Philosophy

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 »

When nonsense becomes the party line

Featured image Surfing past Fox News this morning, I heard someone report on a poll about what caused the massacre in Orlando. Apparently, most Republicans believe it was caused by Islamic extremism, whereas most Democrats believe it was caused by “domestic gun violence.” But the massacre was domestic gun violence. Democrats might just as well say that murder caused the murders. I learned in philosophy class that causation is, to a considerable »

Loose Ends (4)

Featured image Today turns out to be the 75th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’s famous lecture/sermon “The Weight of Glory.” You can read the whole thing at the link, but Justin Taylor also offers a good retrospective at The Gospel Coalition blog. You can see Lewis’s capacious mind on full display in this sermon, which ranged from the Stoics and Augustine and Thomas Aquinas clear through to Milton and Kant, never bogging down »

Loose Ends (1)

Featured image I stumble across lots of little items in my eclectic reading pile that don’t rise to the level of deserving a whole item on Power Line (especially when they are about metaphysics, my weekend hobby), but which might be worth a sentence or two in a grab bag of things. So I’m going to start a new recurrent series called “Loose Ends.” Though I’m sure many readers will think it »

Who are you?

Featured image Are you a boy or are you a girl? Can you be whatever you say you are? We obviously need a Kantian Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Identity to address the issues roiling the left today. And if the issues are roiling the left, they are also roiling the rest of the country. The left will see to that. The Family Policy Institute of Washington visited the campus of the »

The Creaking Joints of Democracy

Featured image One of my favorite liberals, Philly magazine’s Joel Mathis (he’s one half of the “Red-Blue America” column with Ben Boychuk), offers up a conciliatory column in the spirit of Christmas today that I take at face value. A few relevant bits: Some of my best friends are conservatives. . . My life is immeasurably better and richer because of my conservative friends, starting with Ben Boychuk—no RINO he—and extending to »

Philosophy and the Republican debate

Featured image In the absence of gotcha questions at Tuesday’s debate, philosophy moved to the fore. It was trashed twice. In an exchange with Ted Cruz over a hypothetical bailout of Bank of America, John Kasich said: That’s the difference of being an executive. And let me just explain: when a bank is ready to go under, and depositors are getting ready to lose their life savings, you just don’t say we »