Tagged: political philosophy

Random Reflections On the Current Scene

On being aloft.— I know that if I had never heard the works of Mozart and Beethoven, my understanding of the art of music, the soul of modernity, and the heights of human aspiration would be far dimmer, and my own thoughts and tastes far coarser. I fear, by contrast, that if I ever willingly heard a song by Taylor Swift or Billie...

The Philosophers and The Gentlemen

Socrates, in The Republic, defines the five essential forms of government in rank order, from most to least just: aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, tyranny. His cleverest rhetorical trick, the most famous (and probably least understood) conceit in the dialogue, is his redefinition of aristocracy by means of the radical proposal that in order to realize a truly just city in practice, philosophers would...

The Philosopher and Society

To interpret a thing is to categorize it. We may categorize only in accordance with existing categories, of course, which in practice — an obvious point but one easily forgotten — means in accordance with categories we know. Hence, the limits of interpretation, for each man, are determined by the modes of existence that he himself has previously recognized or intuited from his...

Democracy Without Reservations

The other day, I had a written exchange with a Korean student about the problems of modern education, and specifically the narrow agenda-driven nature of modern teaching content and methods. Along the way, as one example of the problem, my student noted the gulf between political theory as presented at school and the lessons in political philosophy that she and I had discussed...

Notes On The Tribunal: Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation is a thoroughly Western notion. Therefore, every non-Western intellectual or activist who declares cultural appropriation in defense of his own society’s exclusive rights to its local customs, fashions, or language is actually committing cultural appropriation in so declaring. For, on the premises of the progressive argument, he is employing ideas to which he has no right, grounded in intellectual concepts and...

Democracy

Oligarchs play demagogues to cajole and placate the ill-informed, safety-and-comfort-obsessed majority by inciting distrust and hatred of the genuine best men — the sober, non-tribal, intellectually courageous lovers of goodness and beauty. Together, these two groups, the demagoguing oligarchs and the ignorant majority, forge a tyranny, operated by and for the oligarchs, but advertised as being operated by and for the safety-and-comfort-obsessed majority....

Anti-Elitism and Tyranny

Anti-elitism, as an abstract tenet or populist mantra, fosters anti-intellectualism, which in turn engenders a disregard for historical precedents and precursors — this last, the blindness to precedent, being an indispensable gear in the machine of progressivism. I have called Trumpism a cult — never meant figuratively. I have written of ten signs of any cult that are all easily applicable to Trumpism....

Socrates’ Challenge

The roots of political philosophy grew from Socrates’ lifelong frustration with all the politicians, rhetoricians, and sophists active and influential in the political arena, who through all his attempts to question and challenge them on this issue, could never provide one rationally plausible definition of politics’ essential concern, justice. In short, Socrates found that none of the men important in the political life...

A Few Simple Truths

A country that raises most of its children in compulsory retardation factories will end up with an adult majority incapable of thinking rationally, restraining whims, understanding the long-term implications of choices, or voting like informed and responsible free men. No one should be surprised by this. If forty-seven percent of a nation’s voters sincerely believe that their best chance to save their country...

The Self-Government Machine

How much of the challenge of political philosophy is rooted in deficiencies of available language? How many essential truths have failed to reach the ears they needed to reach at the critical moment, merely because the individuals who saw those truths lacked universally familiar points of reference with which to communicate their lightning bolts with sufficient precision, or at least with the shattering...