Political Philosophy

Orestes Brownson’s New England and the Unwritten Constitution

By |2019-05-20T10:01:09-05:00May 19th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Civil Society, Constitution, Culture, History, Political Philosophy, Politics, Timeless Essays|

Orestes Brownson so esteemed New England people, customs, and institutions that they dominated his writings and fit at the heart of his political ideas. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Michael J. Connolly, as he considers the political thought of Orestes Brownson. —W. Winston Elliott, Publisher [...]

A Brief Summary of Traditionalism

By |2019-03-07T16:19:47-05:00March 21st, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Civil Society, Government, Political Philosophy, Rights, Tradition|

The fundamental Traditionalist principle is that truth, which includes morality, is both knowable and unchanging. But is a traditionalist society possible in today’s day and age? The best way, I have found, to sum up my own views of society and politics is to call myself a Traditionalist. I was rather surprised to learn [...]

The Hobbes-Bramhall Debate on Liberty and Necessity

By |2019-08-15T12:27:06-05:00February 28th, 2019|Categories: Civil Society, Government, Leviathan, Monarchy, Political Philosophy, Politics, Western Civilization|

Despite their contrasting metaphysics, Thomas Hobbes and John Bramhall were Royalist supporters during the English Civil War. Both men believed that monarchy was the best form of government despite their opposing perceptions of liberty. If philosophy influences politics, why then would two thinkers’ opposing philosophical views result in support for the same form of [...]

The Dangers of Russophobia

By |2019-02-27T13:37:45-05:00February 24th, 2019|Categories: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Character, Communism, Government, Joseph Pearce, Political Philosophy, Politics, Russia, Senior Contributors|

We should not confuse or conflate Russian President Vladimir Putin with Soviet leaders, such as Josef Stalin. They are as different as the proverbial chalk and cheese. Nowhere is this more evident than the way in which Mr. Putin has shown himself to be a great admirer of the anti-Soviet dissident, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Special [...]

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

By |2019-08-15T15:09:54-05:00February 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 |2019-01-08T23:01:25-05:00January 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 [...]

An Introduction to Conservatism for “Well-Meaning Liberals”

By |2019-06-13T11:53:00-05:00December 18th, 2018|Categories: Books, Conservatism, Economics, Government, Natural Rights Tradition, Political Philosophy, Senior Contributors, Thomas R. Ascik, Western Civilization|

Instead of considering contemporary political issues, or politicians, Roger Scruton attempts to rebuild conservatism by looking seriously at its past… Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition, by Roger Scruton (176 pages, All Points Books, 2018) In his Conservatism, An Introduction to the Great Tradition (2017), long-time Anglo-American conservative champion and author Sir Roger Scruton [...]

Leo Strauss vs. Edmund Burke

By |2019-07-30T15:56:42-05:00December 3rd, 2018|Categories: Books, Edmund Burke, History, Leo Strauss, Nature, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Reason, Truth|

What ought to take primacy when carrying out research and interpreting seminal books: the text itself, or the context? A known critic of historicism and contextualism, Leo Strauss published his seminal essay, ‘What is Political Philosophy?’ in 1957 in the Journal of Politics and introduced a problem with the field: Modern academic obsessions over [...]

Understanding Voegelin’s Critique of Locke

By |2019-06-13T11:51:55-05:00November 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 [...]

A Backwards Civilization: Unthinking Leaders, Frenzied Citizens

By |2019-05-30T12:10:43-05:00November 27th, 2018|Categories: Civil Society, Civilization, Democracy, Featured, Meno, Modernity, Plato, Political Philosophy, Politics, Socrates|

In America today, we are living in a toxic political climate that is the product of a very dangerous combination: Our rulers lack the learning necessary to ask the kinds of deep and fundamental questions that leaders and lawgivers ought to make a habit of pondering, while our people rebelliously scrutinize all orthodoxies and [...]

Virtue and the City

By |2019-02-18T02:41:53-05:00November 18th, 2018|Categories: Aristotle, Cicero, Featured, Great Books, Paul Krause, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Timeless Essays|

Virtue is what the good city aims to achieve as part of the common good. Since humans are social animals and creatures of actions, the call to cultivate virtue within civil society is a fundamental aspect of the good society and the good regime... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the [...]

The Virtue of Nationalism

By |2019-08-15T11:49:24-05:00October 29th, 2018|Categories: Books, History, Nationalism, Political Philosophy, Politics|

The Virtue of Nationalism, by Yoram Hazony (305 pages, Basic Books, 2018) Yoram Hazony’s The Virtue of Nationalism has the great virtue of an easy summary... well, a reasonably easy one. The first sentence presents the author’s thesis that the world is composed of two “antithetical” types of government: universalist empires and free nation-states. There were earlier [...]

The Road to Unfreedom

By |2019-06-27T10:39:31-05:00October 10th, 2018|Categories: American Republic, Benjamin Lockerd, Books, Government, Ideology, Political Philosophy, Senior Contributors|

After the shock of the 2016 election, liberals got a civics lesson on the electoral college established by the Constitution, and they didn’t like it. In his new book, Timothy Snyder speaks for them in bemoaning the fact that the founders created not a direct democracy but a republic... The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America, by [...]

Brett Kavanaugh and Originalism

By |2018-10-09T15:53:15-05:00October 9th, 2018|Categories: Congress, Justice, Political Philosophy, Politics, Supreme Court|

Even before the spectacle of Christine Balsey Ford's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the hearing for President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, was characterized not by political acumen, wit, cunning, or prudence, but by partisan obstruction, lawlessness, tantrums, hysteria, ignorance, frenzy, and anger. Protestors screamed vulgarities and trite slogans, proving [...]