Let Us Shun Imperialism, Always and Everywhere

By |2020-04-14T15:44:45-05:00April 14th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, History, Political Philosophy, Politics, Senior Contributors|

Let me begin this essay by simply throwing down the gauntlet. American imperialists—of whatever political persuasion or ideology—are not only traitors to the American cause and in violation of the deepest meanings and profundities of the American ideal, they are also embracing demonic goals of remaking the world in their own image, thus trampling [...]

George Santayana and the Ironies of Liberalism

By |2020-04-06T12:07:25-05:00April 7th, 2020|Categories: Conservatism, Liberalism, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics|

The question—is liberalism a self-defeating enterprise?—has gained traction over the last couple of years. Even as far back as 1921, the Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana dedicated time to this topic in the form of an essay he titled “The Irony of Liberalism.” In this brief work, Santayana explored prevalent themes that emerged throughout liberalism’s [...]

Harrington’s Cake: Institutions, Power, and Virtue

By |2020-04-07T19:31:46-05:00April 7th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Congress, Government, Political Philosophy, Politics|

James Harrington insists on the possibility of an empire of laws. The claim that institutional arrangements can force self-interested behavior to serve the common interest underlies the system of separated powers and checks and balances central to the American constitutional order. But is he right? Can this theory of “dividing-and-choosing” give us confidence? “Two [...]

Eric Voegelin, Conservative?

By |2020-03-20T12:25:49-05:00March 20th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Eric Voegelin, Political Philosophy, Senior Contributors|

Whatever his criticisms of liberalism, progressivism, and socialism, Eric Voegelin shunned the word and the concept of “conservatism,” claiming that his ideas could never be harnessed by any political movement. When the definitive history of non-leftist movements of the twentieth century is finally written, Austro-American philosopher, Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) will loom large. Arrested by [...]

Humanism as Realism

By |2020-01-17T15:33:35-06:00January 17th, 2020|Categories: Christian Humanism, Conservatism, Irving Babbitt, Modernity, Paul Elmer More, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Religion|

We live in a world completely mastered and permeated by economic ideals, yet expecting better government within societies brought up on humanitarian thinking strikes us as yet another fantasy. Much has changed since the solutions posited by humanist thinkers of the last century, so what can we do in this world? What can we [...]

F.A. Hayek & Social Justice: A Missed Opportunity and a Challenge

By |2020-01-10T15:32:26-06:00January 10th, 2020|Categories: Conservatism, David Deavel, Government, Modernity, Political Philosophy, Politics, Senior Contributors|

Our age is undergoing what many have described as a “Great Realignment.” This is nowhere more true than among conservatives. The fusion that brought together under Ronald Reagan social conservatives, free marketers, and national defense hawks has largely un-fused of late. Many conservatives have begun to talk about a “dead consensus.”[1] Given the nature [...]

Plato on Wealth, Poverty, and the Conditions of Happiness

By |2020-01-06T17:39:58-06:00December 29th, 2019|Categories: Community, Conservatism, Plato, Political Philosophy, Politics, Rights|

At least since the time of the ancient philosopher Plato, private property rights have posed challenges to those aspiring to craft a just political society. During the nascent years of American civilization, the Pilgrim settlers of the New Plymouth Plantation followed a partly Platonic model of a commonwealth. The survival of their settlement, they [...]

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 [...]

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 |2019-03-07T16:19:47-06:00March 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 |2019-02-27T13:37:45-06:00February 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 |2019-11-21T19:44:26-06:00February 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 [...]