The Power of the American Idea Comes from Its Synthesis of Classical Liberalism with the Hebrew Bible

Dec. 29 2020

For much of the post-World War II era, many U.S. conservatives have seen it as their mission to conserve the classical liberal ideas of such thinkers as John Locke, which are embedded in the American founding: the inviolability of private property, freedom of speech and conscience, limiting governmental overreach, and so forth—all principles under attack from Fascism, Communism, the New Left, and now “the Great Awokening.” But the past few years have seen the rise of a movement to reenergize conservative thinking by an appeal to ideas outside the liberal tradition. Taking aim at both proponents of a conservative “postliberalism” and partisans of the secular Enlightenment, Meir Soloveichik argues that the American founding is built on a “double helix” of classical liberalism and biblical thought. In First Things’s annual Erasmus Lecture, he explains that this potent blend gives the U.S. a unique purpose in world history. He finds this synthesis embodied above all in that great “theologian of the American idea,” Abraham Lincoln, who over the course of his life moved to embrace religion, inspired, in no small part, by a Jewish abolitionist. (Video, 84 minutes.)

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More about: Abraham Lincoln, American founding, Hebrew Bible, Liberalism, Post-liberalism, Religion and politics

BDS, Unable to Harm Israel, Has Turned Its Sights on Jews in the Diaspora

Feb. 26 2021

March 15 marks the beginning of this year’s Israel Apartheid Week, during which campus groups around the world hold rallies and events for the purpose of defaming the Jewish state and mustering support for the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction it (BDS). Richard Kemp comments:

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More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS