Virtual Voices

A new generation, a constitutional conservatism

Books

There is a new generation of articulate conservatives on the rise in America. These new conservatives will not be charged with religious syncretism, the throwing of random Bible verses at political issues, or using the Bible to legislate morality. Instead, they employ clear and simple reflections on the implications of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights for American life and public policy. Robert Wheeler and John Amble have assembled a provocative new generation of thinkers in their new book, Reinventing the Right: Conservative voices for the new millennium, which will introduce to liberals, conservatives and moderates new ways of thinking about the foundations of liberty. The conservatives in this volume seem to want to expand the reader's imagination of an America that is committed to the rule of law and a robust constitutionalism.

The book's contributors are among the brightest women and men from multiple disciplines ranging from law and business to education and ecology. The contributors' academic credentials, including degrees from Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Emory, and Berkeley just to name a few, are sure to impress readers. With political savvy, these women and men apply the Constitution to the hottest political issues facing America's future, including the roles of the First and Second Amendments, a defense of religious liberty, as well as multiculturalism, abortion, energy conservation, healthcare reform, public education, crime, immigration, American foreign policy, national security, globalization, taxes, and more. Needless to say, if you love WORLD you will enjoy this book immensely.

For example, conservative readers will be encouraged by Wheeler's chapter on abortion, where he writes that many people forget the damage abortion does to the dignity of women and the innocent in light of liberty and the Constitution:

"We offer a society in which human beings are respected and given the dignity they deserve, particularly women. . . . It is a society where people are treated with enough dignity and respect to expect of them the ability to make decisions and to require that they take responsibility for the results. In such a society, women are truly empowered.

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"The right to on-demand abortion does not empower but rather dehumanizes women. It treats them as children, unable to make complex decisions, and gives them as reprieve against poor decisions the ability to infringe upon the rights of others without consequence. Infringing upon the rights of others without consequence is not empowerment. It is enablement. In a better society, women are empowered enough to make decisions about their bodies without violating the rights of the innocent."

Abortion is a constitutional issue in addition to a religious one. For those familiar with the Constitution Party's position on the sanctity of life, they will be reminded of a similar defense of the pre-born "whose life begins at fertilization." The Constitution Party says, "[T]he first duty of the law is to prevent the shedding of innocent blood. It is, therefore, the duty of all civil governments to secure and to safeguard the lives of the pre-born." It could be argued that in the past many conservatives have not applied the United States Constitution enough to issues they care about. Wheeler and Amble intend to not let that happen again.

On the whole, for those who consider themselves conservatives, what Wheeler and Amble have put together will be a great encouragement to representatives of an emerging generation who intend to move forward to invite Americans to embrace the implications of the documents that shape and form the liberty given to U.S. citizens.

Anthony Bradley
Anthony Bradley

Anthony is associate professor of theology and ethics at The King's College in New York and serves as a research fellow at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. He is author of Liberating Black Theology. Follow Anthony on Twitter @drantbradley.

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