Phi Beta Cons

Accord on the Centrality of “Cultural Particularity”

In response to my post, “Cross Removal at William and Mary, Soviet-Style,” Carol takes exception below to a remark by writer Jack Kemp that I quote. Kemp’s comment in an email, about the Star and Crescent, was a swipe at what superficially passes these days for tolerance and “sacred cows.” Specifically, it was a comment on the president of William and Mary’s insipid remark that to leave the Wren Chapel cross in place would be “contrary to the best values of the college.”

Carol takes Kemp to task for only invoking this “’double standard,’” suggesting he is without “real defenses” in face of this attack on tradition and is among those conservatives who “need to reacquaint themselves with the fact that our ideals are made practical by our cultural particularity, built on the (Western) Enlightenment and the Judeo-Christian tradition.”


Kemp and I concur with, and have often ourselves made, Carol’s major argument, and we are pleased his allusion inspired her to raise a greater point and make a more developed argument. Kemp responds he agrees “that there are more inclusive and better arguments than the passing remark I made, arguments admitting the U.S. laws, culture and values are a direct product of Judeo-Christian thought and practices, even when they apply to individuals here who come from other cultures and religions.”