Tag Archives | Thomas Jefferson

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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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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The Theory of Wokeness Relativity

The problem with people who lived in the past is that they were not completely perfected in their enlightenment and progressive values, like we are. So obviously they have to be taken down a peg, and the “woke” brigade is on the job. George Washington may have been the Father of the Country, but his […]

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The High Road of Hope and Prosperity

Five Things You Need to Read Today 1. Did Monticello Just Evict Thomas Jefferson? Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, has just completed a restoration of the house’s outbuildings and slave quarters. The way the New York Times describes it, this is being used as an excuse to evict Jefferson from his own house. The […]

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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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Charlottesville’s Statue Burqas

Charlottesville’s novel solution to the conflict over its monuments to Confederate heroes is to drape them in statue burqas meant to shield viewers from the temptation to either worship or become enraged by the images of men who lost a war 150 years ago. Up until a year ago, of course, no such measures were […]

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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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“That’s What Freedom Sounds Like”

So suddenly we’re all supposed to switch sides again on whether dissent is patriotic. In a continuing effort to prove that it all depends on whose ox is gored, a lot of people on the right suddenly now think that it’s super-rude for constituents to send a public message to their elected officials. They are […]

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“Death to Tyrants” Is as American as Apple Pie

On Glenn Beck’s radio show recently, he and thriller author Brad Thor discussed what would happen if Donald Trump becomes an authoritarian tyrant and can no longer be limited by Congress or the courts. Thor then proposed, “as a thriller writer,” a “hypothetical” scenario in which Trump would have to be removed from office. I […]

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