Reflections on Judicial Duty

July 20, 2020
The Supreme Court has failed to check the reach of the legislative and executive branches, but I respectfully disagree that it has exceeded its judicial power.
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A Response to Critics

July 20, 2020
Our book is less concerned with interpretive theory than with the grounds of constitutionalism.
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The Variety of Historical Minds

July 20, 2020
Decades past the peak of New Humanism’s renown, this fine volume ably demonstrates that the movement still has much of crucial value to teach us.
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Liberal Dystopia

July 20, 2020
Deneen explicitly links the Framers to the Progressives of the early twentieth century, implying that the two projects were the same and that the Progressives would have met with the Framers’ approval.
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Unconstitutional Wars from Truman Forward

February 12, 2020
From President Truman’s initiation of war against North Korea in June 1950, presidents have exceeded constitutional and statutory authority in exercising the war power.
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Populism Against Progress

February 1, 2018
Populism, in spite of its possible authoritarian colorations, may be the only force that can meaningfully confront this emergent dystopia.
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Religion and the Constitution

January 4, 2018
This book provides a good example of the distortion of reality, not to mention mind-torturing confusion, that occurs when political documents are viewed through sectarian glasses.
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How Desperate Should We Be?

January 2, 2018
Whatever one might think in theory, in practice acting morally is not something like following a blueprint. Guessing and taking risks are often necessary.
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Democratizing the Constitution: The Failure of the Seventeenth Amendment

January 1, 2018
More than twenty years earlier as a Nebraska congressman, "The Great Commoner" had joined the struggle to free the Senate from the control of corrupt state legislatures, and despite three failed campaigns for the presidency, he never wavered in his determination to make the Senate a popularly elected body. 
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God and the Constitution

January 1, 2018
Kramnick and Moore accept that anyone who finds anything positive to say about Christian teaching is a Christian. The architect of the “Jefferson Bible” has as much claim to speak for Christianity as anyone else.
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Musings on Postmodern Politics

January 1, 2018
Postmoderns believe that life and politics, both, can be reduced to "problems" and "solutions." They are not only "problem solvers" but "problem finders."
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‘The Living Embodiment of the Nation’

January 1, 2018
History, to most of the authors of the Constitution, was more valuable than political theory because it was more real; as Bolingbroke put it, history was philosophy teaching by example.
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Religion and American Liberty

January 1, 2018
Americans fulfilled the promise of their Revolution by establishing the Constitution, its written form intended to enshrine the moral values held by the people based on their religion.
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Culture and Politics: The American Whig Review, 1845-1852

January 1, 2018
For Whigs, probably more than Democrats, literature and political rhetoric represented similar, closely related instructional devices for both individual and collective improvement. Whig literature was rarely ever for “idle” entertainment only and was almost always didactic.
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Irving Babbitt on Lincoln and Unionism

January 1, 2018
Babbitt holds up what he calls “our great unionist tradition” as the crucial “offsetting influence” to all the temptations to which democracies are particularly vulnerable.
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A Post-Liberal Thinker

January 1, 2018
Gray’s essential argument is for a regrounding of human social experience in history and nature. If we want to live in a society that is even minimally civilized, there is simply no room for growth without end and ever-more-expansive rights doctrines.
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Political Morality Reconsidered: A Rejoinder

January 1, 2018
The cries of righteous indignation that I can hear show the force of ingrained habit. How could universality possibly express itself in particularity? This is surely “relativism,” “solipsism,” “historicism,” “nihilism” “situationism”! This reaction points to the need for rethinking not just morality but epistemology.
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The Heritage of Lincoln

January 1, 2018
Like Gamble and Babbitt himself, I think that the Progressives distorted the historical Lincoln. In my view, however, a careful study of the words and deeds of Lincoln reconfirms Lincoln’s moral and intellectual stature.
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The Origin of Modern Society

January 1, 2018
Man is a creature of desires, and since these desires are the products of social and economic motives, good government is situated at the crossroads of individual desires. The focus of politics shifts from moral authority to the social contract.
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An Ideal Vital Center?

January 1, 2018
Never does Green allow an early American leader to escape his carping scrutiny. He insists that George Washington was “an unmitigated snob whose personal integrity was protected by his social status at the top of the heap.”
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Republican Virtue and America

January 1, 2018
Virtue is not goodness, but the means toward goodness. This is evident as soon as we ask, “Courage for what?” Understood apart from moral relations virtue seems little more than vainglory, a form of self-flattery, hence self-interest.
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Radical Son: The Apprenticeship of John Stuart Mill

January 1, 2018
Few parents raise their children from infancy to assume a specific occupation or role in life. Fewer still raise them to be radical reformers. This, however, is precisely what James Mill did with his first-born child, John Stuart Mill.
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The Return of John C. Calhoun

January 1, 2018
If his work is treated at all, it is considered part of a sectional defense. Calhoun was concerned, however, with the most fundamental of political issues—the nature of society, the character of the human condition, and the structure of government.
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Thomas More: Virtuous Statesman

January 1, 2018
Of the statesman's charge, More in Utopia says: "What you cannot turn to the good, you must at least make as little bad as you can."
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A Flawed Defense of the South

November 13, 2017
Charles Adams, a libertarian and prominent historian of taxation, seeks to demolish the “Northern interpretation” of the war, which holds that the conflict was a great moral crusade to preserve democracy.
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Which Liberalism? Which Soul?

September 8, 2017
It may be possible to make Walsh’s hermeneutic inclusiveness work, but there is no evidence it does, and certainly not on the basis of his lavishing of liberal certificates upon a multitude of dead and living thinkers.
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A Broader, Subtler View of Power

September 8, 2017
How weak are my putatively weakest points? What about the relevance of “beautiful language,” or female beauty? Are they quite so extraneous to a discussion of political power as Gottfried assumes?
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Power Play

September 8, 2017
A weakness of traditional Western political thought has been a tendency to disparage a desire for power. Following Plato, many…
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Debt and Sovereignty: The Lost Lessons

September 8, 2017
The national debt is roughly 100 percent of our gross national product, and the people who lend to the federal government are beginning to worry that they will not get their money back. Yet without continuous borrowing, the nation cannot possibly sustain its accustomed lifestyle. Something has got to give.
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On Practices

September 7, 2017
Practices are concrete social realities, but they are not natural kinds. Thus, we have to allow, as I do but Frohnen does not, that in a sense we construct or individuate particular practices to suit our purposes.
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The First Amendment and Progress

February 14, 2017
Even if the Founders had been lucidly clear about the moral and philosophical foundations of the First Amendment, it is in a sense futile to argue from their authority.
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