Sixteenth-century French theologians do not usually make an appearance in twenty-first century political press conferences. But earlier this August, Governor Ron DeSantis introduced Andrew Bain as a new Florida state attorney. After briefly thanking the governor and those who’d helped him get to this point, Bain said, “For me, this is the place where John Calvin’s second purpose of the law came to life.” He then summarized Calvin’s idea, that the law is a restraint on evil. Though it cannot, in and of itself, change people’s hearts, it can protect the righteous from the unjust.
T.S. Eliot noted that our theories of education say something about our views about culture and humanity. So do our ideas about the law. Too many politicians act as if passing a law will remake the human condition. It won’t, which is why it’s refreshing to see a public servant grounded in better ideas.
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