Democracy

The Spontaneous Disorder of Kansas-Nebraska

By |2019-11-22T11:38:12-06:00November 19th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Civil War, Democracy, History|

Stephen Douglas’s faith that democratic self-government on the American frontier would create a spontaneous order of lawful and virtuous communities, especially in the face of divisive issues like slavery, was disastrously misplaced and played a significant role in starting the Civil War. The Kansas-Nebraska Act passed 165 years ago this past spring, and as cannons [...]

The Totalitarian Temptation in the Groves of Academe

By |2019-11-21T19:44:16-06:00November 13th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Communism, David Deavel, Democracy, Liberalism, Politics, Senior Contributors|

Ryszard Legutko gained fame this spring when he was informed by Middlebury College’s president that his lecture was canceled. Though 40 brave students gathered to hear Prof. Legutko speak in a classroom, the irony was that the episode confirmed his very point that liberal democratic societies have become in many ways just as barbarous and [...]

Seeing the West as a Millstone: Sketches of Solzhenitsyn in Exile

By |2019-11-21T19:44:18-06:00October 16th, 2019|Categories: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Conservatism, Democracy, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Political Philosophy, Politics, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

“Sketches of Exile” is a real gift for those who admire Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, enabling us to see his first years of exile, in Switzerland and the United States, through his eyes. We should be grateful for these sketches and the insight they offer, as well as for their glimpses of the lovable man behind the [...]

China is Fighting for Its Life—and Its Soul

By |2019-09-26T14:05:16-06:00September 28th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Civilization, Communism, Democracy, Foreign Affairs, Politics|

Today, China has entered a period of general crisis. It was brought about not merely by slow economic growth and its attendant problems, but by a total upheaval touching every aspect of life in the Middle Kingdom: economic and political, intellectual and religious. Mark this date on your calendar: November 19, 2023. This date would [...]

Why American Democracy Is Worth Defending

By |2019-11-21T19:44:19-06:00August 18th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Declaration of Independence, Democracy, Government, Liberty, Politics|

What is American democracy, and why is it worth defending? The current political climate, in which democracy is increasingly (and troublingly) equated with populism, compels us to reflect on this question. Democracy is an ancient form of government, but historically, democracies that rise above mere mob rule and reflect genuine self-governance, while respecting basic [...]

The Horrors of Modern Public Opinion

By |2019-08-16T23:25:25-06:00August 16th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christopher Dawson, Democracy, Fascism, Government, Politics, Senior Contributors, War, World War II|

Christopher Dawson believed that the free peoples of the Allied Powers in World War II had become too accustomed to employing scientifically-formed propaganda to create public opinion: “Public opinion can itself be the greatest enemy of freedom, as well as of peace, as soon as it becomes dominated by the negative destructive forces of [...]

Critiquing Robert Kagan’s Enlightenment Liberalism

By |2019-10-30T12:06:44-06:00May 6th, 2019|Categories: Conservatism, Democracy, Donald Trump, Liberalism, Natural Rights Tradition, Politics, Tyranny|

While Robert Kagan basically dismisses church and community in the development of liberalism, can there be any sadder but more important concession than his own admission that “liberalism has no particular answer” for what can legitimize its rights? An essay is meant to be very, very important when it consumes four giant pages in [...]

The Ethical Center of American Constitutionalism

By |2019-11-21T19:44:24-06:00March 24th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Constitution, Democracy, Federalist Papers, Modernity, Timeless Essays|

The direction that constitutional practice has taken in the past hundred years shows that the Framers’ conception of republican government has passed and the era of populist democracy has arrived. The underlying transformation of the unwritten constitution renders efforts to return to the Framers’ original intent problematic. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series [...]

Progressivism and Democracy

By |2019-11-21T19:44:25-06:00March 10th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Capitalism, Defining America Series, Democracy, Economics, History, Mark Malvasi, Politics, Senior Contributors|

Could democratic government solve, or even effectively address, the problems of a modern society? For decades, this question vexed Progressive reformers as they navigated the transformation of the United States from a country of small farms and rural communities to a nation of factories, corporations, and cities. Before the Civil War, Americans never doubted [...]

Public Opinion in James Bryce’s “The American Commonwealth”

By |2019-11-21T19:44:26-06:00February 7th, 2019|Categories: Books, Community, Democracy, James Bryce, Political Philosophy|

We see that the creation of one’s own opinions is to a large degree a community affair. According to James Bryce, the individual has a powerful role in crafting a nation’s political discourse, but can only be involved in doing so if they act in concert with others. This neither denies the possibility of conflicting [...]

Franklin Pierce, Political Protest, & the Dilemmas of Democracy

By |2019-11-21T19:44:28-06:00January 8th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Christianity, Civil Society, Civilization, Constitution, Democracy, Government, History, Ordered Liberty, Political Philosophy, Religion|

Franklin Pierce’s suspicions reflected a tension within the antebellum Democratic Party in relation to slavery—how can we reconcile an advocacy of democratic decision-making with the existence of transcendent moral values, the Constitution with the Bible? On the stump in New Boston, New Hampshire in early January 1852, Franklin Pierce gave a long oration during [...]

Versailles at 100

By |2019-11-21T19:44:29-06:00January 1st, 2019|Categories: Civilization, Democracy, Europe, History, Mark Malvasi, Nationalism, Senior Contributors, War, Western Civilization, Woodrow Wilson, World War I, World War II|

The Great War, in Woodrow Wilson’s view, had to become precisely what the delegates to the Congress of Vienna feared: a moral crusade, an instrument of social and political revolution… For American president Woodrow Wilson, the First World War was the “war to end all wars” by making “the world safe for democracy,” not [...]

Understanding Voegelin’s Critique of Locke

By |2019-11-21T19:44:32-06:00November 30th, 2018|Categories: American Republic, Books, Democracy, Eric Voegelin, John Locke, Philosophy, Political Philosophy|

No matter how conservative intellectuals try, they just do not seem able to escape John Locke. Jonah Goldberg’s well-received Suicide of the West proudly called America’s Declaration of Independence “echoes of” the great English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke, saying U.S. history was “more Locke than anything Locke imagined.”  He inspired “a government but not a state”: a government with power [...]