What is Modernity?

I’ve written a bit about modernity over the past couple of years, and in fact, I think the entire QNUW project at this point could be defined as a reaction against it.  But the concept is a tricky one, because it’s a term for the very air we breathe in contemporary society.  And it’s not something as simplistically defined as “the present day” or even “the present operation of things,” since those would imply that modernity is a definition related to a period of time rather than a term that applies to specific systems of ideologies. Continue reading “What is Modernity?”

A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (Part 5 of 13)

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5. Chapters 7 – 9

Chapters seven and eight detail the use of majority rule in the American nation, while chapter nine deals with the causes of stability that maintain America’s nationhood.  This section concludes a great deal of the thought brought forward in the last several chapters, in particular the relationship between the social state of America versus that of European alternatives, the similarities of political thought between America and its former mother country England, as well as finding the line between a coherent democratic order and a rule of tyranny.  Chapter nine concludes with the harbingers of what is to come in the Twentieth Century: the liberalization of the West and the rise of totalitarian doctrines. Continue reading “A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (Part 5 of 13)”

A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America: Part 2 of 13

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2. Chapters 5 – 7

Chapters five, six, and seven are concerned more with the details of the law and organization of the American political structure than with general theories as to its governance.  Chapter five concerns the ground-up formulation of the American government, emphasizing the regional autonomy of townships and counties, but stopping short of analyzing the federal government.  Chapter six looks at the judicial system as it is practiced in both general principle and specific case.  Chapter seven is a look at the American political jurisdiction and how it compares to France. Continue reading “A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America: Part 2 of 13”

A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America: Part 1 of 13

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1. Tocqueville’s Introduction, Chapters 1 – 4

The first part of this guide covers roughly the first hundred pages of Democracy in America, beginning with the author’s introduction and ending with the fourth chapter.

Tocqueville’s Introduction

Tocqueville begins his book with a thirty-some page introduction in which he states, and then later restates, that Democracy in America is not a travelogue.  Nor, does he add, is it merely a catalogue of various American institutions.  Instead, it is a work of political science that attempts to capture the growth of a liberal-democratic revolution that Tocqueville believes is sweeping the West. Continue reading “A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America: Part 1 of 13”

Your Natural Rights Aren’t A Thing

Individual liberties! Rights! Equal protection under the law! Humbug. Find me an individual and that individual can have his rights. Who are we to disrespect the letter of the law, after all? But find me a man, and then try to name to me his universals. Find me a woman and do the same. And I don’t mean mere categorical statements of facts—that they live, are bipedal, have hearts and minds—but universal obligations owed to them by nature of their birth as human beings, divorced from the mandate of the state, and imbued upon them by God himself! Name me a universal natural right and there can be named at least ten exceptions, or ten instances where it is rendered meaningless, or ten reasons why it means nothing in the first place. Continue reading “Your Natural Rights Aren’t A Thing”

Equality by Default (Philippe Bénéton – 2004, 2016 ISI Books)

Traditionalism brings with it a certain necessary number of Luddite tendencies, often used by liberals as sniping points in the ever progressive-seeming world of technological innovation. It’s hard not to see a connection; traditionalism’s impulse to maintain the ways of the past directly conflicts with the sort of radically impulsive stream of information that both television and the internet provide. You don’t have to be an intellectual to make note of the fact that technology has made available to billions of people the means to educate themselves with the highest achievements of Western civilization, but instead it’s generally used for reposting cat videos and calling people racial slurs on anonymous internet forums. Continue reading “Equality by Default (Philippe Bénéton – 2004, 2016 ISI Books)”

Secularism is the New Faith

It can get tedious debating with secularists today.  Endless citations of the burden of proof, the faux-agnostic stance they take toward examining the evidence, and the haughty tone with which they announce their objectivity in denouncing two thousand years’ worth of apologetics, metaphysics, theology, moral theory, and history on the basis of ‘rationality’ certainly gets tiresome.  They often appeal to poorly-phrased facts that have found another regurgitation in some cleverly-titled New York Times best seller (that last bit should be a red flag all by itself, really).  And appealing to reason, asking for proof, and relying on evidence all have their merits; indeed, if someone is capable of exercising reason then they are morally obliged to do so as often as is humanly possible.  But reason can be misapplied and, as with anything else, it can be confused for something entirely different. Continue reading “Secularism is the New Faith”

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