Leviathan, Inc.: Robert Nisbet & the Modern Nation-State

By |2019-05-05T22:21:55-05:00May 5th, 2019|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Robert Nisbet, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

Robert Nisbet feared that modern totalitarians had succeeded in undermining the very foundations of goodness, truth, and morality. They had not only redefined liberty as power, but they had transformed the modern political state into a secular church, exchanging real religion for civic religion, creating a “New Leviathan.” Like most Americans during the Great [...]

Is America Devolving into Soft Totalitarianism?

By |2018-09-09T22:15:48-05:00September 9th, 2018|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Bruce Frohnen, Democracy, Democracy in America, Free Speech, Politics, Timeless Essays|

Soft totalitarianism aims to destroy communities and undermine the character of the people. The next stage in human degradation is mere savagery... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Bruce Frohnen as he explores whether or not present-day America has fallen into soft totalitarianism. —W. Winston Elliott III, [...]

The Quest for Modern Conservatism

By |2019-04-04T12:04:08-05:00January 28th, 2018|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Bradley J. Birzer, Community, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, History, Robert Nisbet, Russell Kirk|

The job of every conservative is twofold: First, he must fight tirelessly against the centralized, unitary state; second, he must do everything possible to promote that which makes the free society not just an ordered one, but a good one… Prior to the publication of Russell Kirk’s masterful The Conservative Mind in 1953, no [...]

Not One of Us: Immigration, Equality, & the Common Good

By |2019-07-10T23:22:29-05:00January 16th, 2018|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Founding, Christianity, Conservatism, Democracy, Equality, Freedom of Religion, George Stanciu, History, St. John's College|

God unequally bestows gifts to us that are to be used for the common good. The wise can guide others; the well-organized can administer businesses that provide employment; the strong can protect the weak. With such an understanding, equality and a hierarchical social structure are not incompatible, but complement each other… My three children [...]

The Three Big Questions

By |2019-07-10T23:22:43-05:00November 18th, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Aristotle, Art, Civil Society, Community, Culture, George Stanciu, Modernity, Religion, Science, St. Thomas Aquinas|

Members of democratic nations, especially Americans, have almost unlimited personal freedom because the constraints of class, local communities, and family have been greatly weakened. But we are also free to choose to step off the consumer treadmill, refuse to seek material success for us alone, and attempt to serve others, materially, emotionally, and spiritually… [...]

Is a “Liberal Conservative” an Oxymoron?

By |2018-06-21T20:35:16-05:00November 1st, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Conservatism, Featured, Freedom, Gleaves Whitney, History, Liberalism, Liberty, Politics, Russell Kirk, Stephen Tonsor series, The Conservative Mind|

The liberal conservative must be discerning. For he believes in freedom as well as in order. He believes in individualism as well as in community. He believes in the equality of all men as well as in hierarchy, natural aristocracy, and excellence… Stephen Tonsor (left) and Russell Kirk in 1977 After the [...]

Cultural Obstacles to Dialogue

By |2019-07-10T23:22:48-05:00October 24th, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Culture, Featured, George Stanciu, Socrates|

To engage in dialogue, we must be good listeners, seeking to hear an insight, perhaps fuzzily formulated and unclear even to the speaker, but nevertheless worthy of exploration… Every culture has its own conversational style that often inhibits genuine dialogue. In Japan, for instance, the division of scholars and scientists at universities and research [...]

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 [...]

Conserving America: On the Recovery of Political Theory

By |2017-08-22T07:53:06-05:00May 23rd, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Founding, American Republic, Books, Conservation, Featured, Philosophy|

The recovery of political theory is necessary for American political life, for without it, our love of our country may be on unstable grounds. There is nothing more natural, wholesome, and genuinely conservative than to love those places we are from, even with—and perhaps especially because of—all their imperfections…  Conserving America? Essays on Present [...]

Russell Kirk on the Variety and Mystery of Human Existence

By |2017-05-12T09:10:37-05:00May 10th, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Founding, Edmund Burke, John Adams, Russell Kirk, Ted McAllister, The Conservative Mind, Tradition|Tags: |

Too often the public conversation about universal truths divides along rather sterile ideological lines. Russell Kirk’s great warning is that this is not really a battle of ideas, understood abstractly, but a battle of sentiments or affections… Since the nation’s founding, a salutary tension has informed American political thought—a tension between the abstract, universal [...]

Is America Devolving into Soft Totalitarianism?

By |2017-07-12T10:04:12-05:00April 30th, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Bruce Frohnen, Democracy, Democracy in America, Featured, Free Speech, Politics|

Soft totalitarianism aims to destroy communities and undermine the character of the people. The next stage in human degradation is mere savagery… What should a democratic people fear in their leaders? That depends on the character of the people. When the great French philosopher and statesman Alexis de Tocqueville considered the character of the [...]

Our Post-Truth Society: Dooming Democracy?

By |2019-07-10T23:23:16-05:00April 10th, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Donald Trump, Featured, George Stanciu, Politics, Presidency, St. John's College, Technology, Truth|

In the post-truth society, your facts are not my facts, and lies by political figures are greeted with indifference. Judged by past standards, citizens of a post-truth society have no real experience and no capacity for critical thinking… We Americans have virtually no interest in history; for us, the past pales in comparison with [...]

Tyranny in American Political Discourse

By |2017-07-08T07:44:39-05:00April 2nd, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Republic, Aristotle, Democracy in America, Featured, Plato, Russell Kirk, Timeless Essays|

There is a strong case to be made that the United States is creeping ever closer to tyranny. For if the rule of law is undermined, political rule will then be, by definition, tyrannical… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Shaun Rieley as he explores the meaning [...]