons.) This follows a pattern. Last year, Putin signed a law prohibiting “propaganda promoting non-traditional sexual relations” that can be seen by minors. Just before the Winter Olympics in Sochi, he allowed that gays and lesbians could attend but urged them to “leave the children in peace.” At present, a bill is before the Russian parliament that would ban people in “non-traditional” relationships from contracting with surrogate mothers.Commentators ascribe this moralism to domestic Russian politics, arguing that Putin is shoring up his conservative base of support. No doubt that’s true, but that’s not the whole story. Putin is thinking internationally as well, positioning Russia to lead an anti-Western coalition along moral as well as geopolitical lines. In a speech last December, he pledged to defend “family values” and reject moral relativism, pointedly observing that this message appeals to “more and more people across the world who support our position.”The message resonates. When it comes to culture, America and Western NGOs are global aggressors. For a long time, we’ve been promoting contraception and abortion throughout the world. More recently, we’ve promoted gay rights as well. The U.S. Department of State’s Global Equality Fund, dedicated to advancing LGBT rights, is one among many initiatives, some government sponsored, others carried forward by international organizations. In these and in other ways, progressives in the West are carrying the war on traditional culture to the rest of the world. Reproductive rights, gay rights—they’re the new White Man’s Burden. Continue Reading »