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sábado, 18 de marzo de 2017

Machiavellian politics might be an improvement over the crypto-socialism that has come to dominate much of the West


Essays of the Week







by Mark Malvasi
The fantasy that the New World permitted Europeans to cultivate was, in essence, the ability to evade time and the cumulative effects of time—namely, history and tradition. The dissent from orthodox religion, the conquest of virgin lands, and the establishment of new communities each, in its own way, endowed the New World with its revolutionary character and mission: to make over humanity and society and to prepare for the arrival of the heaven on earth that would appear once feudalism, monarchy, and orthodoxy had passed away. The impulse to wipe clean the slate of the past and to make a new beginning arose from the acknowledgement that civilization in the Old World had gone profoundly wrong. European thinkers as dissimilar as Denis Diderot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau sought to overcome time and to begin anew. Therein lay the trap they set for themselves and subsequent generations...
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by Bruce Frohnen
The nation-state is a fact of life today. It is a necessary protection for people, in their communities, as they face dangers from foreign powers and state-less international elites. But we must remember that it is necessary to guard the guardian of our freedom, and to maintain our own virtue if we are to guard our own liberty. President Trump’s nationalism is rooted in protection of American borders and insistence on prioritizing the interests of regular American citizens over the plans of international elites as embodied in multilateral agreements and schemes for spreading neoliberal structures across the globe. Conservatives, often maligned as “isolationists” have a long tradition of espousing policies akin to President Trump’s, whether termed “conservative,” “populist,” or even “nationalist.” Labels often change according to the prejudices of political observers and adversaries. Prudent policy changes only according to circumstances...
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by Jerry Salyer
An argument can be made that Niccolo Machiavelli’s sinister reputation is unjust. This is not to gloss over the very deep flaws in the Florentine’s view of man, the world, and God, but to note that his work is not so devoid of moral sentiment as the popular image of him as a conniving super-villain suggests. Even his most infamous book The Prince provides us with evidence that Machiavellian politics might be an improvement over the crypto-socialism that has come to dominate much of the West. The prince “should inspire his citizens to follow their pursuits quietly, in trade and in agriculture and in every other pursuit of men, so that one person does not fear to adorn his possessions for fear that they be taken away from him, and another to open up a trade for fear of taxes.” Let it be noted that there is nothing here about reconstructing social relations, imposing egalitarian ideology, or confiscating income as part of a wealth redistribution plan...
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by Bradley J. Birzer
When this second generation of Americans inherited the leadership of the republic, they must have felt, in equal measure, a mix of immense pride and a sense of dread. What could they—individually or collectively—ever do to earn the respect of those who had come before? If they did well, they would be merely continuing without much adding. If they did poorly, they would be remembered for having destroyed their inheritance. While one can feel this anxiety so profoundly etched in the souls of these second-generation American leaders in their letters, diaries, and journals, its most obvious manifestation appears in the congressional debates leading up to the War of 1812, a war that cost much but ended in status quo antebellum. we have to learn from the first three American generations—from their mistakes and their successes. Perhaps we could begin by learning the art of discussion and debate, something, apparently forgotten in the third generation of Americans and rarely reclaimed since... 
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by Jeremy Tate
The Classic Learning Test (CLT) is a new alternative to the SAT and ACT.  In a test-saturated educational environment, one might ask: why is another college admissions test needed? Many liberal arts colleges are suffering a downturn in enrollment as students continue to flock to large research universities. The CLT hopes to change this reality. Just as the SAT and ACT play in the arena of college match-making, the CLT endeavors to do the same. However, we at the CLT believe that the best colleges are the colleges that have held onto a traditional understanding of education. In the West, education has historically been focused on the cultivation of virtue and wisdom and not on the nebulous idea of making someone “career ready.” Paradoxically, when colleges focus on cultivating true character and virtue in young people, they end up graduating students who are far more “career ready” than students coming from universities that fail to educate the whole person... 
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by Jeffrey O. Nelson
If we are to know and rebuild a conservative civil social order in this country, then we need to “rake from the ashes” of recent American history the books that influenced a generation of conservative scholars and public figures, books whose message resonated with much of the American populace and resulted in astonishing political triumphs. At the time these books were published there was no conservative movement, only a belief among a disparate group of thinkers that conservative ideas had something to say to a society sated with liberalism. The only thing conservatives had was their vision. Today, conservatism has become so much a part of American life that it is difficult to comprehend what an astonishing achievement it was to lay the foundations of a movement that arose at the century’s midpoint came after a long reign of doctrinaire liberalism, and was greeted almost as an escape from bondage... 
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by Christopher Morrissey
“Beware the Ides of March!” As it does every year, this March fifteenth affords us the opportunity to contemplate the recurrent patterns of history. Yet what exactly was the pattern exhibited on that infamous day? René Girard, in his brilliant book on Shakespeare (A Theater of Envy), calls into question the conventional interpretation of Shakespeare’s dramatization of the murder of Julius Caesar. Girard has observed that human society is held together by repeated acts of scapegoating eligible victims. He therefore asks us to consider the extent to which Caesar himself is shown by Shakespeare to have been one of history’s scapegoats. Yet Girard cautions us against attributing such ideas to Shakespeare, because it is by no means certain that Shakespeare would share our merely conventional views about Caesar and Roman tyranny. Instead, he wants us to consider the possibility that there are “features in Caesar that make him a typical scapegoat”... 
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