The people are fallen

The people are fallen April 22, 2022

What do a French Aristocrat, an American General, and a bunch of British rebels have in common? I know that sounds like the beginning of the nerdiest joke you’ll hear this year (and if it doesn’t, then I typed it wrong), but that’s the premise of Robert McKenzie’s new book We the Fallen People: The Founders and the Future of American Democracy. In it, McKenzie challenges the notion that the American people (or any people) are “good” drawing on the American Founders, the French tourist Alexis de Tocqueville, and Andrew Jackson. The last of these, McKenzie argues, is the source of our myths about our own virtue. The Founders and Tocqueville were much more realistic about human nature–including American nature–while Jackson tended to lionize the American people (in part, but not entirely, for the purpose of winning elections).

As Christians of course we should always be skeptical about claims that human beings are inherently good. Original sin has marred the good we were made with, and when someone is trying to convince us that we are good you should be wary of what they’re trying to sell…

But don’t take my word for it, you can hear Robert Tracy McKenzie talk about it here (and, more importantly, you should pick up and read the book!):

Dr. Coyle Neal is co-host of the City of Man Podcast an Amazon Associate (which is linked in this blog), and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO

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