No. 284: The End of the Beginning of the Culture War
⁂ Nashville's Alt-Daily ⁂ TN-5 · SCOTUS in TN · A Saint in TN · Culture War · Who Watches News? · Much More!
Good morning, everyone.
I drove out to Columbia, Tennessee for the Regan Dinner & Debate involving candidates in the GOP primary for Tennessee's 5th Congressional district last night. Going into Maury County from off I-65, you cut through old plantations and pass by the giant Spring Hill GM plant which promises to begin rolling out electric vehicles sometime around 2024. The drive south down US-31 from Spring Hill to Columbia expresses well the dilemma that Middle Tennessee leaders face at present—how to grow sustainably without losing too much of what brought people here in the first place.
Podiums of different shapes, sizes, and heights from various churches in the area arrayed across the stage at the Memorial Building gave the event a humble, down-home feel.
What immediately stood out as the candidates approached their podiums was Beth Harwell's decision to wear a cream dress contrasted against the navies and blacks of the other candidates. It sent a signal that here was a shrewd politician who has been here before. Not long after everyone took their places, Harwell issued a rousing call to dissolve the Department of Education, and from there, we were off on what can best be described as a red meat affair offering up questions on the Hunter Biden laptop, voter fraud, and everything in between.
Every candidate had their moment, but it was Natisha Brooks and Stewart Parks who drew the most consistent and rousing responses from the audience, mostly for the entertainment value they provided.
Natisha, the only person on the ballot who has previously challenged Jim Cooper, peppered her responses with euphemisms and slogans like "Build Back Better is becoming Build Back Broke" and wryly noting that "a man don't work, a man don't eat."
Parks, for his part, at one point demanded that every candidate on stage state whether or not they were vaccinated. Later, he turned his pew to the audience to show that he didn't have notes and was speaking straight from the heart.
Other interesting anecdotes involved Tres Wittum's call to repeal the 17th Amendment which, along with the general consensus that developed after Harwell's thundering opening, was among the most radical, exciting proposals put forth.
Ogles doubled down on his call to secure the border and when asked whether he would vote in favor of Red Flag Laws declared "H-E double-L no" which the audience enjoyed. During the Red Flag discussion, veteran and former Blackhawk pilot Jeff Beierlein offered up a couple of anecdotes displaying a reverence and respect for firearms that other candidates could not feign before concurring with the rest that Red Flag Laws are a bridge too far and that existing law deals with the problem adequately.
The theme running through every candidate's answer was the return of power to the states, full stop, and a general distaste for federal overreach. There were obvious barbs thrown at the Biden administration—and even some at Trump for endorsing Ortagus—but by and large, the candidates put forth policy ideas, some of which were actually good.
Today, we look at how the recent SCOTUS rulings will affect Tennesseans, observe a curious church in downtown Nashville, and peer into the origins of the culture war.
You can follow us on Twitter (@realpamphleteer), LinkedIn (@realpamphleteer), or Instagram (@realpamphleteer) for additional content.
Also, be sure to check out our podcast. New episodes every Monday. Available wherever you get your podcasts.
Thanks for reading.
NEW PODCAST EPISODE
✺ SCOTUS IN TENNESSEE
The recent decisions released by the Supreme Court have sent shockwaves through the country. The overturn of Roe v. Wade, the ruling on public prayer in school settings, and the ruling supporting the right to bear arms outside of the home will affect each state in different ways. Below we take a look at how these rulings affect Tennessee.
ROE v. WADE
The Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade kicked the issue of abortion back down to the state level and, in the state of Tennessee, this ruiing is a significant one because the decision triggers laws already on the books. The “Heartbeat Bill,” passed in 2020 made it a class C felony to perform an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected (around the 6-week mark). This law has been held up in court proceedings ever since it was signed into law by Governor Lee.
The more important Tennessee law triggered by the SCOTUS ruling is the "Human Life Protection Act." This bill was passed in 2019 and “bans abortion in this state effective on the 30th day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.”
After news of the Supreme Court’s ruling was made public Nashville’s DA, Glenn Funk, vowed he will not prosecute women seeking abortion or the doctors who perform them.
RIGHT TO CARRY
This ruling by the Supreme Court protects American citizens’ right to “keep and bear arms” for protection beyond the confines of one’s own property without a permit. This decision has implications for many states that have limited the ability to legally carry a gun for self-defense. Experts also say the ruling can have implications for future legislation, such as red flag laws.
In Tennessee, this decision does little to change the law of the land. As of 2021, anyone 21 and older can openly or concealed carry in the state without a permit. Honorably discharged military members 18-20 can also openly or concealed carry without a permit. There are restrictions to this right in places where guns are prohibited.
It is also worth noting that the Tennessee General Assembly tried to lower the age of permitless carry to 18 this year. Though the House voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, it never made it to the Governor’s desk.
RIGHT TO PUBLIC PRAYER IN SCHOOLS
“The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike,” wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch for the six Republican-appointed judges.
The Supreme court ruled in favor of the right of a high school coach to publicly pray and this decision has possible implications for the state of Tennessee. The attitude towards prayer in was set in 1962 when the ruling in Engel v. Vitale prohibited prayer in public schools. Under the ruling, school-sponsored prayer was established as a practice that violates 1st Amendment rights. This precedent changed the standard of allowance for prayer by individuals in public schools to silent prayer that is non-disruptive. The ruling in favor of the coach has the potential to impact prayer practices in Tennessee public schools.
✝ NASHVILLE CURIOSITIES: Saint Mary of the Seven Sorrows Catholic Church
The Catholic Church on 5th Avenue in downtown Nashville is not only the city's oldest church—founded in 1844—but also contains the remains of its founding Bishop, Richard Pius Miles. Bishop Miles was also the first Bishop in the state of Tennessee.
During renovations in 1972, the cast iron casket that Bishop Miles was buried in was moved to another part of the church. Sealed in the airtight casket, workers discovered that Bishop Miles' body was in remarkably good condition even 112 years later. According to Catholic tradition, a body "disaffected by time and decomposition" is an indication of saintliness.
Source: Saint Mary of the Seven Sorrows Catholic Church
Atlas Obscura, Read Online
IN THE NATIONAL NEWS
- Booming Nashville Is Being Transformed by Luxury Tourism (Bloomberg) The city is shedding its unique identity as a country music hub as five-star developers swarm in.
- Wilson County Schools implement new policy to curb growing vaping problem among students (WKRN) Under the new policy, students will have to attend educational programs if caught with vaping devices. The first offense comes with a three-day suspension and a self-paced online program. The second offense is a 5-day suspension and an educational program that has to be attended in person.
- Plans for wastewater treatment plant cause uproar in Hickman County (Lookout) Written on a sign next Lick Creek, residents took note of a public notice from the Water Authority of Dickson County (WADC), announcing intentions to build a facility to discharge wastewater into Lick Creek.
- Enrollment in Metro Nashville Public Schools is declining (Tennessean) Enrollment in traditional Metro Nashville Public Schools is down about 14% over the past decade, even as the district expects to recoup some of the students lost in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Vanderbilt Denies Heart Transplant To 7-Month Old Baby Because He Is Not Vaccinated (TCN) The transplant team at Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, led by Dr. David Bearl, has denied placing 7-month old August Stoll on the transplant list due to his vaccination status.
- Dave Ramsey endorses Ogles for GOP nomination in 5th District (TNJ) Personal finance advice guru Dave Ramsey is endorsing Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles for the Republican nomination in the open 5th Congressional District race.
- Bulk of TN-5 Republican Primary Field Stands with Tennessee National Guard Members (TN Star) Most of the Republican field in the August 4 primary for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District seat have voiced their support for the National Guard members who are scheduled to be fired on June 30 due to their defiance of a COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
- Downtown building set for beer taproom, café (Post)
- Madison health care office building listed for $3.25M (Post)
- Cincy company eyes first Nashville development (Post)
☹︎ The End of the Beginning of the Culture War
Starting in the late 50s, the Supreme Court under the leadership of Earl Warren issued forty-five precedents overturning previous rulings. All previous courts together had done so only eighty-eight times. It was a revolutionary period described as a "Constitutional Revolution" by some as the court migrated in an increasingly liberal direction. The Warren court was and is the most aggressive and politically inclined court in the history of the nation.
"If you walk out of this hotel tonight and someone knocks you on the head," sneered George Wallace during his 1968 Presidential run. "He'll be out of jail before you're out of the hospital, and on Monday morning they'll try the policeman instead of the criminal." His sentiment captured the popular reaction to Earl Warren's reign outside of the major urban centers.
It was during Warren's reign that the Culture War was officially born. For example, the Reynolds v. Sims (1964) ruling which applied "one man, one vote" to legislative districting diluted the influence of rural parts of the country, concentrating it in better educated urban/suburban areas where citizens were judged to be more enlightened. Moral questions, which were typically handled by the state legislature or other local officials who determined things like school curriculum, increasingly fell into the hands of activist judges. School prayer was banned from public schools, speech laws repealed, and newspapers given free license to print as much libel as they wanted as long as it wasn't "actual malice" (whatever that means.) From there, the dominoes began to fall, and the federal government got its claws into the states via the Judiciary.
For those born in the years after Warren's time, the precedents set during his term defined the direction of American culture to such an extent that today, the backlash to the overturn of Roe v. Wade seems to regard the period as "settled history." A brief perusal of history will reveal to even the most casual observer that history is rarely, if ever, settled. That statement may frighten more squeamish readers, but it doesn't make it any less true.
THE TIMES ARE A-CHANGIN'
The effect of rulings springing forth from Warren's politicization of the court can be seen in the transition away from the pre-industrial focus on the extended family to the industrial era focus on the nuclear family, and finally, to the present post-familial setting as outlined in the table above. The court's role in this transition cannot be ignored.
Accounts of this period frequently deemphasize or dismiss the court's ascendant position as moral arbiter during this period, attributing its rulings as growing from the cultural trends of the time. Instead, they tend to focus on the cultural ferment around the Vietnam War, LBJ's Great Society programs, or, more broadly, feminism. But it's not hard to see how following Roe v. Wade, the elevation of abortion beyond taboo and into the forefront of the public consciousness could alter behavior and change incentives, particularly for women.
Following the Roe ruling in 1973, abortions exploded, if only in part because they were better recorded, but married to the development of the pill and the normalization of pursuing careers in the modern sense of the word, women's options and world rapidly changed.
THE COURT IS POLITICAL
It'd be more helpful if we viewed the court through a political lens instead of treating the justices like oracles or precogs in the Minority Report mold—just read a Sotomayor opinion if you're not convinced. If we can take for granted that both sides will jostle to "pack the court" and use it to advance political agendas, then at least we could have an honest discussion about it.
The present court is deliberately targeting the legacy of the Warren court and the activist courts birthed in the years after. You don't need to speculate about this, just look at the recent rulings which are colored by either returning power to the states or supporting religious freedom of expression—the antithesis of Earl Warren's legacy.
It's true that other rulings like Loving v. Virginia which prevented states from banning interracial marriages shared some arguments with Roe v. Wade, but it's also clear that there is no political movement behind such an effort to repeal them. As @CityBureaucrat, mocking the fear, put it, "After Clarence Thomas finishes typing the final sentence in an opinion overturning Loving v. Virginia, he gives his white wife a forlorn glance and remarks — as the theme song to Terminator II rises — 'now there's just one more illegal institution left to overturn.'"
MORE TO COME
- Supreme Court Still Has Big Rulings to Make After Overturning Roe v. Wade (More Info)
- Clarence Thomas signals interest in revisiting media libel standard (More Info)
🅰 GRAPH OF THE DAY: WHO'S WATCHING THE NEWS?
⚔ MISSIVES ⚔
- 👀 Michael C Stenger, who was serving as the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms when the attempted insurrection at the US Capitol broke out on 6 January 2021, passed away on Monday aged 71.
- 🗳 The New York Supreme Court on Monday struck down a recently passed law that allows non-citizens to vote in local elections.
- 📈 A new analysis by The Associated Press of voter registration data found that over 1 million voters shifted toward the Republican Party in the last year across 43 different states.
- 💰 Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange is exploring whether it might be able to acquire Robinhood Markets Inc., according to people with knowledge of the matter.
- 📈 Orders for long-lasting goods and the number of houses going under contract in the U.S. both rose last month, signs that demand is holding up as economic growth slows.
- 🧩 A Taiwan-based company said it plans to build a $5 billion factory in Texas to make silicon wafers used in semiconductors, but the deal hinges on financial incentives bogged down in Congress.
- 🇷🇺 Russia defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time since 1918, pushed into delinquency not for lack of money but because of punishing Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.
THINGS TO DO
You can view our full calendar here to more upcoming shows this week and beyond.
🍺 The Pamphleteer hosts Bar Hours on the third Thursday of every month at Lucky's 3 Star Bar from 6-8 PM. The first ten guests get drinks on the company tab.
🎪 Check out our favorite driving distance festivals this summer.
👨🏻🌾 The Pamphleteer farmer's market guide.
👂 Listen to The Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of the bands featured in this week's calendar.
⚔️ Knights in Armor at the Frist starting July 1st: European arms and armor from the renowned collection of the Museo Stibbert in Florence, Italy.
🎻 The Kruger Brothers @ The Analog, 7p, $30, Info
🎸 Honky Tonk Tuesday @ American Legion Post 82, 5p, Free, Info
+ Two step lessons @ 7p, The Cowpokes @ 8p
🎙 Riley Downing @ Dee's Lounge, 9:30, $10, Info
🎺 Todd Day Wait @ The Underdog, 11:30p, Free, Info
+ Honky Tonk Tuesday afterparty, down the street
Around the Web
ᛏ Fascism is coming to Britain and it's terrifying Alternatively, everyone is just being a bit hysterical
⚙ Heartland Manufacturing Renaissance Why Middle America is poised to lead an industrial comeback
𖼥 Poetry as Life On poetry and what it can do for us
You May Also Like
Words of Wisdom
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring!
Samuel Francis Smith
Today's newsletter is brought to you by Megan Podsiedlik (Nashville), Edward Landstreet (Local Noise), and Davis Hunt (everything else).