Monday, June 6, 2016

THE PILLARS OF MODERN AMERICAN CONSERVATISM

















This essay is authored by Alfred S. Regnery. It is reprinted partially by permission from THE INTERCOLLEGIATE REVIEW, a publication of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

Over the past half century, conservatism has become the dominant political philosophy in the United States. Newspaper and television political news stories more often than not will mention the word conservative. Almost every Republican running for office—whether for school board or U.S. senator—will try to establish his place on the political spectrum based on how conservative he is. Even Democrats sometimes distinguish among members of their own party in terms of conservatism.

Although conservatism as we know it today is a relatively new movement—it emerged after World War II and only became a political force in the 1960s—it is based on ideas that are as old as Western civilization itself. The intellectual foundations on which this movement has been built stretch back to antiquity, were further developed during the Middle Ages and in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England, and were ultimately formulated into a coherent political philosophy at the time of the founding of the United States. In a real sense, conservatism is Western civilization.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

SO YOU THINK SOCIALISM IS ABOUT BEING NICE?























This essay was authored by Patric Kerouac. Mr. Kerouac writes for Molon Labe Media at http://www.molonlabemedia.com/author/kerouac/



Do you have a friend who claims to be a socialist? In the 20th century there have been numerous political systems, but in the latter half of the century there were only two survivors, Socialism and Capitalism. So we have at this time in the Western world, which for all practical purposes controls the world, two opposing political systems. (I have already previously stated that there is no basic difference between socialists and communists. There are, however, some very important factors relating to socialism of which you should be aware. Socialism will not work in a free market economy and, as a consequence it invariably deteriorates into a totalitarian state. Anyone wishing to argue that point is asked to point to one single instance where this was not the result).

It therefore behooves us to remember who the worst despotic governments of this century were: Nazis in Germany, Fascists in Italy, Communists in the USSR, [Romania, East Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Cuba, North Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, etc.] and China – each and every one of them a paragon of socialist endeavor. Their leaders; Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin [Ceausescu, Tito, Pol Pot, etc.] and Mao Tse Tung. The outstanding legacy of these individuals is that they each tried to out-do the others in the total number of their own citizens which they murdered. It is a fact that each of these men killed more of their own civilian citizens than they lost in military conflict.

Monday, May 2, 2016

CONSERVATISM AND THE REAL PROBLEMS OF INCOME INEQUALITY

















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.

Monday, April 4, 2016

LINCOLN AND CONSERVING THE CONSTITUTION














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.


In the intervening time between the outbreak of the Civil War on April 12, 1861 and the convening of a special session of Congress on July 4, 1861 up until that time President Lincoln invoked the boldest use of Executive war powers in the Republic’s history. They included increasing the size of the army and navy; appropriating money for the purchase of arms and munitions without congressional authorization; declaring a blockade of the southern coast, and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Less than two years later, on January 1, 1863, the President proclaimed an executive order known as the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves held as property within the rebellious states. The President defended his position on the Proclamation as a “military necessity” having constitutional support through his Executive war powers. “The most that can be said, is, that slaves are property. Is there-has there ever been-any question that by the law of war, property, both of enemies and friends, may be taken when needed?”

Sunday, March 13, 2016

MAKING PEOPLE SUPERFLUOUS: HANNAH ARENDT ON IDEOLOGY AND TOTALITARIANISM
















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

THIS IS THE PURPOSE OF THE LIBERAL ARTS



Russell Kirk (1918–1994)









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

THE COLLEGIATE MARXIST: DECEPTIVELY ATTRACTIVE, COGNITIVELY DISSONANT

















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

HAVE YOU READ “THE FEDERALIST PAPERS OF AMERICAN CONSERVATISM”?
















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).