Jul 20, 2022Liked by Justin Stapley

There you go again, articulating eloquently what I feel in my bones.

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The problem with conservatives, as with Americans in general, is historical amnesia. How can one conserve the traditions one doesn't know about? That is even more true when those actual traditions are obscured by the nostalgia of invented traditions. Corey Robin has pointed out how, for centuries now, conservatives as reactionaries have been anti-traditional.

Abortion is a great example. In the early to mid 20th century, most Americans, specifically most Protestants, were pro-choice; including Republican and evangelical leaders. When Paul Weyrich spoke at the inauguration of the Moral Majority in 1980, he admitted that if most Americans voted the religious right would never win an election.

Even if the constitutional issue is more important, according to a particular conservatism. That is a lot less clear than American conservatives typically acknowledge. The Constitution is notoriously vague with vast gaps that allow for diverse interpretations. That was intentional because, if it had been too specific, there wouldn't have been enough agreement. It's vagueness allows people to project upon it what they want to see.

Also, it ignores that Federalism was only one half of America's founding and early leadership. The radical Anti-Federalists gave us not only the Declaration of Independence but also our first constitution, the Articles of Confederation and the Bill of Rights. Also, keep in mind that, maybe in following the example of the Quakers, the Anti-Federalists advocated a living constitutionalism.

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