Saturday, March 22, 2014

Taking The GOP Back To It's Abolitionist & Whig Roots

In his speech at Berkeley Rand Paul quoted his independent colleague from Vermont and linked the debate on NSA to the burning of bibles in 16th century England. Both signal that he is not just a 'libertarian' but is aiming to emphasize his links to the abolitionist movement, Thaddeus Stevens was from Vermont, and the roots of the Whig struggle in Britain that eventually led to the glorious revolution in 1688. That, as Ruth Marcus writes in the WaPo, is the reason 'Rand Paul is the most intriguing — and for Democrats, perhaps the most frightening — figure in today’s Republican Party'. Vincent Harris, a veteran GOP digital strategist (Mike Huckabee's campaign in 2008) who counts Texas Sen. Ted Cruz among his current clients recently said: “He is the default leader on privacy in the Republican Party, and I think there’s a big segment of even the conservative primary electorate who are against big government and the nanny state and are very appreciative of Sen. Paul’s comments, think it’s a positive in a presidential primary.” Social conservatives have been a coveted segment of the American electorate. Think for example of the polygamy issue added to the Republican platform in 1856. But connecting policy today to the much deeper roots of the American revolution and abolitionism will be very hard to brand as 'liberal' by movement conservatives inside the Republican party. Sofar Paul's critics, folks like Colson aid and Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, the perennial Jennifer Rubin or the Salon crowd don't seem to notice what he is actually trying to do. Even Kevin D. Williamson, in his piece Ready for Rand?, does not notice the underlying strategy of taking the party away from movement conservatism to it's Gettysburg roots.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Democratisering & Logika

Een clausule in het verdrag van Ghent uit december 1814 die de afschaffing van de internationale slavenhandel betreft wekte mijn interesse in John Quincy Adams (& Henry Clay). Beiden onderhandelaars in Gent. Het is opvallend hoe John C. Calhoun als warhawk bekend stond, samen met Andrew Jackson, en hoe vervolgens John Quincy Adams en Henry Clay de rotzooi op moesten ruimen. Het citaat, dank aan Ben Domenech, van John Quincy Adams over oorlog steekt dan ook mooi af in deze context:
"Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled...there will [America’s] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy..."
Vervolgens stuitte ik op de Groen van Prinsterer lezing van Gover Buijs over de vorming van burgers. Natuurlijk brengt mij dat onmiddelijk bij de log colleges, maar zeker ook bij Benjamin Rush en John Quincy Adams. De briefwisseling tussen John Quincy Adams en Benjamin Rush waarin hun visie op de betekenis van de Amerikaanse revolutie een belangrijke plaats inneemt is een mooie link naar het belang, volgens Adams, van rhetorica voor democratie:
"Just as civic eloquence failed to gain popularity in Britain, in the United States interest faded in the second decade of the 19th century as the "public spheres of heated oratory" disappeared in favor of the private sphere"

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Grace Restores Nature

Bavinck's statement on the equality of man and woman in book four of the Reformed Dogmatics, ''so that life in the household & extended family is restored to honor, the woman again viewed as the equal of the man', is a beautiful illustration of Bavinck's interpretative key 'grace restores nature'.

It gives insight into how Kuyper and Bavinck's organicism undermines both Scottish common sense realism and German idealism by providing a bridge between the two.

Neocalvinism isn't so much a third way between capitalism and socialism, but a third way between realism and idealism. As with Jonathan Edwards and John Witherspoon, the focus on redemptive-history is at the heart of this approach. Redemptive-history also provides the key to Bavinck's epistemology and Bavinck's organicism.