Our Enemy: The (Imperial) Presidency

By |2021-01-29T18:42:37-06:00November 5th, 2018|Categories: Books, Civil Society, Democracy, Featured, Federalism, Government, Libertarianism, New Deal, Paul Krause, Presidency, Senior Contributors|

Many Americans fear the dysfunction in Congress and the rise of an “activist” Supreme Court. Both worries are misplaced, at least in relationship to the larger problem at hand: the growth of presidential imperialism. Albert Jay Nock was an important literary and social critic of the first-half of the twentieth century. Part scholar, part pundit, [...]

The Other Founders: The Legacy of Anti-Federalism

By |2019-10-16T13:18:43-05:00November 1st, 2018|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Books, Constitution, Democracy, Featured, Federalism, John Taylor of Caroline|

To a very great extent, it was the Anti-Federalists, through their rhetoric and writings, who kept alive the spirit of localism and salvaged the great ideal of limited government inherited from the Revolution... The Other Founders: Anti-Federalism and the Dissenting Tradition in America, 1788-1828 by Saul Cornell (University of North Carolina Press, 1999) The Anti-Federalists who [...]

A Popular Defense of Our Undemocratic Constitution

By |2020-03-03T17:23:15-06:00October 28th, 2018|Categories: American Republic, Constitution, Democracy, Electoral College, Federalism, Federalist Papers, Wyoming Catholic College|

If we consider the Founders’ arguments for the Constitution, we find not only that they intended it to be undemocratic, but that they would defend even its most undemocratic elements on “popular” grounds. What might appear to the partisans of democracy today as outdated roadblocks to efficient government are for the Founders politically salutary forms [...]

The Revolutionary Conservatism of Jefferson & Small Republics

By |2021-04-29T12:01:41-05:00October 29th, 2017|Categories: Agrarianism, American Founding, American Republic, Community, Featured, Federalism, Thomas Jefferson, Timeless Essays|

Americans have tried the Hamiltonian experiment of centralized government, usury, and gigantism long enough. Surely it is time, somewhere, for the Jeffersonian vision to begin to reappear. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Arthur J. Versluis as he explores the Jeffersonian vision for America and how we may [...]

Ideas and American Politics

By |2019-04-30T15:07:09-05:00August 6th, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Republic, Democracy, Featured, Federalism, Mark Malvasi, Politics, Populism, Progressivism, Senior Contributors|

The fear and suspicion of ideas and intellect rest on historical foundations buried deep in the American consciousness. Many Americans, in fact, have long disparaged the life of the mind, and populist democracy has increasingly required an appeal to vulgarity and ignorance… The mistrust of ideas and intellect that has long prevailed among a substantial [...]

Misunderstanding John C. Calhoun’s Federalism

By |2019-04-30T16:47:09-05:00February 15th, 2017|Categories: Constitution, Electoral College, Featured, Federalism, History, John C. Calhoun|

Far from feeding disunion, John C. Calhoun understood that a more perfect Union listened to the representative voices of the states, rather than the despotic voice of the “nation” represented in the federal Congress… I recently read two essays: one bemoaning the electoral college, and another explaining that Yale University was considering renaming Calhoun College. [...]

Marshall vs. Jefferson: Then and Now

By |2020-07-01T13:31:27-05:00December 25th, 2016|Categories: American Republic, Constitution, Featured, Federalism, John Marshall, Politics, Thomas Jefferson, Timeless Essays|

In sharp contrast to John Marshall’s elitist orientation—with its em­phasis on the primacy of the national government, and restraint of the excesses of democracy—Thomas Jefferson’s philosophy was at once populistic and highly individualistic. Throughout the first decade of the American republic, competing claims regarding the proper interpretation of the Constitution and the application of its [...]

Constitutional Drift and the Challenge of Self-Governance

By |2020-08-31T01:04:07-05:00December 16th, 2015|Categories: Alexander Hamilton, Constitution, Featured, Federalism|

The rise of the bureaucratic-managerial state was a de facto constitutional revision, although the Constitution was never formally amended to reflect the changing nature of American governance. The result of this "constitutional drift" was a Machiavellian illusion covering the gap between political form and political substance. There is no such thing as a finished constitution. [...]

Communitarianism and the Federal Idea

By |2021-05-05T13:17:38-05:00May 4th, 2015|Categories: American Founding, Community, Featured, Federalism, St. John's College, Wilfred McClay|Tags: |

The communitarian movement has arisen as an effort to address the evident and growing deficiencies of modern liberalism, which seems unable to think beyond the sovereign autonomy of rights-bearing individuals. But communitarianism has considerable deficiencies of its own. In particular, there is its propensity to use the language of “community” as a form of mood [...]

God Bless This Stress

By |2014-03-28T15:47:07-05:00January 30th, 2013|Categories: American Founding, Books, Constitution, Federalism, Free Markets|Tags: |

The human body needs some stressors, and everything organic and complex communicates with the environment via stressors.—Nassim Nicholas Taleb Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, is back with a new book: Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder. He recently sat down with Reason’s Nick Gillespie for an interview. Taleb makes [...]

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