What Donald Trump won’t talk about

Have you noticed that Donald Trump almost never mentions the words “freedom” or “liberty”?  Or that he never complains about big government?  National Review‘s Jim Geraghty discusses these words that Trump doesn’t use, pointing out that instead he focuses on strength and weakness. [Read more...]

A totalitarianism masquerading as beneficence

Novelist and former Time editor Michael Walsh has published a new book entitled The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West.  It’s about how critical theory–the notion that all cultural and linguistic expressions are to be “deconstructed” as mere impositions of power–has brought Western thought to the point of nihilism.  Kathryn Lopez interviews Walsh at National Review Online.  Read the whole thing, but I excerpt after the jump an exchange about how the radical left has become “Satanic” and how the canons of “political correctness” are being used, in the Marxist way, to suppress thought.  I especially like Walsh’s line about how the left has become “a totalitarianism masquerading as beneficence.”
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The Christian vs. the collective

Anthony Sacramone has a quite brilliant post entitled “There Are Only Two Conceptions of Human Ethics.”  He begins with an excerpt from Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, a conversation between two Soviet-era totalitarians on the difference between the Christian ethic and the “collective” ethic.  Then he applies it. [Read more...]

Donald Trump and the Führerprinzip

A strong leader will rise up to solve all of our problems by sheer force of his will.  We easily succumb to that kind of promise in businesses and even in churches.  And even in national governments.  This trust in an all-powerful leader is called Führerprinzip.  Yes, it was refined in Nazi Germany, but it has manifested itself ever since in popular movements that hand over power to a dictator.  But also in kinder and gentler forms of authoritarians and in a particular kind of political superstition that puts the person of the leader over any particular policies, ideologies, Constitutional processes, or limits on government.

The leader that people are looking to today is Donald Trump.  Is he that kind of leader?  Jeffrey Tucker is arguing that “Trumpism” is a revival of fascism.  Not the insult that the left freely throws around, but an actual return of the political and economic ideology that was rampant in the 1930s, not just in Germany,  Italy, and Spain but with advocates in virtually every European nation.  (I’ve written about what those fascists believed.  There is more to it than Mr. Tucker gives here, but it’s true that fascism is not just a shorthand term for evil, but an actual thing, which did not disappear with the end of World War II.)

Another article applies the Führerprinzip in another, though related way, arguing that Donald Trump is America’s Vladimir Putin (who has also been described as a Russian fascist).  See excerpts from the Fascism and Putin arguments after the jump.  Do you think Trump rises to the level of that kind of leader?  Those of you who like Trump, how would you defend him from these charges? [Read more...]

Kierkegaard on Luther

We keep hearing that today’s church needs to change; that is to say, it needs reformation.  What will it take to reform the church?  The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, credited or blamed for inventing existentialism, took up this same question.  First of all, he said, we need a reformer.  And the reformer needs to be like Martin Luther.

It’s fascinating–and perhaps an entry into the mindset of today’s existentialists–to see what Kierkegaard saw in Luther.  Read that after the jump, and click the link to see what he had to say about reform and false reform in the church. [Read more...]

“The lie kills nations”

Hermann Sasse was contending with Nazi Germany, but his words about how “the lie” kills nations–presenting cultural dissolution “as a glorious ascent,” in which “decline is viewed as an advance”–have an unsettling resonance for today. [Read more...]