The pundits are out in force today arguing about which republican candidate performed best in yesterday’s debate. But the pundit definition of “best” is, well, not the best. They evaluate politics descriptively, disputing who will get the most support, not who should. There’s precious little serious reflection on the quality of the arguments presented. Candidates know this, and consequently every election they behave more theatrically, trying to score cheap points with burns and put-downs instead of engaging in nuanced policy discussion. So instead of discussing whose personal anecdote was the most touching or whose one-liner had the most zing, I invite you to join me in a dissection of the substantive claims and arguments we did see.
In my previous post, I wrote about Indiana’s recently passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and how it differs from other versions of the law passed by other states and at the federal level. Today, I want to make larger and more provocative argument that all Religious Freedom Restoration Acts–even those written tighter than the Indiana law–should be repealed. This may sound like a radical point of view to you, but hear me out.
In the western press, it is common to perceive Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi’s recent declaration of sweeping authority as a shrewd power grab by the newest regional autocrat. In light of the most recent development–Morsi revoking his despised decree–it occurs to me that perhaps the west has been too quick to assume malevolence on Morsi’s part. What we have here is not a man seizing power through cleverness and guile. Instead we have a bumbling oaf who lacks the political nuance to effectively govern Egypt and who has not made clever moves, but a series of disastrous missteps, the consequences of which could be severe.