In a paradoxical new book, Columbia University professor Mark Lilla correctly identifies the defects in contemporary liberalism and identity politics but cannot free himself from them.
Trump did well in Poland to eschew all talk of “the wrong side of history” and instead to emphasize the real power, for good and ill, that we have over our own destiny. By doing so he defended our dignity and upheld our humanity.
A timely book on the thought of Harry Jaffa and Walter Berns reminds us that patriotism needs to be about ideas and principles, but it cannot only be about ideas and principles. To win—and deserve to win—elections, conservatism must also inspire love of country and serve the immediate interests of the ordinary man.
The effort to combat climate change aspires to feats of social control, coordination, and foresight that are unprecedented in the history of politics. Our expectations for the movement ought to be tempered by our knowledge of human limitations.
Prudent foreign policy does not multiply the country’s enemies unnecessarily.
Hillbilly Elegy not only helps us to understand the social phenomena highlighted by Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency; it also reminds us of other things that have been obscured by that rise, but that we ought not to forget.
A bipartisan record of inadequacy by governing elites incapable of admitting their failures led to the election of Donald Trump. Thankfully, America is vast, diverse, and free enough to give itself a new governing elite if the old one can’t learn.
Donald Trump’s approach to politics has real roots in American political history. Yet, as Alexander Hamilton warned, it is very dangerous to undermine a democratic people’s confidence in their own governing classes.
Preserving democratic freedom requires prudence and true moderation that acknowledges the complex conditions on which freedom depends.
We need to reflect on and learn from Washington and Hamilton’s lesson in collaborative greatness. Their alliance forged our nation, and we will need similar alliances to preserve it and ensure its flourishing.
No American politician is ever as great as his most ardent adulators say or as bad as his most vitriolic detractors say. Still, Trump’s rise reveals a certain lowering of standards not only among the voters who support him but also in the elites who oppose him.
Voters will not respond favorably to a political party that offers them moral principles—especially principles rooted in the past—without also showing a real concern for their concrete interests.
The conservative should not act the ideologue in order to attack the demagogue, because the simplistic thinking of the ideologue is just as hostile to true statesmanship as the angry passions of the demagogue.
Aristotle’s discussion of factional conflict in his Politics gives historical insight into Donald Trump’s meteoric rise to political popularity. Ordinary Americans are acting in defense of their perceived economic interests and against the reign of political correctness.
The debate over the creation of a national bank reveals how Washington, Jefferson and Hamilton, despite profound disagreements, argued respectfully with prudence and fidelity to the Constitution. All three men offer valuable examples to today’s statesmen.
No amount of lecturing about principles will persuade voters who think that their interests are under assault—and that Trump is the only candidate taking their interests seriously.
The truth that human beings possess a natural personhood and natural rights is not incompatible with the idea of corporate personhood and rights that exist not by nature but by convention.
Justice William Brennan’s vision of a living constitution continues to dominate contemporary constitutional interpretation, in spite of its troubling inconsistencies.
Though Christmas is a religious holiday, secularists should appreciate its great contribution to Western Civilization: the lesson that all men are equal in their fundamental human dignity.
The contemporary left’s extreme anti-corporation position is hostile to the traditional legal culture of American liberty, which advances the common good by protecting the rights of both individuals and formally organized groups of people.
You can’t beat a flawed moral vision with no moral vision. This is not idealism but hard political reality.
Proponents of same-sex marriage often liken opposition to the bigotry that defended anti-miscegenation laws, preventing interracial couples from marrying. The analogy is specious, for the two movements differ entirely in motivation. One seeks to defend an intelligible understanding of marriage; the other sought to achieve racial purity.
In the old America, there were laws regulating sexual conduct, but freedom of association was largely unimpeded. In the new America, there will be no laws regulating sexual conduct, but freedom of association will be limited in defense of sexual liberation.
The ACLU is trying to deprive other organizations of freedoms that it would insist upon for itself. Their work is not a defense of equality—it is an effort to impose a certain view of morality on the country by law.
The right of self-government depends upon the ability of voters to give their informed consent in choosing elected officials. If candidates lie, self-government becomes impossible.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo recently argued that rights are a simply matter of “collective agreement and compromise.” His remarks are evidence of a desire on the part of America’s intellectual and cultural elite to divorce America from its traditional political identity and from the notion that politics has any connection to God.
Conservatives should defend the Constitution and the rule of law, but they should not defend judicial supremacy. The Constitution—not the Supreme Court—is our country’s highest authority.
Contrary to popular belief, Leo Strauss was not a conservative, let alone a neoconservative. Yet Strauss and conservatism share an important aim: challenging the dogmatic dismissal of the past as irrelevant to our flourishing in the present.
Confronted with its legislative weaknesses, defenders of Obamacare are appealing to the law’s intent instead of its text. This is a dangerous approach that the founders clearly rejected.
Civility is due not to a person’s opinions, but to the person himself.
The normalization of polygamy would undermine our commitment to human dignity—our sense that each human being is to be valued as an end in him- or herself, and not merely as a means to others’ ends.
Conservatives must defend marriage for both principled and practical reasons. The Republican Party cannot surrender the cause of marriage without also surrendering the cause of life.
When we make moral judgments, we implicitly and unavoidably acknowledge that there are objective standards of right and wrong to which we ought to conform our feelings and actions.
Americans’ acceptance of President Obama’s lies reveals how dangerously comfortable we have become with dishonesty. It will take a profound renovation of our culture to restore truthfulness to its proper place and establish political freedom on a more secure foundation.
The unchecked progress of sexual liberalism means that we cannot say what kind of moral culture our children will inhabit as adults or, accordingly, what kind of moral culture will form our grandchildren. No responsible person can support such a movement.
Constitutional amendments requiring Congress to pass a balanced budget are unrealistic and doomed to fail. It would be more effective to combat deficit spending by requiring the president to submit a balanced budget.
Strict separation of church and state would require us to throw out Thanksgiving as a religious holiday proclaimed by the president. Instead, we should embrace Thanksgiving and throw out strict separationism as a misguided interpretation of the Constitution.
Conservatives need to refine their understanding and presentation of the moral substance of their cause, crafting a message that appeals to both reason and imagination.
Our president’s assumption that he should punish Syria for a moral, but not legal, transgression undermines international law.
The president and Congressional supporters of attacking Syria suggest by their actions a strong disregard for public opinion and self-government.
Just as Lincoln rejected the Supreme Court’s reasoning in the Dred Scott decision, so too conservative leaders need to reject the Court’s faulty reasoning about DOMA. Anti-democratic judicial activism has become habitual only because our elected leaders have declined to respond to it with Lincoln’s clarity and firmness.
The Boy Scouts’ new policy allowing openly gay members will fall to aggressive gay rights activists if not first to its own incoherence.
The oral arguments on Proposition 8 at the Supreme Court suggest that there is very good reason to believe that the declaration of a “right” to same-sex marriage will set us on the path to polygamy.
We cannot embrace same-sex marriage and live in continuity with our past as a civilization. To embrace it is to deny that tradition, revelation, reason, and nature have any authority over us.
If the HHS mandate is enforced, our government may provoke a schism in the American Catholic Church and will reduce faithful Catholics to second-class citizenship.
In the classic Christmas film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the humane society of Bedford Falls is built on conservative principles, not contemporary liberal ones.
A “Fantasy Slut League” created by high school boys in California suggests the reality of natural law even in those minds whose view of sexuality has been distorted by our culture.
Charles Kesler’s new book shows that President Obama’s grandiose progressive ambitions, like those of his progressive predecessors, accord neither with the American character nor with human nature.
Is inequality the cause of our worst social ills?
Praise for Bill Clinton’s recent address at the Democratic National Convention overlooks the fact that his promiscuity and perjury as president make his presence there a scandal.