Philosophy

The Power Line Show, Special Bonus Episode: “Bronze Age Decius?,” and Scott on His Visit with the President

Featured image This special bonus double-episode tests the proposition that a good podcast format is a conversation among friends at a bar—because that’s exactly what the first segment of this show offers. Last week I was overseas on the joint cruise of the Claremont Institute and the Pacific Research Institute, both celebrating their 40th anniversary this fall. Following a day tromping around Florence taking in the scenes of various locales for Niccolò Machiavelli, »

Leninthink

Featured image I recently drew the attention of Power Line readers to Professor Gary Saul Morson’s essay “How the great truth dawned.” It leads off the September issue of The New Criterion. Beginning and ending with Solzhenitsyn, it takes up the Gulag, Communism, mass murder, Russian literature, the turn to God and much more. It is a great essay. The New Criterion invited Professor Morson back to deliver its inaugural Circle Lecture »

It’s Official: Philosophy Is Lost

Featured image Has academic philosophy become as hopelessly politicized as other humanities? That’s a question treated in a forthcoming paper in Philosophical Psychology entitled “Ideological Diversity, Hostility, and Discrimination in Philosophy.” From the abstract: “We found that survey participants clearly leaned left (75%), while right-leaning individuals (14%) and moderates (11%) were underrepresented. Moreover, and strikingly, across the political spectrum, from very left- leaning individuals and moderates to very right-leaning individuals, participants reported experiencing »

Multiculturalism vs. America

Featured image The Claremont Institute’s American Mind site is full of features, essays, podcasts and other material that repays your time with a deepened understanding of the most challenging political issues. American Mind podcasts are separately posted here. They offer a wealth of riches. In its most recent podcast, American Mind explores the intellectual roots, political and societal implications of, and the antidote to, what the Claremont Institute believes is the great »

Do We Still “Hold These Truths”?

Featured image On the first page of Natural Right and History (1953) Leo Strauss asks: Does this nation in its maturity still cherish the faith in which it was conceived and raised? Does it still hold those “truths to be self-evident”? About a generation ago, an American diplomat could still say that “the natural and the divine foundation of the rights of man . . . is self-evident to all Americans.” Well what »

Passings

Featured image Another busy, travel-heavy week, so I wasn’t able to post a proper obituary notice for John Lukacs, who passed away early this week at the age of 95. The first Lukacs book I read as an undergraduate way back in 1980 was The Passing of the Modern Age, followed shortly by 1945: Year Zero, and I was hooked. (Both of these books hold up extremely well after 40 years.) Lukacs »

Our cold civil war

Featured image Our friend Charles Kesler is the Dengler-Dykema Distinguished Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College, editor of the Claremont Review of Books and a recipient of the 2018 Bradley Prize. I wrote briefly about Charles and posted the text of his Bradley speech along with the video here on Power Line. Imprimis has now adapted Charles’s lecture at Hillsdale this past September 27 into the essay “Our cold civil war.” »

The two Martin Luther King Jrs

Featured image Today being Martin Luther King’s birthday, I took time off from thinking about the dossier/s***thole and read an essay written for the Heritage Foundation by Peter C. Myers: “The Limits and Dangers of Civil Disobedience: The Case of Martin Luther King, Jr.” I recommend it. Myers argues: (1) America’s founding principles of natural rights and the rule of law permit the practice of civil disobedience narrowly conceived. (2) American civil »

Jonah and Me, Unplugged

Featured image Late last week on a whirlwind visit to Washington DC I sat down with Jonah Goldberg to tape an episode of his new podcast, “The Remnant,” which title was inspired by Albert Jay Nock’s classic essay “Isaiah’s Job.” Nock was a wonderful stylist, and an early libertarian (William F. Buckley’s earliest informal tutor in many ways), and if you’ve never read his Memoirs of a Superfluous Man, add it to »

Patriotism, Next Week in Washington

Featured image Carson Holloway, who for some inexplicable reason I don’t know and have never met, has a very nice long review of my book Patriotism Is Not Enough over at Public Discourse. I’m stunned that someone I have not bribed captures the action and intent of the book so fully: Hayward, however, writes here for a more popular audience of thoughtful citizens, offering them an accessible account of the questions that »

A Deep Dive Into the Founding

Featured image It was 20 years ago that Thomas G. West, nowadays the Potter professor of politics at Hillsdale College, published Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of America. The book was a tour de force against the left’s relentless attacks on and distortions of the American founding, and it is an indispensable reference book for every one of the left’s clichés about the supposed defects, if »

When reason goes on holiday

Featured image In chapter 3 of Patriotism Is Not Enough, Steve Hayward describes how inadequately American political scientists responded to the rise of Fascism in the 1930s. That inadequacy helped cause Leo Strauss to push political science in a radically new direction on the theory that “a social science that cannot speak of tyranny with the same confidence with which medicine speaks, for example, of cancer, cannot understand social phenomena as what »

A great constitutional debate explained (by Steve)

Featured image Most conservatives will be delighted if Neil Gorsuch, as a Justice of the Supreme Court, views the Constitution and his role in interpreting it the way Justice Antonin Scalia did. But George Will hopes that Gorsuch will improve on Scalia. How? By interpreting the Constitution as a charter of government for a nation dedicated to the proposition that all persons are created equal in their possession of natural rights. Scalia »

How Do Democracies End?

Featured image Our philosophical-historical lesson for today comes from the late John H. Hallowell, the long-time professor of political science at Duke University. Among his other fine writings is The Moral Foundation of Democracy, published in 1954. In the last chapter of the book, Hallowell reflects on Socrates’s critique of democracy in Book VIII of Plato’s Republic: The transition from democracy to tyranny is described by Plato as a process of both »

C.S. Lewis on Politics

Featured image I have on several occasions in the past mentioned that C.S. Lewis’s short and elegant book on moral philosophy, The Abolition of Man, could be read as a preface to Leo Strauss’s much more dense Natural Right and History, and further wondered whether these roughly contemporary thinkers were ever aware of one another, despite being in different academic disciplines and in different countries. Clifford Angel Bates, a pal of mine »

Yes, He Was a Nazi [With Comment by John]

Featured image No, I don’t mean the current or any past Republican nominee. I’ll leave that perennial charge to Democratic Party agitprop writers. I refer to Martin Heidegger, often regarded as the most significant philosopher of the 20th century, and certainly one of the main sources of leftist postmodern philosophy, even if many ignorant leftists today don’t know it. Heidegger’s affinity for Nazism has long been disputed by his fans, or at »

The eternal meaning of Independence Day (2)

Featured image President Calvin Coolidge celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1926, with a speech providing a magisterial review of the history and thought underlying the Declaration. His speech on the occasion deserves to be read and studied in its entirety. The following paragraph, however, is particularly relevant to the challenge that confronts us in the variants of the progressive dogma that pass themselves off today »