By Krystina Skurk
Why have the partisan battles of today become so bitter? Do these battles go deeper than mere policy concerns? In a January 30th lecture, Christopher Caldwell discussed these questions at a lecture hosted by Hillsdale in D.C.
Christopher Caldwell is a contributing editor at the Claremont Review of Books and a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. He is also author of the new book, The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties.
His new book “is a brilliant and ambitious account of how the reforms of the past 50 years left the country with two incompatible political systems and drove it towards conflict,” said Hillsdale student Tessa Ens in her introduction of the speaker.
Caldwell’s book begins with the assassination of John F. Kennedy and ends with the election of Donald Trump. The book covers society’s changing views within that time period on race, sex, war, debt, and diversity.
“I've been asked here this evening to explain how American society has come to be divided by party and by ideology in a way that it maybe has not been since the Civil War,” Caldwell began.
Caldwell spent much of his lecture describing the impact of the civil rights movement. He argues that Civil Rights laws set up a second constitution with the power to override the first, and discussed some of the unintended consequences of it.
Many audience members were eager to ask questions after the lecture. One man challenged Caldwell’s argument that rights should not be defined by judges. Caldwell clarified that he believes judges have a duty to protect rights that are declared in the Constitution, but they should not have the power to define new rights for all of society.
You can read more in our latest edition of Imprimis.