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It’s an error for conservatives to see the American Founding’s emphasis on natural rights as necessarily fostering extreme individualism in contemporary America. Eighteenth-century Americans would have viewed the notion that rights could be exercised contrary to natural law as ridiculous.
The political theory of the American founding is not quite the “cure for what ails us,” but, as Thomas G. West’s books demonstrate, it can serve as a kind of preventive medicine against the psychological sickness of radical individualism.
Leslie Rubin’s brilliant study argues that the fault, dear America, lies not in our stars but in ourselves—our repudiation in the past century of the moderate liberal philosophy of Federalists and Anti-Federalists alike, which was steeped in Aristotelian wisdom about favoring the decent republican virtues of a middle class.
The pardon power is the most significant and strongest power of the president, and the Constitution places almost no limits on it. In using it, the president can unilaterally nullify the legitimate authority of the legislative and judicial branches.
If there is one truth that the entire philosophic tradition—including America’s Founders—may be said to embrace, in spite of all its disagreements, it is this: reason teaches that it is unreasonable to expect people to act by reason alone.
Our nation was founded on biblical principles as a haven for devoutly religious dissidents. We forget our Judeo-Christian origins and the founders’ commitment to freedom of religion at our peril.
It is often alleged that the American founders lacked a unified and coherent political theory. To the contrary, a recent book by Thomas West shows that the founders broadly agreed on a philosophy of natural rights, calling for both the protection of liberty and the promotion of virtue.
The plan of our nation’s capital and the architecture of its core buildings and monuments must carry on the classical vision the Founders intended as the physical manifestation of America’s form of government and political ideals.
Judicial supremacy is inimical to the separation of powers, to republicanism, and even to constitutionalism and the rule of law. The upcoming confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor should force citizens to reconsider the place of the Court in our political life. The first in a two-part series.
The original rationale for summer camp is more valid than ever. Young people are struggling with mental health, addiction to technology, disconnection from the body, isolation, and many other painful realities. Summer camps cannot fix these problems. But for many adolescents, the experience of traditional summer camps might help them see that life is about more than accomplishment, and that is a start.
Israelis celebrate their writers, artists, scientists, jurists, industrialists, and statesmen who fought wars of life and death. And of course there are other ways to serve—caring for the mentally ill, for abandoned children, for the elderly and sick. I am grateful for all of these exemplars. But for me, it will always be specifically the young men and women who go to the army intending to return (many, alas, do not return) to their studies when their missions are done. These people go on to have families, large ones, and jobs of all kinds, and different hobbies and interests and vocations. Their commitments are ordered by a conscious dedication to the Lord of all flesh.
David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed appropriately decries the antebellum American South’s practice of slavery, while acknowledging the South’s production of Americans who have also served the cause of freedom and truth.
As Americans prepare to mark the 250th anniversary of the nation’s birth, in 2026, some argue there’s more to criticize than celebrate. Guelzo's latest book provides ample evidence of what Lincoln found worth celebrating about the American experiment, and what Guelzo finds worth celebrating about Lincoln.
Conservative economics, unlike the fundamentalism that supplanted it, embraces reason. As conservatives, we begin with a confident assertion of what the market is for and then consider the public policies necessary for shaping markets toward that end.
If the stories can change, it stands to reason that they can improve—or deteriorate. Responsible cultural elites of the Left and Right alike would do well to consider not only what claims they make explicitly, but what kinds of stories underlie those claims, and whether these are the right stories to tell.
Although one might find oneself disagreeing with Smith, as I have on occasion, one will be better for it. And I can say that with a clear conscience.  
The early women’s rights advocates sought to challenge, accompany, encourage, and support their sisters in the pursuit of the good life, in choosing good and rejecting evil. They sought to help them understand that they did not have to be the slaves of necessity, but that they could virtuously choose to undertake difficult but worthwhile endeavors, including the hardships of motherhood.
Is there friction between the social proclivities generated by our liberal institutions and the demands of Christian faith and teaching? It is perfectly reasonable to argue that there is—though there may be fruitful interaction as well, in which the politics of freedom and the virtues of faith foster one another.
The stronger the truth the Left seeks to counteract, and the more irrational the fantasy it promotes, the larger and stronger the government it requires. Whether it will achieve its ends remains to be seen.
The antidote to despair is not perfect politics, an impossibility, a mere ideology; the cure is hope. Moral panic reveals despair at the state of things: craving the fullness of the kingdom of heaven now, but upon discovering decadence and depravity—and who can deny our time’s troubles—responding with the sadness of despair. Despair cannot be overcome with certainty or perfection, but only by hope and the truth of concrete action undertaken in the light of hope.
We stand at the dawn of a new era in an important realm of constitutional law. As we step into this new dispensation, Agreeing to Disagree will serve well as a road map and guidebook to what comes.
If religious believers want to protect politics from atheistic materialism, their political theory should presume at least that God made human nature good and free, and that evil comes rather from our misuse of nature. Genuine liberalism, Augusto Del Noce argues, is such a theory.
Mansfield’s Machiavelli’s primary goal is to subvert and overturn Christianity. It is important to note, as Professor Mansfield does himself, that this reading of a secular, indeed anti-Christian, Machiavelli is not the only reading of the Italian philosopher.
I am not sure a commitment to ideas or “ideologies” as such is at the root of our problem. If anything, public debate today has little patience with ideas, directed instead toward the very motives and character of the people one likes or dislikes.