Tag: Political Philosophy

ACF Middlebrow #6: Paul Rahe


The ACF Middlebrow podcast continues with Hillsdale Professor Paul Rahe! We discuss the film he most assigns in class, Coppola and Puzo’s The Godfather, and the perfect introduction for young American college students to the study of different regimes, ancient and modern. We answer the question: How did the Martin Scorsese movie Silence inspire the professor to think about Western politics and the dichotomy between Caesar and Christ? Listen, comment, and share, folks! Please review & rate us on iTunes!


The American dream rests on the notion on “rugged individualism”: freedom, liberty, and equality of opportunity and a tradition of conquering physical, economic, social, and political frontiers. David Davenport, coauthor of Rugged Individualism: Dead or Alive?, looks at President Trump’s political philosophy, his record to date and suggests ways the new administration can restore this flickering American tradition.

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A Strange New Respect for the Right? Part One


shutterstock_118040215Elections have consequences — above all, presidential elections, especially presidential elections that produce majorities in the House and the Senate for the party of the President-elect. Donald Trump’s election should have produced a bit of rethinking on the part of the Democrats in Congress. So far, however, there is little evidence for that. Instead, the Democrats appear to be circling the wagons and devoting their attention to what the feminists forty years ago called “consciousness-raising.” In the House, they re-elected as their leader the superannuated woman who drove them into a ditch, and there is a move afoot within the party, supported by the minority leader in the Senate, to select as chairman of the Democratic National Committee the most radical member of the House — an admirer of the Muslim Brotherhood who for a time flirted with Louis Farrakhan and who once compared 9/11 with the Reichstag Fire. In the mainstream press, what one reads from liberal commentators these days is mostly rant; and, on the campuses, there has been a descent into childishness, and temper tantrums seem the norm. With his tweets, Donald Trump seems to be playing the hysterical Left like a piano. Where, one is sorely tempted to ask, is the adult wing of the Democratic Party?

Here and there one finds a hint that there might still be adults in that hoary institution and that they suspect that it might be a good idea to stop demonizing their opponents and to begin examining their thinking. This is not happening anywhere on the campuses of our major universities, as far as I can tell. There, as never before, the wagons are being circled, and consciousness-raising has been mainstreamed. It is easy to demonize those who dissent — Barack Obama legitimized the practice by showing how it is done — and there is next to no one on any of these campuses capable of fighting back. For a very long time, the leading institutions of higher learning have been reluctant to hire, much less tenure, known conservatives. At a conference held at Harvard three years ago, one faculty member remarked to me that what he called “the entire Republican caucus of Harvard College” was in the room. They were three in number. At Yale, these days, there is, I believe, only one conservative on the faculty, and he is a computer scientist. When it comes to opening up minds and considering the arguments articulated by those who strongly disagree with current fashion, our universities will be last in line (if they get in line at all).


Is The Communist Manifesto Misunderstood?


In college, I was surprised when an honest and charitable philosophy professor I very much admired claimed that Karl Marx is misunderstood. Marx would not have supported communism as we have known it, he told me. What was seen at the hands of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, or even Gorbachev was not communism as Marx envisioned it.

Next week, Ubisoft will release the next grand episode in its popular series of historical playgrounds, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. Because the overarching theme of the Assassin’s Creed series (about as philosophically consistent as Star Wars) is a conflict between the freedom-loving Assassins and conspiring Templar oppressors, the game’s setting in Victorian London will emphasize struggles for power among the classes of industrial British society.


Knowledge Is Not Ideology

This model is almost as pretty as Ezra Klein. Almost.

There’s a natural human presumption — particularly noticeable among technology and science-loving leftists — that greater knowledge leads to greater consensus. That is, agreement is just one voxsplanation, one chart, or one Neil deGrasse Tyson special away.

This makes a certain amount of intuitive sense if you assume that your opponents are ignorant stooges, and it’s emotionally appealing for all the obvious reasons. Of course, it’s also phenomenally arrogant, naive, and doesn’t hold up to any scrutiny (other than that, though, it’s great). Almost everyone — even cloistered and closely-kept leftists working for Ezra Klein — has encountered people whose intelligence and knowledge are evident, but who disagree with them. And even those who somehow haven’t encountered a dissenting political view know that genuine controversies exist not only among the well informed, but among the best informed within a discipline.


Freedom Through Natural Law


While one bishop (the pope) offered a sadly forgettable speech before Congress, another bishop hit one out of the park at the World Meeting of Families.

Though I believe Christians of all sorts would appreciate Bishop Robert Barron’s full speech, this bit about acquiring freedom through adherence to natural law should be accessible to non-Christian Ricochet members as well. This is what is meant by the famous claim, “the truth will set you free.”