News and Commentary

Hammer At ‘The American Mind’: Our Constitutional Order Prioritizes Justice, Not Procedure

   DailyWire.com
This is the Preamble to the US Constitution, It starts with the phrase We The People and shows only some of the writing from the upper left hand corner of the document of the Constitution, It is written on parchment paper that is now faded...
Photo by Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Daily Wire Editor-at-Large Josh Hammer, a 2018 John Marshall Fellow at the Claremont Institute, has the following piece today at Claremont’s online publication, The American Mind.

The intramural dialogue between the New York Post’s Sohrab Ahmari and National Review’s David French continues to unfold. Some may wonder when it will end — but there is no more important intellectual debate in all of contemporary political discourse, and it is crucial that we all grasp the stakes.

There is much to be said about the procedural protections for a free citizenry that developed in the English common law system and were subsequently incorporated into the American constitutional order. But the right to a jury trial, habeas corpus, due process under law — these procedural niceties are not, contra Enlightenment apologists and Lockean purists, epistemologically “self-evident” due to unaided reason. The late Andrew Breitbart knew that our politics is ultimately downstream of culture, and so too is our Anglo-American legal and constitutional tradition downstream of culture. Vitiating the ties that attach our citizenry to the peculiar traditions we have inherited weakens the procedural protections we rightfully hold dear, empowering a new culture wherein self-appointed victims become their own judges and those targeted for summary “cancellation” have no appeal. If not carefully nourished, classical liberal procedural protections will be swept away.

If we were to lose touch with our unique Anglo-American tradition, the lofty promises of the Declaration of Independence and the structural ingenuities of the Constitution alike would be broken. Recognizing that culture and tradition are necessary prerequisites for the genuine restoration and preservation of our procedural norms should make us comfortable nudging the levers of political power to reclaim cultural influence from the revanchist illiberal Left. From the Jacobin menagerie in the streets to the Woke, Inc. staffers on academic and corporate campuses, the illiberal Left rejects dialogue and preempts from the public square even the most anodyne right-of-center beliefs. Against that backdrop, procedural neutrality as a purported panacea to our culture war is a plea that rings hollow at best. Ahmari is fundamentally correct in his ongoing feud with French. A substantive and not strictly procedural political agenda oriented toward the highest good responds best to the crippling crises leftist illiberalism deepens: Balkanization, mass despondency, and moral decay. Ahmari has offered more to directly confront these attacks on our heart and soul than French.

Read the rest here.