David French and Conspiratorial Thinking
I really appreciated the first half of this podcast with David French and Curtis Chang.
French is criticizing what he sees as a growing trend among American conservative Christians, that is, a knee-jerk rejection of anything “mainstream” or “liberal” simply because it’s mainstream or liberal.
As French points out, this attitude can clearly be seen in the conservative rejection of vaccines and, more recently, conservatives supporting Putin (or being anti anti-Putin).
I thought the categories they used (cult leader, politician, contrarian, critical thinker, and learner) were a really helpful way to think about this problem.
Their discussion reminded me of an article Brett Salkeld wrote for Word on Fire titled, Faith, Reason, and Conspiracy Theories. There, Salkeld talks about how conspiratorial thinking is ultimately opposed to a Christian understanding of how we come to know what is true.
French is more economically conservative and more anti-woke than I am—we have some real disagreements there—but he’s a serious thinker who has remained consistent to his pro-life and Christian values, even when that consistency has earned him a tremendous amount of criticism from his own tribe. I think he’s a valuable voice to listen to.