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Monday, May 2, 2016
This essay is authored by Patrick M. Garry. It is reprinted in its entirety by permission from ModernAge and can be found in its Winter 2016 issue.
Since the recession that began in 2008, the issue of income inequality has been a central tool of political strategizing. Progressives have used the issue as a sword against conservatives, accusing the latter not only of indifference toward the plight of working Americans but of actually welcoming the widening gulf between rich and poor, as if conservatives want nothing more than to see the wealthy become wealthier, even if it is at the expense of the poor. At the same time, however, conservatives have shied away from the issue, perhaps afraid of how the issue might feed the big-government agenda of liberalism.
Even though they have had a sympathetic ear in the White House for fifteen of the past twenty-three years, progressives have used the inequality issue to put conservatives on the defensive, blaming them for the failure of the middle and working classes to match the progress made by the upper income groups. This assault against conservatives has been deceptive and distorted, but at the same time conservatives have often retreated by trying to dismiss the extent of the widening income gap.
The inequality issue is not the simple problem the left makes it out to be. The left argues that inequality is the cause of all other economic woes, specifically a diminishing upward mobility. But in reality, it is just the other way around. Inequality is less a cause than a symptom of our economic woes. The widening income disparity is a result of diminishing upward mobility, which in turn is the result of various technological, globalization, and governmental policy factors. For progressives to ignore these factors and focus only on taxing the rich is to disregard all the obstacles facing upward mobility, including the left’s own misguided policies.
Monday, April 4, 2016
The American Civil War spawned a vigorous debate on a plethora of concerns surrounding adherence to the Constitution. Many, if not all, of these controversial issues endure to the present day. Chief among them are the scope and scale of powers afforded to the President during a direct threat to the nation’s sovereignty and safety. Throughout the Great Rebellion the mandate of President Abraham Lincoln, America’s first Republican President, was to preserve the nation’s sovereignty and safety, and he interpreted his Executive war powers to be broad and sweeping. But he also applied them with the precision of a surgeon’s laser. Lincoln’s goal was to utilize his war powers only to the extent they would cause the warring rebels great hardship, and to end the rebellion as swiftly as possible.
Sunday, March 13, 2016
This essay is authored by Dr. Patrick Lawrence Keeney. It is reprinted in its entirety by permission from THE INTERCOLLEGIATE REVIEW, a publication of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any. —Hannah Arendt
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between true and false no longer exists. —Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt (1906–1975) was a thinker of the first order but one who defies easy categorization. She fits uneasily into a category such as liberal, conservative, libertarian, or radical. And while she humbly eschewed the title philosopher, few would doubt that her writings, in all their manifest variety, provide a continuous source of insight into the human condition and, in particular, further our understanding of the political realm.
Monday, February 29, 2016
The following is excerpted from Redeeming the Time by Russell Kirk. It is reprinted in its entirety by permission from THE INTERCOLLEGIATE REVIEW, a publication of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
Our term "liberal education" is far older than the use of the word "liberal" as a term of politics. What we now call "liberal studies" go back to classical times; while political liberalism commences only in the first decade of the nineteenth century. By "liberal education" we mean an ordering and integrating of knowledge for the benefit of the free person—as contrasted with technical or professional schooling, now somewhat vaingloriously called "career education."
The idea of a liberal education is suggested by two passages I am about to quote to you. The first of these is extracted from Sir William Hamilton's Metaphysics:
"Now the perfection of man as an end and the perfection of man as a mean or instrument are not only not the same, they are in reality generally opposed. And as these two perfections are different, so the training requisite for their acquisition is not identical, and has accordingly been distinguished by different names. The one is styled liberal, the other professional education—the branches of knowledge cultivated for these purposese being called respectively liberal and professional, or liberal and lucrative, sciences."
Monday, February 8, 2016
This essay is authored by Blake Kristopher Kraussel. It is reprinted in its entirety by permission from THE INTERCOLLEGIATE REVIEW, a publication of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute
Everyone knows that the American university is dominated by leftist ideologies, but the most potent is Marxist thought, which is undoubtedly making a comeback in popularity. But to advocate for Marxism to is to fully embrace cognitive dissonance. You would have to ignore the millions of lives that were lost under Marxist regimes, the incomprehensible poverty that Marxist policies created, and the lack of freedom that individuals in Marxist societies experienced.
Marxism, popularized by the German political philosopher Karl Marx, calls for class warfare, the eradication of inequality, an end to capitalism, and the eventual shift to communism. To an intellectually mature adult, each of the goals of Marxism are terrifying given the real-world consequences that have transpired following their implementation. So why are my fellow collegiates drawn to this destructive ideology? The answer is simple: idealism, groupthink, and current societal conditions.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
This essay is adapted from Jonah Goldberg’s foreword to the new edition of the classic book What Is Conservatism?. It is reprinted in its entirety by permission from THE INTERCOLLEGIATE REVIEW, a publication of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
What Is Conservatism? is one of my favorite books, despite being what you might call a successful failure. I don’t mean commercially. Frankly, I have no idea how well this book sold, but going by the history of philosophical anthologies, I think it’s safe to assume that it never threatened to hit the bestseller lists. On the other hand, more than a half century later it remains an oft-cited and significant book in its field. Given that most anthologies aren’t read even by their contributors, you could argue that it’s a giant of the genre.
But what I mean by success and failure is something different altogether. First, it succeeds because it is a wonderful book. More important, it served a high purpose. It is The Federalist Papers of American conservatism. Like the patriots who convened in Philadelphia to hammer out a new charter for a new nation, the contributors to this book laid out a new consensus for a new movement. That effort was led intellectually by Frank Meyer and politically by my old boss William F. Buckley Jr. (whose intellectual contributions to the effort were prodigious as well).
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
This essay is authored by Thomas E. Lynch and is reprinted in its entirety by permission from THE INTERCOLLEGIATE REVIEW, a publication of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. This essay also appears in the Fall 2015 issue of Modern Age.
Clare Boothe Luce, with only a tinge of hyperbole, referred to the 1965 version of New York City as “the biggest urban mess on earth.” In that same year, the American conservative movement’s condition could not have been considered much better. The Republican Party’s right-wing presidential candidate had just suffered a defeat of stunning magnitude, its northeastern liberal wing was in rebellion, and the party’s governing philosophy was up for grabs. With Barry Goldwater routed, the center of gravity in the Republican Party was moving sharply left and toward the East; the two men vying for the party’s leadership, Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller, lived in the same Manhattan apartment building separated by a mere six floors.
In the spring of 1965, the plight of the Republican Party weighed heavily on William F. Buckley Jr.’s mind. At the time, the thirty-nine-year-old Buckley was spending some weekdays in his Park Avenue apartment, commuting to the midtown National Review offices by day and jousting with New York’s highbrow society by night. The city outside his part-time residence was in full-scale decline. The crime rate was high, deficits higher; a drought had made water scarce; traffic was slow; municipal employee strikes were prevalent; the previous summer’s race riots in Harlem were fresh in people’s minds. Over the past decade, nearly a million members of the white middle class had left the city.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
The following article authored by Matthew Spalding is reprinted in its entirety by permission from THE INTERCOLLEGIATE REVIEW, a publication of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
While it is often thought that religion and politics must be discussed as if they are radically different spheres, the Founders’ conception of religious liberty was almost exactly the opposite. The separation of church and state authority actually allowed—even required—the continual influence of religion upon public life. In a nation of limited government, religion is the greatest source of the virtue and moral character required for self-rule.
The health and strength of liberty depend on the principles, standards, and morals shared by nearly all religions. In his First Inaugural, Thomas Jefferson praised America’s “benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter.”