Author Archives: William C. Duncan

May 8: A big day for Utah in 1895

Wednesday, May 8, 1895, was the last formal day of the Utah Constitutional Convention. Unlike the lawyer-dominated Philadelphia Convention, the top occupation of Utah delegates was farming, though lawyers were certainly represented. The president of the convention was John Henry … Continue reading

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Politics of nihilism

At a recent discussion sponsored by the invaluable John Adams Center, someone remarked on the seeming incoherence of current progressive politics. As I understood the analysis, the progressivism of the early 20th century had reasonably clear (if tragically misguided) aims, … Continue reading

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Substantive equal protection and the definition of marriage

A conventional narrative of constitutional history says that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the U.S. Supreme Court commonly used the “due process” clause of the Fifth and 14th amendments to strike down laws, particularly in the economic … Continue reading

Posted in Marriage | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Talking about marriage: a new conversation?

On January 29, the Institute for American Values announced a New Marriage Conversation. The conversation was intended to address the “hollowing out of marriage in mainstream America” by bringing “together gays and lesbians who want to strengthen marriage with straight … Continue reading

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Will this Legislature uphold or undermine ideals of family?

Animating the Sutherland Institute’s efforts on family issues at the Legislature is the principle that individual family disintegration or failure to form is not the only problem our society faces. The increasing social and legal acceptance of family breakdown and … Continue reading

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What is marriage? The divorce edition

It is a tired trope that people who care about marriage are inordinately worried about it being redefined and should just work to address the problem of divorce. Of course, in fact, they have been doing just that for a … Continue reading

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Amicus brief to Supreme Court explains churches’ interest in Prop 8 case

Among the submissions to the U.S. Supreme Court explaining why the federal Constitution does not require states to redefine marriage is an important amicus brief representing a number of religious denominations, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. … Continue reading

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Can we save marriage by redefining it?

A peculiar case for redefining marriage posits that the institution can be strengthened by redefining it. More people will then, the argument goes, want to marry or at least will want to strengthen marriages generally. The challenge is that the … Continue reading

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Talking past each other

The phrase “talking past each other” surely applies to the “debate” in which we are supposedly engaged over the meaning of marriage as it relates to divorce, redefinition, cohabitation, unwed parenting, etc.  On one side, there are discussions of the … Continue reading

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Utah must tackle issues behind prison, mistreatment of prisoners, and recidivism

Warehousing large numbers of people in prison is neither wise, nor just, nor humane as most people, and certainly conservatives, recognize. Allowing rampant crime to go unchecked is also none of these things. As a result of many factors, we … Continue reading

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Voices across the political spectrum question dependency culture

In The New York Times, columnist Nicholas D. Kristof makes an uncomfortable point: This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing … Continue reading

Posted in Self-reliance, Welfare | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Support exercise of religious freedom: Shop Hobby Lobby Saturday

For a nation with a yearning for religious freedom at its roots, we are seeing an awful callousness toward exercise of that freedom lately. One of the more recent manifestations of this trend has the Green family, who operate Hobby … Continue reading

Posted in Health Care, Religion | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Lehi Roller Mills and bureaucracy

A great local business in northern Utah County, Lehi Roller Mills, has recently filed for bankruptcy protection. Hopefully the move will allow the company to get back on its feet and remain viable for the sake of the community, employees … Continue reading

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Why the Supreme Court marriage decision is good news

Last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review two decisions of lower federal courts that had struck down two laws preserving the definition of marriage as the union of a husband and wife. One of the laws was the … Continue reading

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Personal responsibility in public policy

Personal responsibility is a core feature of sound public policy. Policies that try to relieve individuals of personal responsibility are unjust and unwise. Policies that recognize and encourage responsibility are far-sighted and effectual. This point is typically and appropriately made … Continue reading

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