Why Do We Have an Electoral College?

By |2020-11-01T19:07:15-06:00November 2nd, 2020|Categories: Constitution, Electoral College, Politics, Timeless Essays|Tags: , |

The modern Electoral College may not be exactly what the Founders intended, but it fits the spirit of their decentralized federal system. During the debates over the ratification of the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton remarked in Federalist 68 that the method of presidential selection was “almost the only part of the system, of any consequence, which [...]

Losing the Depth of Dating

By |2015-09-04T16:39:32-05:00September 4th, 2015|Categories: Culture, Modernity, Morality|Tags: |

Is dating on the verge of extinction? In an article featured in their latest September magazine, Vanity Fair addresses* the fearful world of Tinder—and the toll it’s taking on traditional sorts of courtship: Hookup culture, which has been percolating for about a hundred years, has collided with dating apps, which have acted like a wayward [...]

Was Adam Smith a Man of Letters?

By |2015-07-27T10:22:37-05:00July 17th, 2015|Categories: Adam Smith, Capitalism, Economic History, Economics, Featured|Tags: |

In the “Overture” to his grandly symphonic The Enlightenment: An Interpretation, Peter Gay describes the “international type” of the philosophe as a “facile, articulate, doctrinaire, sociable, secular man of letters.” On this definition, was Adam Smith a philosophe? Yes and no. Unlike his French counterparts, and even his bosom friend David Hume, he led a [...]

The Gospel of Lincoln

By |2020-11-19T10:01:19-06:00July 1st, 2015|Categories: Abraham Lincoln, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Featured|Tags: |

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address has achieved a status as American Scripture equaled only by the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Washington’s Farewell Address. In merely 271 words, the wartime president fused his epoch’s most powerful and disruptive tendencies—nationalism, democratism, and German idealism—into a civil religion indebted to the language of Christianity, but devoid of its [...]

Leo Strauss: The Right’s False Prophet

By |2015-05-23T07:12:31-05:00May 22nd, 2015|Categories: Conservatism, Leo Strauss, Paul Gottfried|Tags: |

Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America, Paul Gottfried, Cambridge University Press (2011) When writing about the work of an academic historian or philosopher—as opposed to a polemicist, a politician, or a popularizer—there is an obvious threshold question with which to begin: Is the writer’s work intrinsically interesting or compelling in some way? If [...]

Is Academic Freedom Inherently Good?

By |2019-12-05T10:54:17-06:00March 21st, 2015|Categories: Catholicism, Education, Freedom, John Stuart Mill|Tags: , |

Rarely do opinion pieces in college newspapers emerge as subjects of national controversy, but a recent essay by Harvard student Sandra Y.L. Korn has generated widespread denunciation among conservatives. Her essay—entitled “The Doctrine of Academic Freedom”*—argues for dispensing with longstanding commitments to “academic freedom” in favor of what she calls “academic justice.” Academic freedom permits [...]

Replacing Community with Communication in the Virtual Village

By |2019-07-30T16:36:19-05:00March 14th, 2015|Categories: Community, Culture, Technology|Tags: |

What happens when we enter a world of constant connection—a world in which technology infiltrates nearly every moment of our waking existence? “We all feel the porcupine quill of constant contact, the irritant of ever presence, and long to escape, if only for a moment,” Rabbi David Wolpe writes for TIME Magazine. But Wolpe also [...]

A Realistic Democratic Ticket

By |2015-01-10T14:42:49-06:00January 10th, 2015|Categories: Presidency|Tags: |

While many, if not all, Republican-leaning realists have—and for good reason, considering the alternatives—decided early on to hitch their wagon to Rand Paul’s star, might there be a realist option for those on the other side of the great political divide? The putative 2016 Democratic primary lineup, dominated as it is by former Secretary of [...]

The Myth of Our National Innocence

By |2015-01-04T16:15:09-06:00January 4th, 2015|Categories: Foreign Affairs, Government, History, Political Philosophy|Tags: |

Since the 1990s, the teaching and advocacy of “grand strategy” has become something of a cottage industry. Degree programs and courses are on offer at Duke, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the City University of New York, Temple University, Columbia University, Bard College, MIT, Georgetown, and Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). [...]

The Secret Detention and Interrogation Program

By |2014-12-27T15:55:36-06:00December 27th, 2014|Categories: Government|Tags: |

The meticulously documented 528-page Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s secret rendition, detention, and interrogation program is remarkable for its candor. In blunt language it describes the horrors of the black site secret prisons and the efforts that were made to get terrorist suspects to talk. It effectively makes two overriding points, first that [...]

Bake This Bread, and Break This Bread

By |2014-12-09T12:05:46-06:00December 20th, 2014|Categories: Family, Friendship|Tags: |

Some people like cooking. Others don’t—indeed, some would be happy to guzzle Soylent and throw the whole cooking thing out the window. Yet many of us, as we grow older, become responsible for others: children, friends, and family members who may come over for dinner or who may live with us. Cooking isn’t a gender-specific [...]

Dabbling in the Dead Philosophies

By |2019-08-30T10:52:24-05:00November 22nd, 2014|Categories: Ayn Rand, Community, Conservatism|Tags: |

After returning home from 20 years of warring and wandering, the Greek hero Odysseus was confronted by his long-suffering wife, Penelope, who could not accept the homecoming of her husband without personal reassurance, so tested she had been by the gods and the years. So she called for their bed to be dragged from the [...]

Washington Puzzled as Putin Doesn’t Back Down

By |2020-08-24T15:26:39-05:00September 6th, 2014|Categories: Foreign Affairs, Political Philosophy, Russia|Tags: |

What is most striking about the Ukraine crisis is how much the Washington debate lacks any sense of how the issue might look to other interested parties, particularly Russia. Putin is analysed of course—is he, as Hillary Clinton suggested, following Hitler’s playbook? Consider an analogy to get a sense of how Russia might perceive America’s [...]

Why Liberalism Means Empire

By |2019-08-08T11:17:07-05:00August 9th, 2014|Categories: Christendom, Conservatism, Democracy in America, Liberalism, War|Tags: , |

History ended on October 14, 1806. That was the day of the Battle of Jena, the turning point, as far as philosopher G.W.F. Hegel was concerned, in humanity’s struggle for freedom. Once Napoleon triumphed over the reactionary forces of Prussia, the ideals that post-revolutionary France represented—not just liberté, égalité, and fraternité, but the modern state [...]

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