Alexis de Tocqueville

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 |2019-09-19T12:05:27-06:00March 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 [...]

The Conservative Conspiracy of the 1950s

By |2017-01-19T12:32:02-06:00January 18th, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Bradley J. Birzer, Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors|

That most overrated academic fop of the twentieth century, Peter Gay, spent a considerable amount of time and vitriol in the 1950s taking swipes at Russell Kirk, believing the duke of Mecosta a superficial romantic stuck in the past, fighting for the most worthless and transient of causes. In 1961, he finally wrote something [...]

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 [...]

Reclaiming Our Constitutional Heritage

By |2017-01-28T12:41:01-06:00January 10th, 2017|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Founding, Books, Featured, Ordered Liberty, Ted McAllister|

The so-called American Revolution was a rebellion to preserve and reinstitute long-established liberties and to develop a system of governance that put those liberties on a more secure foundation. We might even think of the “Revolution” as a rebellion that prevented or postponed a revolution… By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission by Charles Murray [...]

The Federal Idea

By |2019-03-11T14:08:31-06:00November 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 [...]

Individualism: The Root Error of Modernity

By |2019-07-10T23:23:59-06:00November 7th, 2016|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Republic, Family, Featured, George Stanciu, Modernity, Philosophy, St. John's College|

Alexis de Tocqueville, while traveling through the dense woods in Michigan, in 1831, came across a pioneer and his family, making the “first step toward civilization in the wilds.”[1] He noted in his travel diary that “from time to time along the road one comes to new clearings. As all these settlements are exactly [...]

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 [...]

Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society

By |2017-03-02T22:20:10-06:00October 1st, 2016|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Books, Christianity, Civil Society, Featured|

In 1939, as the storm clouds of World War II were gathering in Europe, famed modernist-poet-turned-Anglo-Catholic, T.S. Eliot, penned an essay entitled “The Idea of a Christian Society,” in which he lays out a vision of a Christian society over and against the powerful totalitarian ideologies of communism and fascism. Eliot, however, is careful [...]

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 [...]

Back to First Principles: Re-Thinking Edmund Burke

By |2016-12-29T19:13:00-06:00September 5th, 2016|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Edmund Burke series by Bradley Birzer, Featured|

One the things that Robert Nisbet made perfectly clear in the 1950s is that we could never understand the West and the new Western character under democracy and democratic influences without understanding the nuanced and complex thought of Alexis de Tocqueville. One of the things that Russell Kirk made perfectly clear in the 1950s, [...]

What Constitutes the Common Heritage of America & Europe?

By |2019-08-07T00:18:01-06:00August 20th, 2016|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Education, Featured, Great Books, History, Politics, RAK, Russell Kirk, Tradition|

“Western civilization,” “North Atlantic community,” “the unity of the free world”—such phrases are employed nowadays by our publicists and our politicians so frequently and loosely that, to a good many of us in America, the words have ceased to signify much. Yet the United States of America is engaged in a tremendous defense of [...]

Nihilism, American-Style

By |2019-07-10T23:24:30-06:00August 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 [...]