Robert Nisbet’s “The Social Group in French Thought”

By |2021-02-24T19:24:01-06:00February 24th, 2021|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Civilization, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Political Philosophy, Politics, Robert Nisbet, Senior Contributors|

In “The Social Group in French Thought,” Robert Nisbet explains that social philosophers such as Bodin, Hobbes, and Rousseau undermined and sabotaged private law and intermediary institutions. Their thought culminated in the French Revolution and in its radical and nationalist legislation. Robert Nisbet’s dissertation began by lamenting that the history of freedom has been written [...]

Rousseau’s and Kant’s Competing Interpretations of the Enlightenment

By |2020-12-15T09:27:57-06:00December 13th, 2020|Categories: Great Books, Immanuel Kant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Philosophy, Political Philosophy|

Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau stand at contrary poles in their assessments of the Enlightenment. As modern citizens grapple with the choice between cosmopolitan integration into the global community and a civic affection for their particular society, they will be forced to confront the arguments advanced by these thinkers almost three centuries ago. Introduction At [...]

Pantheism and Politics

By |2020-11-05T14:26:58-06:00November 9th, 2020|Categories: Government, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Philosophy, Politics, Religion|

Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s insertion of pantheism into politics makes the state into the church and creates a coercive political religion in the service of messianic purposes—as seen during the French Revolution. Overcoming this pantheistic desire for ultimate harmony is an important step in the quest for political rationality. In 1749, a solitary man walked out of [...]

The Original Perversity in the Socialist Heart

By |2020-02-19T00:05:53-06:00February 18th, 2020|Categories: Conservatism, History, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Liberalism, Politics, Socialism|

Socialism’s nuances and ideological subtleties can be latent, unknown, and often unrecognizable. To truly grasp the depth of the socialists’ arguments, we must first look at socialism’s ideological origins—specifically, Jean Rousseau’s invalidation of Original Sin. As socialism ascends in prominence, many of its proponents are open and outspoken with their socialist political positions. These socialist [...]

Rousseau’s Collectivism

By |2020-01-04T14:06:31-06:00January 3rd, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, History, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Philosophy, Politics, Senior Contributors|

“It would be difficult to find anywhere in the history of politics a more powerful and potentially revolutionary doctrine than Rousseau’s theory of the General Will. Power is freedom and freedom is power,” Robert Nisbet argued in his magnum opus, 1953’s Quest for Community. […]

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

By |2020-09-08T15:47:21-05:00May 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 Depression, [...]

Victimology 101: Rousseau, Victimhood, and Safe-Spaces

By |2019-04-06T00:36:24-05:00April 5th, 2019|Categories: Culture War, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Liberalism, Modernity, Politics, Progressivism|

Many liberals maintain that they themselves are victims. Where does this belief come from? And why would anyone want to be a victim? To understand the origins of victimhood, we must understand the work and thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the godfather and patron saint of liberalism… Candace Owens, an African American woman, is a recent [...]

Nature, Science, and Civilization

By |2019-06-10T11:19:01-05:00September 26th, 2018|Categories: Civilization, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Leviathan, Mark Malvasi, Nature, Science, Senior Contributors, Technology, Western Civilization|

At its finest, the new conception of nature enabled people to appreciate, and wish to safeguard, the natural environment on which life depends. At its worst, this reverence for the natural world gave rise to a mindless sentimentality that regarded all human activity as harmful and exploitive. I. The English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North [...]

Liberalism and Liberal Education

By |2021-02-23T15:41:44-06:00August 27th, 2018|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Philosophy, St. John's College|

It is for the soul’s health that we engage in inquiry; right action is the indirect, one might almost say, the unintended, consequence of thinking things through. Indeed, the old understanding of liberal education is that its very liberality consists in its being pursued for its own sake, free from practical purposes—and that this way [...]

Imaginative Origins of Modernity: Life as Daydream & Nightmare

By |2019-02-18T02:20:40-06:00August 26th, 2018|Categories: Claes Ryn, Conservatism, Featured, Imagination, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Modernity, Philosophy, Timeless Essays|

Although modernity contains other and contrasting elements, it may be permissible to call the new type of person simply “modern man.” His demeanor is very different from that of premodern man. Far from discounting the opportunities of a worldly existence, this person entertains great expectations… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers [...]

When Feelings Became Facts: Rousseau, Burke, & Today’s Outrage Culture

By |2018-07-18T00:00:04-05:00July 17th, 2018|Categories: Edmund Burke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Morality, Reason|

Edmund Burke understood that the individual’s own natural reasoning would never be as deep or profound as the wisdom of our ancestors, bequeathed to us through tradition and custom. He believed that looking inwards, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau advocated, would precipitate our demise… On our college campuses, the clashes between liberals and conservatives have grown hostile. [...]

The Moral Imagination & Imaginative Conservatism

By |2021-02-23T15:52:13-06:00July 16th, 2018|Categories: Books, Conservatism, E.B., Edmund Burke, Eva Brann, Imagination, Jane Austen, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Moral Imagination|

Moral imagination runs not incidentally but necessarily in tandem with a certain aspect of conservatism, what I think of as imaginative conservatism. The Moral Imagination: From Edmund Burke to Lionel Trilling, by Gertrude Himmelfarb (259 pages, Ivan R. Dee, 2006) The Moral Imagination is a very engaging collection of a dozen essays on a dozen authors [...]

The Treason of the Clerks

By |2021-04-29T12:59:44-05:00April 15th, 2018|Categories: Books, Edmund Burke, History, Ideology, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Politics, RAK, Russell Kirk|Tags: |

The sorriest aspect of the twentieth century has been the rallying of the intellectuals to the arrogant banner of nationalism, which rejects universal and eternal truth for the sake of national and passing advantage… Thirty years ago, a book was published about which a great many people talk, but which few have really read: La [...]

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