Similarities & differences between libertarians and conservatives

In the course of an essay on the history and negative consequences of progressivism, Bradley J. Birzer discusses its two main opponents, conservatism and libertarianism.  He gives both what they agree on and what they disagree on.  See what he says after the jump.

Is libertarianism really a major opponent of progressivism, or is it rather, with its dismissal of traditional authorities, a particular manifestation of it?  If conservatism has a communal dimension, as opposed to libertarian individualism, does that put it closer to the corporate emphasis of progressivism?

But here is the big question, highly relevant to the current election:  Given the differences between these three ideologies, does it make sense for a conservative to vote libertarian against a progressive presidential candidate?  Or is the gulf between conservative and libertarian too wide for that?   [Read more…]

Plato on the course of democracy

As Andrew Sullivan reminds us, Plato predicted Donald Trump, down to his personality and lifestyle.  Plato also predicted multiculturalism, feminism, adults imitating children, tolerance for everything, morality giving way to pleasure above all, opposition to all authority, resentment against the rich, teachers controlled by students, and the rise of tyranny.  All of these grow out of democracy, as it runs its course.  Sullivan also shows how our founders tried to prevent these things from happening by designing a republic (not a pure democracy) with constitutional checks and balances, but how those have eroded.  “Tyranny,” said Plato’s Socrates, “is probably established out of no other regime than democracy.” [Read more…]

University students on identity

An interviewer asked University of Washington students about whether they agree that one’s identity is anything one chooses it to be.  At first he asked about the issues in the news, gender and bathroom questions, getting the standard approved answers.  But then he kept pushing it to see how far the students’ relativism would go.  He found that it had no limits!  See the video after the jump. [Read more…]

The four tenets of Progressivism

George Will has discerned four core tenets of progressivism.  See them after the jump.  Where do you see these ideas being manifested in, for example, the Democratic presidential campaigns and in academic speech codes?  Those of you who are progressives, do you agree that this is what you believe?

[Read more…]

Happiness vs. Freedom?

In a description of his new book, The Intolerable God, author Christopher J. Insole tells about a central struggle in the philosopher Immanuel Kant:  the conflict between happiness and freedom.

Now this sounds strange to American ears.  Surely, freedom is essential to happiness.  But Kant relates the issue to God.  Here is how Insole describes Kant’s dilemma:

We need God if we are to hope for happiness, as Kant thinks we must. We also need freedom, in a strong sense, in order to be moral. God must withdraw for this freedom to be possible. But if God withdraws, happiness can no longer be attained.

Read about this after the jump.  How would you resolve this dilemma?  I offer some thoughts myself. [Read more…]

The varieties of irrationalism

In September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech at the University of Regensburg, which earned him much criticism for dissing Islam.  But what the speech was about was the importance of a proper use of reason to Christianity and the West, something missing in Islam.

Samuel Gregg writes about the address and the issue in a provocative post for the Catholic World Report.   He and the former pope observe that the Logos, from which the word “logic” comes, is essential to Christianity as the ordering principle of the universe, as well as the Son of God (John 1).  Without this order principle, we get irrational violence AND the irrationalities of the postmodern universities, with their “safe spaces,” political correctness, and rejection of truth.  We are also getting the kind of irrationalism that reduces reason to empiricism alone, without considering larger truths, meaning that reason is no longer of much help in addressing moral issues.

Benedict recognizes the problems of scholasticism that subjected Scriptural revelation to Aristotelian philosophy, an imbalance that Luther and the other Reformers castigated in their critiques of reason alone.  What is needed is a proper use of reason.  The address also gives ammunition for classical education, as Benedict argues for the necessity of preserving the “hellenic” heritage of the West. [Read more…]


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