Politics 🔗 Link Post

Op-ed: Jerry Falwell Jr.: Failed Institutionalist

(Kyle Griesinger)

Jerry Falwell Jr.: Failed Institutionalist was first published at National Review.

In December 2015, I sat with about 10,000 other students in Liberty University’s Vines Center for one of the thrice weekly Convocations, this one featuring remarks by Jerry Falwell Jr., the school’s president, chancellor, and son of its famous founder. It was already well-known by the student body that for Jerry, as we half-affectionately called him, off script was a dangerous place to be. Mostly that danger took the form of bad jokes and awkward malapropisms. But on that particular day, it was worse…

Continue Reading at National Review.

Politics 🔗 Link Post

Appearance: Matt Lewis and the News

I had the privilege of joining Daily Beast Senior Columnist, Matt Lewis on his eponymous (and excellent) podcast, Matt Lewis and the News. We discussed Jerry Falwell Jr. in light of his recently announced leave of absence from Liberty University. We also talked about the culture of Liberty and what Jerry’s fall says about the broader culture.

I hope you’ll give it a listen! And subscribe to Matt’s podcast if you like smart, long-form conversation.

Here’s a preview:


🔗 On Americans

The American spirit is a hell of a thing. For better or worse.

The same disobedient spirit that helped us to establish liberty here also makes us uncooperative, obstreperous, and, sometimes, dangerous. It’s a package deal.


Americans are bananas, and American public policy has to take the whole banana bunch into account.

Every time I hear Senator Bernie Sanders talk about the wonders of Denmark, and every time I myself argue that Switzerland is probably the best-governed country in the world, I reiterate: “The difference is that Denmark is full of Danes, Switzerland is full of Swiss, and America is full of maniacs.” That’s the fact, Jack.

Americans Are Hard to Quarantine

Katie Hill as Victim

The recent news about McDonald’s’ CEO pretty well gives the lie to the “if she were a man” defense of Katie Hill.


“The Testing Time” by Paul Harvey

One of the most distinctive voices in the history of radio, Paul Harvey was, in many respects, the soundtrack of my young life. His broadcasts still echo in my head a decade later. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush. Never has there been anyone more deserving of the honor. His passing was a sad day for me; made sadder by the fact that so few people of my generation knew who he was, had never heard that distinctive “hello Americans” or “this is Paul Harvey, good day.”

I recently came across this recording of a message called “The Testing Time” from the early 1960’s. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

“…And now you know the rest of the story.” 
— Paul Harvey, 1918-2009 —


Thoughts on Tomi Lahren

In case you missed it, Tomi Lahren has regained control of her Facebook page. Which means that we are about to be inundated with new ‘final thoughts’—though, one has to wonder why they are ‘final thoughts’ if they’re now the whole show. Tomi lost her gig as Provocateur-in-chief at TheBlaze recently over some comments she made on The View. This post will not address the comments she made—which have been addressed and refuted thoroughly. Rather, it addresses what I view to be the deeper problem with Tomi and what she represents for modern conservatism.

Shallow Conservatism

I have not cared for Tomi since she first skyrocketed to popularity. The very first time one of her ‘final thoughts’ videos meandered into my timeline I wrote her off as a flash in the pan that didn’t have the intellectual heft to last long. I must admit, I made a serious miscalculation—not just about Tomi, but about the whole 2016 election and possibly the modern conservative movement as a whole. I honestly believed that conservatives would see through her platitudes and recognize that her conservatism was inches deep. Conservatives didn’t want intellectuals, they wanted firebrands. Rather than gravitating to the pages of the National Review or The Wall Street Journal, they flocked to the Facebook page of a fiery upstart whose shtick was going on-air and lambasting liberals, millennials, and anyone else who opposed her views.

The people didn’t want reasoned, measured conservatism; they wanted bombastic, exaggerated pragmatism. Conservatives didn’t just want to win, they wanted to decimate and destroy. They wanted revenge for decades of insults, put-downs, and ill-treatment. I think this points to a deeper, systemic flaw in the current conservative movement—something I will write more extensively on later.

The Tomi Problem

Returning to Tomi, she offers an object lesson on why it is so important to have a reasoned and holistic worldview [1] and ideology. Please note, I do not mean that conservatives must or should be ideologues; only that they should hold to an ideology and allow it to inform their views on all issues. This is where Tomi erred. Tomi seems to hold to a conservative political ideology but she does not understand the philosophical roots of that ideology, and she does not allow it to guide her on all issues.

Conservatism has a certain set of underlying presuppositions. Chief among them, that the individual—created by God—is of inestimable worth. As such, the protection of human life is the first and predominant purpose of government. Whenever government fails to protect human life, it necessarily fails its first responsibility. Tomi, knowing only the platitude of ‘limited government,’ fails to make such a nuanced distinction. She does so because she does not have a thorough grounding in conservative thought and philosophy. She should recognize that that prohibiting abortion is a limited government position because, in doing so, government remains within its proper jurisdiction—protecting the life, liberty, and property of the people.

Sadly, Tomi is a conservative Icarus. Like Icarus, filled with hubris, she flew too near the sun. Someone once said, “when your visibility exceeds your credibility, you are heading for a fall.” This perfectly illustrates the ‘Tomi’ problem. Her worldview does not operate as a unified field of truth which is comprehensive and applies to all of life including all political issues. In short, her ideological foundation is insufficient. When you gain a platform, be sure your foundation is deep enough to support it.

[1] For and understanding of what I mean by ‘worldview,’ see the first section of Dr. Glenn Martin’s essay “Biblical Christian Education: Liberation for Leadership.