FIVE QUESTIONS: Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares

Shaun Kenney | The Republican Standard (TRS)

Whether it is combatting addiction or standing up for freedom, the American Miracle has a fighter in Jason Miyares.

Last week, TRS was able to sit down and talk with Attorney General Jason Miyares (R-VA) about the challenges he is facing from opioid and fentanyl abuse to the FBI Richmond’s targeting of Catholics in the public square.

Miyares — a longstanding conservative in the tradition of Ronald Reagan and a leading thinker in his own right — shares his convictions, his hope for civility over violence, and some discussion on what he rightly calls the American Miracle.

TRS:  So it seems as if some congratulations are in order. Russian President Vladimir Putin has put you on the Russian sanctions list.  What did you do to earn such an esteemed award? 

Miyares:  Yeah, I keep making lists! 

I keep visiting with the Uhygers in Northern Virginia.  I find it interesting but not surprising because we have such a different worldview.  I detest autocracy and tyranny in all forms.  When Putin said that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the single greatest catastrophe of the 20th century, I view that as Ronald Reagan’s greatest victory. 

Yet the reality of any autocratic regime is that ideology trumps the individual.  C.S. Lewis said that of all the tyrannies in the world the tyrannies that are for your benefit are the worst in the world.  Solzhenitsyn writes about this in the Gulag Archipelago. 

Speaking out against tyranny and those who violate individual dignity has been something that has animated me my entire career, and something I have thought about, because when you family flees the only non-democracy in the Western Hemisphere — Venezuela comes awfully close — you have a greater appreciation for what freedom means. 

We have a constitution that limits what the government can do in favor of the individual.   Every other constitution says what government can do; we have a written constitution which says what government cannot do. 

We take that for granted, as if it were as normal as breathing, but it so rare in the experience of human history.  When I talk to students overseas, there are so many who are just as smart and as bright as anyone else, but they can’t achieve their dreams because they lack those freedoms.  When you think that 99% of humanity doesn’t have those freedoms, it’s mindboggling.  It goes back to what I call the American Miracle. 

So I view Putin’s ban as a badge of honor because I love freedom and hate tyranny.  What we see in Cuba and Russia are the opposite, that you have to devote yourself to those who tower over you.  Thomas Jefferson calls freedom a gift from the divine, and that is just a totally different worldview.  I view this as a badge of honor, and I’m surprised to be on this list instead of a few other individuals, but proud to be on it.

TRS:  Speaking of lists, you came in a bit higher on the Loudoun County Love Warriors hit list.  This seems to be an alarming and increasing trend on the political left where the so-called “Summer of Love” in 2020 seems to have encouraged political violence bordering on domestic terrorism. 

For anyone reading this, what encouragement can you give us that this sort of thing isn’t the new normal? 

Miyares:  Well, I do point out that if this is the “love warrior” list then I’d hate to see what the hate warrior list is. 

Any form of political violence is inexcusable.  That’s why I condemn January 6th so vocally as well as anyone burning down police stations in the name of racial equality.  Any form of political violence is abhorrent. 

I think that you have a list at their core which says that they will not tolerate political dissent, preaching tolerance when they are in the minority and then crushing dissent when they are in the majority.  I am about free enterprise and a passionate defender of the ideals which lift people out of poverty and help build a more prosperous America.  It becomes a very slippery slope when we find camps who refuse to engage in the marketplace of ideas, precisely because it degrades the dignity of the individual.  That shows how weak your ideas are if you cannot compete in that marketplace. 

And look — I’m a big believer that civility is not weakness, but it also means that you have to be absolutely firm in your convictions.  When I say I am a Reagan Republican, he knew that civility was not weakness, because I do not believe that anger is a governing principle on the left or the right, nor does it attract people to your side.  It’s just not healthy.  So when I look at these “love warriors” it exposes the flaws of their ideas because they cannot compete in the marketplace of ideas, they simply want to silence dissent.  It goes against everything we believe as a free people and what a free society should look like.

TRS:  Can you shed any light on what the Richmond FBI was thinking by branding Catholics as a domestic terrorist threat?  That seems awfully obtuse… 

Miyares: I don’t think it is the government’s place to question how they talk to God.  If someone wants to attend a Latin Mass?  That’s their right.  I would say that is a misplaced priority of the FBI if people have to ask who is sitting on the back pew and then wondering if they are from the federal government.  There’s a better use of their resources than that. 


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