Allan Bloom and Straussian Alienation

July 20, 2020
The reaction of putative conservatives to the publication of Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind in 1987 was symptomatic of deep intellectual confusion.
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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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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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What Psychology Might Learn from Traditional Christianity

February 14, 2020
Much of modern psychology is based on discoveries made by psychiatrists and psychotherapists while observing their patients. But this is not the first time in history that a large group of professionals has been able to investigate the inner functioning of the human mind.
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The Danger of Too Much Safety

September 1, 2018
The authors quote the progressive activist Van Jones giving the perfect response to those who want to maintain a fugitive and cloistered virtue by not listening: "I don’t want you to be safe."
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Encountering the Beautiful

September 1, 2018
James Matthew Wilson wants to overcome the opposition of mythos and logos. This involves going back to Plato, who is often read as setting up this opposition.
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Rawls’s Justification Model for Ethics: What Exactly Does It Justify?

May 16, 2018
Rawls operates with a decision procedure for ethics that keeps corroborating the same moral outlook, a liberal one, whereas the objectivity he claims for the procedure might reasonably have been expected to be consistent with a wider range of moral, social, or political perspectives, or perhaps with a single position equidistant to polar extremes.
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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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On Wu Mi’s Conservatism

January 4, 2018
Although broad tendencies that may be labeled "conservative" can be traced throughout history, to categorize any group of intellectuals as…
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The Metaphysics of Postmodernism

January 4, 2018
Although most people do not consciously accept postmodernist doctrines, these doctrines may still reflect the working assumptions that most of us live by but refuse to acknowledge.
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Aesop, Aristotle, and Animals: The Role of Fables in Human Life

January 3, 2018
While animals cannot reason, plan for the future, or think through a long-range plan of action, people can and should engage in these actions. Why should we choose to act like animals when we can choose not to and when we can create an environment in which acting like animals is unnecessary?
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Geometries of Force in Homer’s Iliad: Two Readings

January 3, 2018
The idea that war might somehow be mediated by reasonable agreements, heroic values of resistance, and religious scruples, such as those governing the burial of the dead, has been reduced to a shambles by the internal dynamics of war and the logic of violence itself.
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Tradition and Modernity in Postcolonial African Philosophy

January 3, 2018
The relationship between tradition and modernity has been a central theme of postcolonial African philosophy. While African philosophers have examined this theme from many angles, several basic questions have become the focus of ongoing debate and discussion: What is the relevance of indigenous African traditions to the challenges of contemporary life?
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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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Butterfield as Historian: Objectivity Over Partisanship

January 2, 2018
McIntire’s study would have been better had the author provided a stronger historical context, but this deficiency should not obscure the fact that this is an impressive work of scholarly research and textual analysis. Herbert Butterfield is not a typical biography; rather, it is an analysis and explication of the subject’s intellectual achievement.
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The Tribalization of the Western Mind

January 1, 2018
Culture has been degraded to somatic gratification, from which all meaning is now derived. Politically, this requires “using threats of high treason to silence doubt” about the status of the body as a justification for reshaping politics.
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Peter Viereck (1916-2006)

January 1, 2018
Peter Viereck was born in New York City in 1916. He died on May 13, 2006, at the age of 89 in South Hadley, Massachusetts, in the same house on the edge of the Mount Holyoke College campus where he and his family had lived since he started teaching at the College.
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Phony Empathy, Phony Scholarship

January 1, 2018
It was recently reported that a number of colleges, including Emory, Kenyon and the University of Rochester, were encouraging some of their students to experience the conditions of homelessness by sleeping outside on gratings or in cartons.
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Ethics and the Common Good: Abstract vs. Experiential

January 1, 2018
I shall argue, on the other hand, that Kant is not the final word on personal or political ethics. Indeed, his thought suffers from a fundamental weakness that is retained by both Habermas and Professor Day and, to a lesser degree, by Hayek.
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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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Method and Civic Education

January 1, 2018
1. Introduction Ceux qui, comme porte nostre usage, entreprenent d’une mesme leçon & pareille mesure de conduite, regenter plusieurs esprits…
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Metapolitics Revisited

January 1, 2018
There are now three changed editions of my Metapolitics, with varying subtitles. Written between 1936 and 1941, while the author…
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William James and the Moral Will

January 1, 2018
A closer examination shows a thinker not simply dismissive of metaphysics and religion, nor one necessarily hospitable to leftist agendas.
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The End of Art Theory

January 1, 2018
In the present age Hegel claims that "the form of art has ceased to be the supreme need of the spirit."
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‘Beyond Presentness’: The Practice of Criticism

January 1, 2018
In Panichas’ view, the critic’s responsibility consists, first, in identifying “the highest things,” and then in articulating how this time-bound aesthetic form can function as a means of transcendent revelation.
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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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Edward Rozek: A Student’s Tribute

January 1, 2018
I did not really understand the battles that swirled about us on campus in those days. Yet I learned to discern with my heart the quality of a man’s character and to cleave to what proved true.
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The Road Not Taken

January 1, 2018
Which makes it urgent that their wisdom, much of which is summarized in these two books, be heeded.
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Reason’s Revenge on Sociology

January 1, 2018
Having developed into an ideology instead of a study of ideology, sociology amounts to a series of demands for correct politics rather than a set of studies of social culture.
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Have We Lost Humility?

January 1, 2018
To examine the role of humility in contemporary society, we must look in unexplored places. The best sellers of our time rarely deal directly with theological or moral issues.
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Russell Kirk (1918-94)

January 1, 2018
Russell Kirk had a distinctive, engaging literary style, and he was accessible not just to academic specialists. He was a man of ideas rather than a technical philosopher.
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Left and Right Eclecticism: Roger Kimball’s Cultural Criticism

January 1, 2018
Mark Lilla held that for Kimball "the cause of the Sixties was quite simply . . . the Sixties. They just happened, as a kind of miracle, or antimiracle—Why did such a profound revolution take place?" In my opinion, Kimball’s reply is not entirely satisfactory.
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Populism vs. Elitism

January 1, 2018
The cultural elite has severed itself from the masses. Elites not only despise what the masses believe, but they feel no obligation to cultivate a relationship with them.
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Elite No Longer

January 1, 2018
Where are the leaders of learning for the twenty-first century? The country waits for its future Harvards and Yales and Stanfords, which led but lead no more.
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No Nice Little Histories

January 1, 2018
Many reviewers appear to have found these two books to be nothing more than nice little histories, refreshing dutch-uncle talks by an aging Kirk to fellow conservatives. They are wrong. Kirk is ever an activist.
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Second Thoughts on Graduate Education

January 1, 2018
My own ideal, already partially fulfilled, is for my work to be made obsolete, of mere historic interest, by the much better achievements of my apprentices. That is the only way I know to surpass my own limitations.
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New Dogmas for Old In the American University

January 1, 2018
This book, despite its solid scholarship and publication by a major university press, will be ignored by the author’s own generation of academicians because it truly is radical; that is, it goes to the roots.
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Forgotten Roots of Individualism

January 1, 2018
The opposition between an individualistic and an anti-individualistic culture is not identical with the opposition between a world-affirming and a world-negating culture.
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On Tradition

November 13, 2017
The ability of traditions to confer legitimacy on social practices helps to explain why cultural nationalists, states, and even radical movements have tried to invigorate their political projects by inventing appropriate traditions, symbols, and rituals.
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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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Man: The Lonely Animal

September 8, 2017
In Qatar, my students are perplexed by this fixation American students have about eliminating suffering on a global scale. And they cannot quite escape the suspicion that something more than charity is at work in the minds of the Americans they meet.
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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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A Humane Economy versus Economism

September 8, 2017
Contributing to the multi-faceted crisis Americans now face is the loss of those values and principles that are essential to a healthy economy.
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Pragmatic Conservatism: A Defense

September 8, 2017
In the “Conclusion” to the fiftieth anniversary issue of Modern Age, “The Decline of American Intellectual Conservatism,” Claes Ryn offers…
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Condorcet and the Logic of Technocracy

September 8, 2017
From Edmund Burke and Joseph de Maistre in the eighteenth century through such twentieth-century critics as Lewis Mumford, Karl Popper, and Isaiah Berlin, the utopian concept of a rationally planned or dirigiste society is viewed as one of reason’s most nightmarish monsters.
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Not By Politics Alone

September 8, 2017
While the so-called Right worried about so-called practical matters, the Left took control of activities that could help refashion society’s imagination.
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Debacle: The Conservative Movement in Chapter Eleven

September 8, 2017
It should also be stated that, needless to say, the socalled conservative movement has had many admirable features. Some of its members resisted the trends that brought it to its present low point. Unfortunately, as it tries to recover, it may ignore those voices again and repeat its old mistakes.
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American Culture: A Story

September 8, 2017
My goal in this essay is less to impart a specific teaching than to tell a story. This story, I first should point out, is not a myth made up for didactic purposes, as so many such stories tend to be.
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Conservatives in Denial

September 8, 2017
Conflating or blending “world-defying” otherworldliness with the proper way to live in this world breaks sharply with the mainstream of Christian thought.
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Conservatism and Conservation

September 8, 2017
Conservative aversion to environmentalism has contributed to a tendency of many self-identified conservatives to ignore, reject, or simply not involve themselves in real environmental concerns.
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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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Can Virtue Be Taught?

September 2, 2017
There are pleasures too numerous to mention within literature, the fine arts, history, mathematics, science, and philosophy. We cannot say with any assurance, however, that these pleasures will dispose the person to virtue.
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How the Right’s Gone Wrong

September 1, 2017
As in his previous work, Gottfried is critical of the neoconservative project. Gottfried attributes the neoconservatives’ success mostly to their relentless self-promotion and what in the business world is called cross-selling, massive fundraising efforts, and their close ideological (and, in some cases, personal) connections with the liberal establishment.
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