Is America Devolving into Soft Totalitarianism?

By |2020-04-16T08:23:27-05:00April 30th, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Bruce Frohnen, Democracy, Democracy in America, Featured, Free Speech, Politics|

Alexis de Tocqueville believed that Americans had cause to fear in their leaders, not “tyrants, but rather tutors.” Democratic individualism would cause men to pursue vulgar pleasures and material well-being. Such men would surrender their self-government and even their self-will, and society would eventually devolve into mere savagery. What should a democratic people fear [...]

Our Post-Truth Society: Dooming Democracy?

By |2019-10-30T12:32:35-05:00April 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 |2019-11-21T11:15:54-06:00April 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 [...]

The Fetters of “Free Thought”

By |2019-09-19T12:05:27-05:00March 19th, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Culture, Democracy in America, Featured, Freedom, George Stanciu, Philosophy, St. John's College|

Since American culture tells us that all individuals are equal and that we can recognize the truth just as well as the next person, we think that we have no need to seek guidance from others, even acknowledged masters… We Americans so firmly believe that each one of us has freely chosen our own [...]

How Modernity Diminishes the Human Person

By |2019-11-26T12:14:49-06:00January 29th, 2017|Categories: Adam Smith, Alexis de Tocqueville, Apple, Capitalism, Community, Democracy, Democracy in America, Featured, George Stanciu, St. John's College, Technology|

Because of the strong secular faith instilled in us by education, most of us trust that science and technology, democracy, and capitalism, the three legs of Modernity, can bring about only good ends and fail to see that these three triumphs of humankind can diminish the human person… With the publication of the book [...]

Remembering Alexis de Tocqueville

By |2017-02-21T09:43:24-06:00January 15th, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy, Democracy in America, Featured, Timeless Essays, Tyranny|

The rule of democratic tyranny, Tocqueville held, “reduces each nation to nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd”… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Patrick Deneen as he traces Alexis de Tocqueville’s argument concerning the American tendency towards [...]

The Federal Idea

By |2019-03-11T14:08:31-05:00November 27th, 2016|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Featured, Federalist Papers, Timeless Essays, Wilfred McClay|

If we can begin to understand the sense of federalism as an idea rather than a fixed set of immutable relations, and moreover as an idea that is designed to balance and reconcile the competing claims of competing goods, then our debates over the promise of federalism may take on a new vitality and plausibility… Today’s offering [...]

Our Age of Anxiety: Surviving Political Realignment

By |2016-12-28T07:45:18-06:00October 17th, 2016|Categories: Democracy, Democracy in America, Featured, Gleaves Whitney, Information Age, Politics, Presidency, Technology|

In 2016 Americans are feeling anxious. It’s not that we are experiencing crises—we are neither in total war nor economic depression. Yet 2016 has forced us to rethink all we thought we knew. A Socialist made a credible run for the Democratic nomination and succeeded in moving the Democratic Party platform farther left than [...]

Edmund Burke & the Duties of Generations

By |2016-12-29T19:11:15-06:00September 12th, 2016|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Democracy in America, Edmund Burke, Edmund Burke series by Bradley Birzer, Featured, History|

In the first essay of this series, I discussed the three things that one must know about Edmund Burke in order to understand the cohesiveness of his vision, a vision which spanned his adult life. While he developed this vision, he never radically altered it, as many of his opponents claims. These opponents simply could not understand [...]

Nihilism, American-Style

By |2019-07-10T23:24:30-05:00August 14th, 2016|Categories: Democracy in America, Featured, George Stanciu, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, St. John's College|

Old-World nihilism belongs to a handful of intellectuals persuaded by philosophical arguments that human knowledge, on the whole, is worthless as a reliable guide for living. Consider Heinrich von Kleist, the nineteenth century dramatist and short-story writer, who became intellectually unglued when he read Immanuel Kant’s The Critique of Pure Reason. In a letter [...]

What Would Tocqueville Think of Trump?

By |2016-07-28T22:20:15-05:00July 28th, 2016|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Donald Trump, Politics, Tyranny|

"I am convinced that the most advantageous situation and the best possible laws cannot maintain a constitution in spite of the manners of a country; whilst the latter may turn to some advantage the most unfavorable positions and the worst laws. The importance of manners is a common truth to which study and experience incessantly [...]

“The Conservative Mind”: An Act of Recovery?

By |2020-05-10T20:49:45-05:00July 10th, 2016|Categories: Conservatism, Democracy in America, Edmund Burke, Featured, Russell Kirk, Ted McAllister, The Conservative Mind, Timeless Essays|

Russell Kirk’s greatest gift to American political thought is his brilliant articulation and cultivation of a rich cultural patrimony that helps define the meaning of our most cherished ideals from within a context that is both historically textured and open to the transcendental. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity [...]

Is Equality Greater than Freedom?

By |2019-07-30T14:07:13-05:00July 29th, 2015|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Great Books|

Democracy in America Book 2. Influence of Democracy on the Feelings of Americans Chapter I: Why Democratic Nations Show a More Ardent and Enduring Love of Equality than of Liberty The first and most intense passion which is engendered by the equality of conditions is, I need hardly say, the love of that same equality. [...]

A Reading of the Gettysburg Address

By |2019-11-14T12:02:16-06:00March 17th, 2015|Categories: Abraham Lincoln, Alexis de Tocqueville, Civil War, Declaration of Independence, Democracy in America, E.B., Eva Brann, St. John's College|

Liberal education ought to be less a matter of becoming well read than a matter of learning to read well, of acquiring arts of awareness, the interpretative or “trivial” arts. Some works, written by men who are productive masters of these arts, are exemplary for their interpretative application. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is such a [...]