Postmodern Conservative

Diversity in America

This morning I read an article on why Trump will come in a very poor third in Utah. Mormons have plenty of reasons for thinking poorly of him. All their reasons are good! They begin with his extreme hostility to immigration and immigrants and end with his highly uncivilized and often hateful vulgarity, a basic disrespect for the manners and morals of a genuinely free people.

Thank God for the diversity Mormons add to the Republican party! They’re both members of an Evangelical, global religion and patriotic American citizens, and their vision of personal responsibility includes both a devotion to the greatness of our country and a charitable concern for creatures everywhere. A balanced immigration policy — somewhere between the Chamber of Commerce (and libertarian economists) and angrily resentful nationalism — remains possible for a people dedicated to universal principles and living in a particular place. Now the Mormons disagree with Cruz just as much or more on immigration. And that’s why Rubio at one point was leading in the polls in Utah, and it’s also why Kasich will get a significant number of vote there.

But that honorable man Mitt Romney expressed the emerging consensus that Cruz is the only candidate who can stop Trump now. A vote for Kasich ends up being for Trump. I still think Cruz will be the nominee. If he’s not, it’s because other Republicans stupidly and selfishly get in his way. We can begin with Kasich. We quickly move on to all those silly stop-Trump meetings and ridiculous plans for third parties. There’s no choice now but to follow Romney’s lead, and that means let Cruz provide the leadership and hope he succeeds.

If Cruz is the nominee, he might well lose in November, and the Republicans might well lose the Senate. But that’s nothing compared to what will happen if Trump is. So no one be deceived that you’re saving your job by trying to hide out during this “nominating process.”

Some have asked about my visit to Benedictine College. Well, it’s yet another example of indispensable American diversity! It’s in many ways just like any other small residential college with a wide array of majors — including the usual menu of techno-vocational choices — and lots of intercollegiate sports. Its point of distinction is to be a seriously Catholic college, with, for example, huge attendance at daily Mass, prayer before classes, and large general-education requirements in philosophy and theology.

One student asked me whether philosophy should be studied by everyone. I tried to explain that, according to Saint Augustine, nobody should think he or she is too good for work (particularly charity) or not good enough for leisurely contemplation of who he or she is as a creature born to a singular personal destiny that goes far beyond the merely biological existence shared with the other animals. Each welder, as much as anyone who specializes in philosophy, was born to know the truth about who he or she is.

One professor asked whether the Catholic Church was the one place in America where the “personal logos,” or serious concern for personal teleolog,y persists today. I said pretty much, although there are a few exceptions to that rule. She then almost screamed to the students: That’s why you have to know Aristotle (and not completely agree with him, I’ll add).

Peter Augustine LawlerPeter Augustine Lawler is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College. He is executive editor of the acclaimed scholarly quarterly Perspectives on Political Science and served on President George ...


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