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Esolen on judicial activism and corruption of a democratic society

Catholic World News - January 18, 2012

Reflecting on debates among Republican presidential candidates, and the questions posed by media personalities during those debates, Anthony Esolen remarks that American voters are expected to make expert judgments on questions about monetary standards, international trade, taxation and foreign policy—all subjects that require some degree of expertise—but not on the basic truths of ordinary family life. On those family issues, Esolen notes, liberal pundits believe that the public should bow to the opinions of the courts:

In other words, the single thing most determinative of what sort of culture a people will possess, and the single thing about which most people can be relied upon to have an informed opinion, is snatched from democratic purview, and not even by theologians or philosophers, but by a handful of upper-class lawyers.

Esolen illustrates his argument with a reflection on what might have happened if the same attitudes had prevailed in Bedford Falls, the fictional town of Capra’s classic It’s a Wonderful Life.

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  • Posted by: FredC - Jan. 18, 2012 9:30 PM ET USA

    It would help if experts gave voters the facts about the global issues and if the Church gave voters loud and clear messages on the cultural issues.

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