The James Wilson Foundation on Natural Rights and the American Founding

Bigotry, Time, and Moral Progress: A Review by JWI Affiliated Scholar Justin Dyer in the Cambridge Journal of Law and Religion

by James Wilson Institute on October 21, 2021
Courts, History, Philosophy

JWI Affiliated Scholar and Fellowship Faculty member Prof. Justin Dyer reviewed Who’s the Bigot? Learning from Conflicts over Marriage and Civil Rights Law by Linda C. McClain in the Cambridge Journal of Law and Religion.

You can read the full book review here.

Here is an excerpt from the book review:

The implicit underlying moral anthropology of [McClain’s] analysis, particularly about the dimension of time, is one in which reason does not provide insight into any transhistorical truths. There are no unchanging moral principles to be discovered by reason; there are only those moral principles we collectively affirm. But which principles should we collectively affirm, and which conception of justice should we advocate for in the public square? Those are the questions I am left pondering after reading Linda McClain’s provocative, challenging, and elucidating meditation on the rhetoric of bigotry in U.S. law and politics.

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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