A Few Non-Election Best Reads
“Of, By, and For the Freedmen” - James Hankins and Allen Guelzo, The New Criterion
Statue toppling, predictably, knows no bounds. These are not AP History students, either. As the statues of confederate soldiers and generals have disappeared, the rioters moved on to the founding father, and at last, they’ve come for Lincoln. The Freedman’s Memorial in Washington D.C. was commissioned and funded by former slaves, installed to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s leadership and moral courage. Frederick Douglass spoke at the dedication to more than a hundred thousand people, including Ulysses S. Grant. Hankins and Guelzo tell the story of this memorial and discuss the recent anti-history movement. Down to the minute details, this statue represents the freedom of all people, the bloody price the country paid to do away with slavery, and Lincoln’s legacy as the American emancipator. Lincoln wasn’t perfect, but he’s worth remembering, honoring, and studying, as are the freedmen and women who gave paid to memorialize their freedom.
“Black Education Matters” - Thomas Sowell, Creators
“Most Americans would probably be shocked and angry if they knew all the dirty tricks used to sabotage charter schools that are successfully educating low-income minority children.” As many have said, school choice is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time. Charter schools, vouchers, and other means of helping students get a better education threaten the public school status quo, but Sowell argues that might be the best thing in the long run. If you want to make a generational impact for people of color, support charter schools and school choice.
“Erika Bachiochi on the Future of Pro-Life Feminism” - Serena Sigillito and Erika Bachiochi, The Public Discourse
One of the things this interview highlights is the care with which discussions on gender must be navigated. Men and women are the same in their essence and in their broad human purpose, Bachiochi points out, but different in their biology, psychology, and reproductive roles and capacities, differences often challenged on the left. Bachiochi and Sigilitto explore feminism within these commitments and discuss the historical trends that have made it difficult to be a Catholic or pro-life feminist today. While almost everyone will find something challenging in this article, it is an excellent survey of the issues surrounding feminism, progressive notions of gender, abortion, motherhood, women in the workplace, and a broadly Christian response. I love this quote near the end, “I too have found that to be the single most important element of my own, albeit far more humble, work: trusting that when we intentionally order our loves properly, putting our marriage and our children first, God will employ our gifts and talents for our good, our children’s good, and the good of the world.”
“Joe Rogan’s Example for the Church” - Beth Smith, The Gospel Coalition
I’ve often wondered why there aren’t more podcasts like Joe Rogan’s. He’s accessible, curious, and the right kind of weird, but Smith points out something even deeper; he’s a great listener. Rogan sets an example for the kind of dialogue we should all be pursuing. He listens to people he doesn’t agree with and challenges them, but he does it in such a way that usually deepens the conversation, as opposed to shutting it down. While Rogan is not remotely Christian, he embodies something we should strive for, “the road to truth is best traveled with humility that produces curiosity, compassion that welcomes the stranger, and courage that proclaims hope.”
“Vaccine Politics Will Soon Replace Election Politics” - Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg
While the election is the most immediate question facing the nation, there’s another important discussion right around the corner. How will we develop and distribute vaccines for the coronavirus? With his usual clarity, Cowen narrows the issue down to selection and distribution. Who should get the vaccines first? High-risk groups, front line workers, and the elderly all have legitimate claims. How should they be paid for? Trump has promised free antibody treatments, but this may be untenable. Biden and Harris have sown doubt over the development, but they’ll almost certainly regret that. The election is important, but this is another issue worth thinking about and preparing for.
“It’s the End of an Era for the Media, No Matter Who Wins the Election” - Ben Smith, The New York Times
Changes are coming in the media. No matter who wins tomorrow, the current media complex cannot go on. One reason is age. The senior executives in print and digital media are due for a group retirement in the next 3-5 years. Another is pace. The frenzy of media cycles has become so frantic that people are checking out. You can only cry wolf on every story for so long. Trust and interest are both receding. Another is opposition. Media companies have thrived opposing Trump, but they will need new mission statements when he leaves office, and when that happens, they’ll confront a public that is no longer willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Another is censorship. Whether it’s in the newsroom or on social media, dozens of high-profile journalists are leaving media companies for Substack and Patreon, where they can control their own content for better crowd-sourced pay. It’s hard to know how things will look in the media in five years, but things will be very different.
“Your Pastor’s Wife Probably Feels Lonely” - Trevin Wax, The Gospel Coalition
Being a pastor is tough, being a pastor’s wife may be harder. Wax covers some recent research on being a pastor’s wife and the unique struggles that come with that role. For all the wonderful work and opportunities these women do in the church (often as volunteers) it can be hard to have close friendships, meet expectations, and feel like they too are part of the church. Thanks to Trevin Wax for highlighting these amazing, often unseen, servants in the church.
Cole Feix is the founder and president of So We Speak. Follow him on Twitter, @cfeix7.