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God as a Gentleman

Everybody knows the Decalogue and, in particular, the commandment “You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain” (Exod. 20:7). In spite of this warning, we too easily call God “Lord”—nay, we invoke him as “the Lord”—as if such a word were devoid of ambiguity and not badly . . . . Continue Reading »

Lincoln Lost, Douglas Won

Everyone on that hot, dusty August afternoon in 1858 in the square at Ottawa, Illinois, knew who one of the men on the platform was. That man was Stephen ­Arnold ­Douglas, the senior U.S. senator from Illinois whose seat was up for ­re-election that year. Although Douglas stood only . . . . Continue Reading »

Conservative Democracy

The present moment is one of growing discomfort, both in America and in Europe, with the regnant liberal political theory often described as liberal democracy. It is frequently said that the only genuine alternatives to liberal democracy are Marxism and Fascism, but I don’t believe this is . . . . Continue Reading »

You Better Like It

Suicide of the West:  How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy by jonah goldberg crown, 464 pages, $28 Jonah Goldberg exemplifies the decadence and dysfunction of today’s public discourse. According to his new book, the West . . . . Continue Reading »

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 »

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