Friday, July 20, 2018

Leaving Show Business in Search of Political Depth

Maumee Bay State Park (Ohio)

Linda and I were having breakfast, watching "The Megan Kelly Show." Her guests were the co-hosts of "American Ninja Warrior." We have watched it, and admire the athletes who compete on these outrageous obstacles. The co-hosts are OK, too, except that the one guy's primal voice sometimes irritates me. (I am, perhaps, envious?)

On the Kelly show the three began discussing American politics. This, I quickly reasoned, is a waste of my time. The man with the primal voice was expressing his political opinions. Why was he allowed to do this, since, as a TV personality, he possesses no special political acumen? I might as well be listening to a clanging, albeit ninja-like,  cymbal.

I have moments of despair when it comes to American politics, and the cult of personalities who are famous, not for their special wisdom and insight, but simply for being famous. Welcome to the Age of Show Business. (See Neil Postman's works here.) Welcome to Panem.

Looking for some lifelines, I googled "best books on American politics." I found an article in The Atlantic: "A Reading Guide for Those in Despair About American Politics." That's me!

I was encouraged to see that one of the contributors was Princeton's Robert George. When George writes, I read it. He is a brilliant legal scholar, and a follower of Jesus. George recommends Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, by Ryan T. Anderson. I've read it. Everyone should read it.

George also recommends Taking Rites Seriously: Law, Politics, and the Reasonableness of Faith, by jurisprudential scholar and philosopher Francis Beckwith. I've already read Beckwith's brilliant Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice. Everyone should read this! But I had not read Beckwith's Taking Rites Seriously.

I ordered it for my Kindle, and showered in it over the past two days. I told Linda, "This book is incredible!" 

George comments,

"This book demolishes what is left of the formerly ascendant idea that sound political theory and constitutional interpretation require a relegation of religion to the private sphere and its banishment from the public square in which issues of politics and policy are debated by citizens of a pluralistic democracy.”

Yes it does.