I know readers have been refreshing the site regularly to see what has happened with our “Book Give-away: Kittelstrom edition.”
I’ve been delayed in a lot of things, since I was sick for most of last week. But, fear not, we’ll get to Kittelstrom by the end of this post.
One exciting happening last week came as I was asked to contribute a guest post to the Anxious Bench blog. The Anxious Bench is a great collection of writers who address (broadly-speaking) religion in American history. I took the opportunity to write about a topic that I only mentioned in Patriotism and Piety–the fact that Alexander Hamilton in 1802 had called for a “Christian Constitutional Society.” Even though I don’t think Hamilton was overly serious about the endeavor, I think he was influenced by other Federalists who were very much concerned about both those categories–the very people who show up in Patriotism and Piety. So, let me definitely encourage you to go to “The Anxious Bench” and read about “Alexander Hamilton’s Christian Constitutional Society.”
I was also pleased to see that the piece got picked up by historian John Fea as part of his “Sunday Night Odds and Ends.”
Ah, but back to Kittelstrom. I had asked readers to define American liberalism. As another correspondent, JW, told me, this was about as difficult a question as could be posed. With an evil laugh, I agreed.
We had two solid entries. Reader Jamie emphasized liberalism’s opposition to inequality, which is true and could be developed out in interesting ways. By contrast, Reader TJ put two elements into his definition. He pointed out that liberalism claims to seek corporate flourishing, but the way it does so is by placing the individual at the center of the story. Both elements seem to me correct, and I think could be read all the way back to Locke’s 2nd Treatise. So, after much agonizing, I will be sending the Kittelstrom book to Reader TJ!
I’ll hope to have some future updates here shortly.