In Defense of Norms and Institutions
When we act like we are living through an apocalypse, we risk denigrating the very institutions that can guide us through crises.
The unprecedented leak of a full-draft majority opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health abortion case, and the reaction to the likelihood that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, should cause us to think hard about how we use institutions to accomplish our goals.
Over centuries, America has developed and adapted an array of organizations and practices that enable our unusual nation to succeed. It is not blind luck that this extraordinarily diverse, continental republic conceived in liberty has thrived: Our magnificent combination of principles including democracy, decentralization, separation of powers, the rule of law, liberty, and civil society is only possible because we have legislatures, the 10th Amendment, courts, boards of elections, the First Amendment, tradition, and voluntary associations that bring these to life. And these can function only when we respect the beliefs and behaviors that sustain them. But over the last eight years, I’ve witnessed wildly divergent perspectives on the value of these institutions and their norms.
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Andy Smarick is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.
This piece originally appeared in The Dispatch