I have been asked by Justin Brierley to appear on Premier Christian Radio’s Unbelievable radio show and podcast. I have been advised over the years to appear on it to discuss, say, the nativity or the Kalam Cosmological Argument, but I have never approached them. Anyway, Justin read one of my cancel culture pieces (you can see them here and here and see an interview here). I am due to debate with David French who writes over at The Dispatch. He recently wrote, “America Is in the Grips of a Fundamentalist Revival. But it’s not Christian.” Give it a read and let me know what you think; personally, I think it is an interesting piece with some things I do agree with him on.
Wikipedia describes him as follows:
David Austin French (born January 24, 1969) is an American attorney, political commentator, and author. A fellow at the National Review Institute and a staff writer for National Review from 2015 to 2019, French currently serves as senior editor of The Dispatch.
He is an evangelical Christian who is married to Nancy French and he almost ran for President. No pressure, then.
I find French a really interesting person because he is not your typical “throw in the kitchen sink” type of conservative who, through cognitive dissonance, goes all-in with the gamut of conservative talking points. He is careful to pick and choose what he supports, and he doesn’t support Trump, thankfully. Here we have a far more reasonable type of evangelical conservative, one who actually has a seemingly more universal moral backbone, and this will make things interesting because there will be areas about which we no doubt will agree.
More of his Wiki entry will hopefully sum up his position:
Attacks by the alt-right
In 2016, French and his wife and family were the subject of online attacks when he criticized then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and the alt-right. French was bombarded with hateful tweets, including an image of his child in a gas chamber.
Dispute with Sohrab Ahmari
A high-profile dispute between David French and New York Post editor Sohrab Ahmari broke out over the summer of 2019 as a result of the publication of Ahmari’s polemic “Against David French-ism”, sparking numerous essays and commentaries in politically conservative publications like the National Review and The American Conservative, as well as in several non-partisan outlets like The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic. The dispute first began on May 26, 2019, when Sohrab Ahmari expressed on Twitter his frustration with a Facebook advertisement for a children’s drag queen reading hour at a library in Sacramento, California, which he described as “transvestic fetishism”, and argued that there is no “polite, David French-ian third way around the cultural civil war“. This prompted a response from French in a May 28 essay published in the National Review entitled “Decency Is No Barrier to Justice or the Common Good”. The dispute escalated significantly after Ahmari published the essay “Against David French-ism” in the conservative religious journal First Things on May 29, 2019. The direct targeting of French and the impromptu creation of the “David French-ism” political philosophy led the essay to gain a significant profile, prompting a response from French and the publication of numerous commentaries. On September 5, 2019, French and Ahmari engaged in an in-person political debate moderated by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., again prompting a flurry of commentaries.
The dispute centered around their differing opinions on how conservatives should approach cultural and political debate, with Ahmari deriding what he calls “David French-ism”, a political persuasion he defines as believing “that the institutions of a technocratic market society are neutral zones that should, in theory, accommodate both traditional Christianity and the libertine ways and paganized ideology of the other side”. He argues that this belief leads to an ineffective conservative movement, and contends that the best way for culturally conservative values to prevail in society is a strategy of “discrediting…opponents and weakening or destroying their institutions”, which he maintains is a tactic already utilized by progressives, leaving conservatives who adhere to the David French-style of politics impotent in what he views as a waging culture war in the United States. He argues that the political realm should be viewed as one of “war and enmity”, and that the power of the government should be directly utilized to impose culturally conservative values on society. French, by contrast, advocates a conservative libertarian approach in which decency, civility, and respect for individual rights are emphasized, and argues that Ahmari’s beliefs “forsake” the philosophy of classical liberalism that the Founding Fathers of the United States espoused. He placed particular criticism on Ahmari’s desire for direct government intervention in the lives of individuals, which he argues is not only antithetical to liberty but is a politically ruinous tactic for conservatives, who would end up on the receiving end of progressive policies if the government were given greater license to interfere in the private lives of individuals.
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