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When I first came across Adrian Vermeule’s obscure article titled Conspiracy Theories, coauthored with Cass Sunstein, I had never heard of him. He writes for the big leagues now, as a chaired professor at Harvard Law School. You write long essays about public morality and authority for The Atlantic.

Power should never serve morality, any more than morality should serve power.

Who wants to argue against morality in our public life? Who will say no, I think our public life is better when it is immoral? Yet you want to give the state power to impose moral thought and behavior on everyone? That’s probably the most immoral proposal I have ever heard. Power should never serve morality, any more than morality should serve power. These two realms of human life do not mix, no matter how much we want powerful people to be good, or how dearly we would like to see good people wield power.

That reasoning recalls the Devil’s seduction in C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters. How did Adrian Vermeule come to think this way?

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