Entries by William C. Duncan

Burke’s ‘armed doctrines,’ ideologues, and Title IX

Central to the conservative critique of revolutionary movements is Edmund Burke’s charge that they promote “armed doctrines,” ideological principles imposed without reference to longstanding practice, current realities or countervailing principles. These are promoted by ideologues who “seek to impose on society and government an unvarying formula that is presented as the answer to every problem […]

‘Clear scientific consensus’ on child well-being?

A report on an ongoing dispute over a foster placement contains this interesting assertion from an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union: “There is a clear scientific consensus that children of same-sex parents fare no differently than their peers.” While Sutherland Institute has no position on the foster placement, we are interested in factually […]

Mulling the ethics of gamete donation

In the immediate wake of the Supreme Court decision on marriage, it became clear that a push for “family equality” is likely to be the next step. This would entail new laws and policies that require “eras[ing] cultural and legal attachments to biological, dual-gender parenting.” A proponent of this change recognizes the marriage decision as […]

A constitutional right to government-funded disgrace?

In the wake of videos purporting to show that Planned Parenthood employees are engaging in the sale of body parts obtained through abortions, Governor Gary Herbert’s administration decided to end state contracts with the organization’s Utah affiliate. Planned Parenthood sued the governor, arguing that its constitutional rights had been violated, and a federal court in […]

Culture of death

California has now become the fifth state to legalize physician-assisted suicide with Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature last week. It is ironic that in a time touted as the apex of the expansion of individual freedom, the new rights in highest demand are the right to kill oneself and the right to dull one’s senses with […]

Pope Francis (and others) on religious liberty

One sorry trend that has gained steam in the wake of the movement to redefine marriage is an attempt to marginalize religious liberty. Thus, when Indiana was considering a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), commentary in opposition acted as if the bill were a form of special pleading against gay rights. But the federal statute […]

How elastic can the Constitution be?

With serendipitous timing, [Tuesday] morning the online journal Public Discourse published an excellent article by Professor Steven Smith, a law professor at the University of San Diego. In the article, Professor Smith notes that while during the middle period of the Roman Empire, “the outward forms of the ancient republican constitution were largely preserved … […]

Unintended consequences: an example from Sweden

The Institute for Marriage and Family Canada has recently published an interesting review of social statistics in Sweden. The author, Jonas Himmelstrand, examines the possible consequences of the nation’s dedication to day care heavily subsidized by the government: No matter how many children, no matter how many hours children spend in care, no matter how […]