Illiberal Democracy

Demopolis: Democracy Before Liberalism in Theory and Practiceby josiah obercambridge, 222 pages, $24.90 Liberal democracy is a modern synthesis. Liberalism—a respect for human or natural rights; limits on the scope and power of public authority; state neutrality on fundamental questions of, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Metaphysics of Democracy

Liberalism began as a political project that sought to curtail the role of religion in public life. Religious impulses haven’t proven easy to expel, however, even in secular societies. Contemporary secular liberalism aspires to be a universal project that supplants traditional religion and . . . . Continue Reading »

Neuhaus Was Right

As the Berlin Wall fell, Francis Fukuyama proclaimed the end of history—“the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” Richard John Neuhaus wasn’t so sure. In a 1996 symposium on judicial overreach, he questioned the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

The recent passing of Michael Novak prompted me to take up his masterpiece once again. I first read The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism in the 1980s. At the time, I had no illusions about socialism. It was obviously a failure, economically, politically, and morally. But like so many of my . . . . Continue Reading »

Look at Their Democracy

In the three centuries since the prince-elector of Hanover became George I of Great Britain, few power brokers have been more detached from the populace they affected than Rabbi Menachem Shach (1898–2001). Born and bred in Lithuania, where he devoted himself to Talmudic study with some of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Catholic Voters and the Ethical Strategy of Abstention

If Catholic Republicans accept the logic that abstention is almost always a selfish and unjustified act of free-riding, then they admit that they have no exit threat and undermine the incentive for a candidate like Trump to respond to their complaints. They need the exit threat as a bargaining chip. And the exit threat will be credible only if the voters are actually willing to use it. Continue Reading »