America, Donald Trump, Republican Party discussed on Reason Podcast
Baptist convention drafts, a statement of moral character for public officials where it talks about how toleration of serious wrong by public officials, Sears the conscience of culture fast forward to twenty eighteen he says, oh, that was all a mistake, the stormy Daniels businesses nobody's business, but, you know, Trump's and then in twenty nineteen he tweets in opposition to Pete Buddha judges, same sex marriage. And so what was the only real constant here? The only real constant is he was opposing the democrat and support the Republican, do you. And I mean, I assume you to find yourself, I you know, I as a Christian, but then, also as a conservative, etc. So that principle before party matters. We. Yeah. You know, to me, this is not a hard call. And I guess technically you tweeted, I think it was a tweet last fall, that you are no longer Republican. I don't consider myself and by that it doesn't mean you're not gonna vote for Republicans. It's just you, you had been a card carrying member of the Republican party in Tennessee. You don't literally carry around a car. You decide when you go to the primary polls, how rush which party? So I've voted Republican four Republicans, I have endorsed Republicans, but I don't consider myself a Republican. I can't consider myself Republic soldiers side of the business, just a will to power basically. It's you know that it, it really has nothing to do with principal. It has everything to do with winning the next, you know, five minutes in the news cycle. And then hopefully an electoral victory which may or may not mean anything because this is another thing you know, from kind of libertarian perspective, who I'd always looked at the Republican party, at least in the past few decades, they were a party of free trade, so, like the win win a battle. But the but then the principles are just totally gone. Well, I think so I don't I think you have some people were Maquiavelian some people who you know, what's happening now is just part of the Griff. It's part of the decline to power. But I think for a awful lot more people in this gets back to the culture war point that we've talked about people are living in a state of fear. Now I mean this, this essay, the flight, ninety three election described I briefly that was in the Claremont review books, and it was a pretty influential, at least among kind of higher end circles in conservative put an intellectual frame over the embrace of Trump in, essentially what it was arguing that America is in mortal danger and Americans are in the position of the passengers and flight ninety three and they have to charge, and that's the flight, just for, you know, the millions of people have been born sent you thousands of flight on nine eleven where passengers took control in crashed it into the ground right, Pennsylvania, rather. Than have it. It was, it was either going to go to the White House, or the capitol bright and crash into right? And so, you know, it was charged the cockpit or die, and let die anyway, because you don't know what's gonna happen Trump. But you, you know, the plane's gonna crash with Hillary, so in that, that he was not forming public opinion. He was tapping into a public opinion in, in my days in two thousand sixteen when I was opposed to both Trump and Hillary, I would have many conversations with genuinely distraught people who were saying, David, you have to support him or America will be over rut. So two things who did you vote for in two thousand sixteen? I voted for Evan McMullen. Oh my gosh. She was your your standard. He was. He under study. Bill Kristol had teased odd Memorial Day weekend. Got this great guy, and I, I feel like tryst them shandy or something going down all of these rabbit holes. But I did Bill Kristol get in touch with you to say, hey, you know what you're the guy and I'm going to or did you find out when you read it on Twitter. Now, let everyone else I had dinner with Bill a couple of days before all of this happened. And we had talked about the state of the effort to recruit, somebody to take on Trump and Hillary, and, you know, all of the big names had said no Mitt Romney had just foreclosed it. And, and so, you know, we were lamenting the fact that nobody had stepped forward. And he said, I think our ideal candidate failing the, you know, considering the big, big names had not come forward is somebody who's outside of politics from middle America preferably. A post nine eleven veteran and I just ingred with that in principle. Yeah. Sure. Sure. You know you didn't realize that he was. He was pressing the buttons underneath the table saying, okay, we've got him into the next morning. I woke up and my phone was kind of blowing up and he had put written in the weekly standard that, that was the profile lighten that would be somebody like my friend, David French, and he said, I'm not saying he's the ideal person or, or there are many other people like him. And, you know later that day, I believe he said, I know I'm, I'm serious about this. Is this something you'd consider in this is gonna sound like I'm the most insane person history in the world? But at that time, you know, you're sitting there thinking is, and this is before the Republican convention, can somebody do something. And if nobody's gonna do anything should I shit? I and, and so I spent about two to three days, actually really thinking it through. Calling an awful lot of people. And, and at the end of the day, I realized the absolute maximum possible effect that I could have at just peaking would have been to be the Ralph Nader of twenty sixteen. The guy who everyone says, but for you and your meddling ways you know, one of the major party candidates would have won out gore. Yeah. Albert, maybe. Now, you look at it. And it so, yeah, that might not have been such a bad thing. I don't know who knows. I mean, but, you know, then and so and then, especially as the Republican establishment just locked in behind Trump. This was also before Paul Ryan, had endorsed, this was there were, there were a lot of sort of balls still in the air at that point. But it was the right decision. Not to do it. Absolutely. But yeah, it did have the effect obviously, enough of sort of putting a target on your back. So let's get back to this question of cultural catastrophe because there's, there's so many ways to talk about that. And you you. Mentioned before that on the kind of religious, right? Or many parts of the conservative. Right. This idea of catastrophe of, of the decline of America has something to do with the sexual revolution first and foremost. And do you agree with that? And then what are the contours of that decline? Yes. So I, I would say my thinking on this is has changed a little bit over time before I started writing fulltime for national review as a religious liberty constitutional lawyer. And so what that means is, I'm always at the point the flash point some always wear. The censorship is the worst where the problems are the worst, which is one of the ring things, it was ironic about the notion that I don't fight. I'd spent my tire career litigating. Yeah. No. In a response to Amar you said that you had been accused of milk libertarian kind of like. Oh, wow. I gotta get that on a vanity plate for less. And I qualified it with milk. I know enough liver libertarianism is not. So what, what were the types of religious liberty cases taking on codes on college campuses. So when I was president a fire, we had a project to identify what percentage of top universities had speech codes in the US and devoted created a national litigation strategy to try to strike them down on those often involve people being denied the group's being denied the ability to kind of talk about religious tops, sometimes. Yeah, it could be a lot of different things. It's left-wing groups being denied the ability to talk Butch happened actually campus on occasion. So speech codes freedom of a cessation that would be the right of clubs to organize on campus which does focus that issue did focus, a great deal on Christian groups, faculty, intellectual unacademic freedom. One of my last big cases before I joined national review is I represented, a, a professor and what I think, is the first big jury verdict or first jury verdict on behalf of a conservative professor denied a career opportunity to because of. Ideology since who was a Mike Adams, he, he often writes for townhall dot com. He's the university of North Carolina Wilmington. And so that, that was the kind of case, I'm always there at this flash point in the middle of sort of where the illiberal left is at its strongest. So I had a, a more doom and gloom view of the cultural war, as I moved out of doing that exclusively my view of it changed. And I saw the culture wars, a much more mixed bag. I like the way that my, my colleague, Ramesh Pinero has phrased it, he said, over the last generation, or two America has become more pro gun pro life, and pro gay, and we, we had long been taught to believe that these things could not all advance at the same time not possible. So I found it kind of interesting that the argument was being made once again about the catastrophe the cultural catastrophe win more states were passing more pro-life legislation at the same. Time, then literally anytime since row that was happening at this same tied and to be clear, and you see that as a good idea any any kind of restrictions on abortion. Yes is, is to the good. Yes. And so this huge legislative wave is happening at the same time as drag Queen tweet, reading our in Sacramento, public library. And one of the one of the things I've been trying to do in my writing and is to get people to stop catastrophes. Ing their view of politics, and it's stop having this flight ninety three mentality. There are things that you win in. There are things that you lose. But you don't go to progressive gathering and hear them say things like our victory is almost hand they are catastrophes. They are doom and gloom. Ing in one of the things that makes a lot of American culture, conversation toxic is that both sides think they are. This is also. I mean it's I, I was about to say, well, at least the libertarians are optimistic and it's like how we're like. Whereas, you know, I mean there are still people who have gold buried in their backyard. Because we're expecting the run on the banks to happen at any point in time. And hey, I'm an amateur. There is a long tradition. I mean, there's even a school of literary thought that says the jeremiad is the essential genre of American fiction. I mean, going back to the colonial period. So we've always been doom and gloom, and stuff, where, where do you stand that on something, like, you know, in this mixing, your conservative values and religious values? I assume you don't agree that it's, it's a proper Christian understanding of kind of theology to allow gays to marry but then how does that play out in the civil law like should there be marriage equality, though, should should the state treat p to individuals equally view on, on the same sex. Marriage issue is religiously I believe that marriages between a man and a woman, I do not believe the constitution of the United States. I'm originalist in my interpretation of the constitution, I think in originalist reading of the constitution saying that it the fourteenth amendment, protects the right of same sex marriage. I think is. I don't see the foundation for income and legally, my view is that marriage should be defined by the states. And so that was which would open up the possibility of the state. If a state says, you know, same sex marriages. Okay. Crater fine with if the people of Massachusetts, voting, and the people of Massachusetts decided that same sex marriage, you know, that's, that's up to them into their community. One of the core aspects of mind, our political philosophy is we need to push a lot of these really important, questions, down much more to the level and then also leave. And I mean, I think this in, in reading your work in this, I mean is, you know, really, I think central to almost seventeenth century understanding of liberal philosophy or where it began in arguments in England over the right of conscience and whatnot, which is that what the state does is not the state doesn't necessarily give them moral imprimatur on everything. So as the real question, then, or the where you would go to the barracks. Where you would you would get on the plane, and crash it as if the state and said your church has to marry anybody that we say his is right..