Tag Archives | John Locke

Making the “Miracle”

Several recent books on the Enlightenment have sought to celebrate its legacy but have been strangely cursory in their examination of actual Enlightenment thinkers, their ideas, and their influence, sometimes treating the embrace of reason, individual rights, and political freedom as a “miracle” that seemingly came out of nowhere. If you’re interested in the question […]

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Unfrozen Caveman Intellectual

“There is no God in this book.” So begins Suicide of the West, Jonah Goldberg’s contribution to the recent flurry of discussion about the legacy of the Enlightenment. Unfortunately, there’s not much of the Enlightenment in the book, either. If Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now treated the philosophical movement of the 18th century as if it […]

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How to Defend the Enlightenment Without Really Trying

The Trump era—which has been characterized by a rise of anti-intellectualism, the ideological muddling of the right, and a swerve toward illiberalism on both sides of the political debate—has, by way of compensation, also produced a mini-revival of interest and debate about the philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment. One of the most prominent entries in […]

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What Is the Social Contract?

Michael Anton has responded to those who criticized him for his disastrous plan to have the president try to end birthright citizenship by executive order. His response is fundamentally non-responsive. He defends the fact that he used a doctored quote to back his view that the 14th Amendment, which established birthright citizenship, doesn’t actually do […]

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Progressives Against Enlightenment

One of my concerns about the Trump era is that it signals a wave of anti-intellectualism on the right, a collapse in concern for basic ideas. It has also triggered something of an anti-intellectual response on the left, because Trump is the bogeyman who justifies blind, frenetic “resistance” in place of thoughtful criticism and reasoned […]

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The Enlightenment Is Not the Enemy

Jonah Goldberg has a new book out defending the “liberal”—i.e., pro-freedom—legacy of the Enlightenment, the philosophical awakening of the 18th Century. Such a defense is certainly needed in light of the Enlightenment’s wholesale rejection by today’s mainstream intellectuals. Yet this has required many others on the right to come to terms with their views of […]

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Our Anglo-American Heritage

The latest Outrage of the Day is Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaking before the National Sheriffs’ Association and referring to “the Anglo-American heritage of law-enforcement.” This is a hideous racist statement—if you have been educated extensively in how to seek out offense but have learned next to nothing about history. We do in fact have […]

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An Economy with a Government

Amid all the controversy surrounding last weekend’s CPAC conference, not enough attention has been paid to Steve Bannon’s articulation there of the Trump administration’s policy of “economic nationalism.” If you were wondering whether Donald Trump is really going to remake the Republican Party in his image, this is a good place to focus your worry, […]

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The Perils of Populism

Take the news that John Kasich is being funded by George Soros, a billionaire notorious for bankrolling far-left institutions, and combine that with the fact that it was Bill Clinton who encouraged Donald Trump to run for president, plus the way Trump has dominated the race with billions of dollars of free media donated by […]

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To Love Man for God’s Sake

An Atheist Read the Bible, Part 5 Over the past year or so, I’ve been slowly whittling away at a long-term project I call “An Atheist Reads the Bible.” Unlike the “New Atheist” Richard Dawkins types, I’m not reading the Bible simply to refute it or to highlight every time the Judeo-Christian god seems to […]

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