America’s Post-Religious Right

The intensity of current political fights over parental rights in public schools, free speech on college campuses, abortion, and other culture-war touch points is, in Nate Hochman’s analysis, a product of “the decline in organized religion.” Pointing to a drop in church membership among Republicans that appears to have coincided with the rise of Donald Trump’s political fortunes, Hochman suggests that the former president tapped into a grassroots “energy” that was “primarily a reflection of the nonreligious right.” The future of American conservatism, he argues, may in part depend on how much the religious right, which came more slowly to support Trump, is willing to concede to its secular partners.

Today’s culture war is being waged not between religion and secularism but between groups that the Catholic writer Matthew Schmitz has described as “the woke and the unwoke.”

Rather than invocations of Scripture, the right’s appeal is a defense of a broader, beleaguered American way of life. For example, the language of parental rights is rarely, if ever, religious, but it speaks to the pervasive sense that American families are fighting back against progressive ideologues over control of the classroom. That framing has been effective: according to a March Politico poll, for example, American voters favored the key provision of Florida’s hotly debated Parental Rights in Education law, known by its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, by a margin of 16 percentage points.

Support for the initiative crosses racial lines. In a May poll of likely general election voters in six Senate battleground states—Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—the conservative American Principles Project found that Hispanics supported the Florida law by a margin of 11 percentage points and African Americans by a margin of four points.

The upshot is that this new politics has the capacity to expand the Republican tent dramatically.

Read more at New York Times

More about: American politics, Conservatism, Donald Trump, Religion and politics


Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security