The James Wilson Foundation on Natural Rights and the American Founding

Professor Arkes “Life, Liberty, and Law” Podcast of Americans United for Life

Earlier in January 2020, Professor Hadley Arkes, JWI Founder and Director, appeared on the podcast “Life, Liberty and Law” to discuss the relationships between culture, politics, and law. Is culture downstream of politics and law or are politics and law downstream of culture? Or perhaps all three influence one another persistently?

In the podcast, Arkes addresses how his own understanding of culture and mores drove him to switch parties, becoming a Republican after campaigning for Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 election. Arkes argues that majority preference cannot be the sole arbitrator of right and wrong, and that deferring to majoritarianism does not relieve politicians and judges from having to make moral judgments. These judgments, Arkes says, are frequently responsible for changes in public opinion itself. When politicians and judges refuse to uphold moral truths, ordinary Americans do the same.

You can listen to the podcast below or here.

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Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.
— James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790