Note from Quin: Yellowhammer News is now under new ownership and new management, with me joining them and writing more about Alabama again (see more on my role below, along with my initial column), with a wonderful editorial team of Pepper and Rachel Bryars. Their statement of purpose is eloquent, and moving. Here are the first paragraphs, but PLEASE READ THE WHOLE THING:

Yellowhammer News promotes and protects what we love – Alabama, and the people and culture that make her great.

From the foothills of the Appalachians to the white sands of the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama is a wonderful place to live, an even better place to raise a family, and a smart place to do business.

Yellowhammer thinks that’s all worth talking about.

But we’re not an ordinary news organization. We’re not here just to tell stories. We’re here to tell stories that connect our state’s conservatives together, to celebrate our successes and learn from our failures, to focus on issues we should consider and to highlight those we cannot ignore.

If you see it posted on Yellowhammer, it’s because our editors and contributors believe it unveils the good, the true, and the beautiful, or unmasks the bad, the false, and the foul. Whatever it may be, it’ll be something you’ll need to know.

While doing so, our experienced and insightful team will offer thoughtful commentary, sharp analysis and meaningful stories that we collect, develop and share from the principled conservative perspective that you’ve been looking for.

Among those principles are:

— Recognition of an enduring moral order, the sense of right and wrong that has built modern society.

— Adherence to time-tested traditions that give us our shared identity and have shaped our culture.

….

— Recognition that often tradition and change must be reconciled, keeping that which is proven while accepting that which improves…. [and much more!]

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Pepper and Rachel were kind enough to announce my new role with them in this article.

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Finally, here is my first column, giving a sense of what to expect from me at Yellowhammer:

Ruffling feathers and kicking ‘Mules,’ by Quin

Alabama’s governing systems are a collective mess.

Many of my columns here at Yellowhammer will detail that mess – or those messes – and unflinchingly will advocate reforms, no matter whose toes get stomped or whose power bases get challenged.

I write as a lifelong, committed Madisonian conservative. Put the stress on “Madisonian,” which means I promote a philosophy, not an ideology. (For the difference, please read Eric HofferRichard Weaver, and C.S. Lewis, among others, and also please review the actual practices of Ronald Reagan.) This means that while principles endure, mere opinions must be based in facts – and those opinions ought to be modifiable, at least at the edges, by empirical evidence.

As I wrote in an essay for a college publication more than 30 years ago, “such a conservatism is open both to question and to questing, to discussion without repercussion, not because it feels it is wrong but because it always strives to be more right.”

Within those parameters, though, opinions can still be both strong and strongly expressed. After nearly two decades of covering Alabama stories, I enter this new forum with the following opinions that, while open to further review, are currently quite strong.

First, Alabama’s state Constitution may be the worst such document in American history. Convoluted, complicated, counterproductive, and absurdly long, it desperately needs major revision and simplification. Indeed, if it were practical, Alabamans should trash the whole thing and start over, but as a practical man I accept that is an unlikely undertaking.

Second, Alabama’s government is far too centralized rather than open to local innovations, which makes it both ossified and much more easily corruptible. It also allows a small number of groups – often known as the “Big Mules” – to wield inordinate power. Now, sometimes they happen to wield it for good purposes. But if they don’t, they should be taken down a peg or two hundred.

Third, even hard-line conservatives should recognize that many solemn obligations of state government are seriously underfunded here…..

[To repeat, my full column is here.]

 

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