Good Politics

With cynicism about politics widespread, it’s good to have James Skillen’s seasoned, balanced reminder of The Good of Politics. A few excerpts.At the outset, Skillen questions the common separation of politics and culture: “can political really be distinguished as a realm separate . . . . Continue Reading »

Political anthropology

Milbank’s Beyond Secular Order: The Representation of Being and the Representation of the Peoplepresupposes that there is a homology between metaphysics and politics. He identifies four assumptions of modern philosophy: “(1) the univocity rather than analogy of being; ( 2) knowledgeby . . . . Continue Reading »

Both royal and pious

For Sedulius Scottus (On Christian Rulers), royal piety was both royal and pious. He urged rulers to practice Christian virtues in their political lives.He encourages kings to a life of prayer, giving several examples of how the Lord “shielded [men] from the dangers of death by holy prayers . . . . Continue Reading »

Peaceable prince

Sedulius Scottus (On Christian Rulers, 66-7) offers this lyrical description of the beauty of good rule: “There are seven things more beautiful than God’s other creations, as wise men say: the cloudless sky, when it marvelously resembles the color of silver; the sun in its brilliance, . . . . Continue Reading »

Institutionalized tyranny

Christian thinkers have defined tyranny as the use of power to advance one’s own interests rather than the common good.A tyrant doesn’t have to be particularly powerful. A small-town mayor who manipulates the town council to help herself and her friends is a tyrant, albeit a petty one.A . . . . Continue Reading »

Sketch of a Tyrant

Like Thomas, Erasmus (The Education of a Christian Prince, 27-8) focuses attention on the differences between tyranny and good rule, and like Thomas he follows Aristotles claim that the foundational difference is between devotion to private interests versus devotion to the public good. Like Thomas, . . . . Continue Reading »