We continue our preview of the new (Summer) issue of the Claremont Review of Books hot off the press. It went into the mail on Monday and is accessible online to subscribers now. Buy an annual subscription including immediate online access here for the modest price of $19.95. If you love trustworthy essays on, and reviews of books about, politics, history, literature and culture, the CRB may be for you.
In his efforts to refute Charles Cooke’s recent exposé of Jennifer Rubin, I was surprised to see David Frum, in passing, attack my Hoover colleague, legal scholar Peter Berkowitz (a “Sean Hannity–style character assassination of James Comey and Special Counsel Robert Mueller”), for suggesting, in a prescient October WSJ opinion column, that the Mueller investigation into Russian collusion may well be ethically compromised (in its zeal to go after those not accused of collusion)—in even greater fashion than was the Comey investigation of Hillary Clinton (in its absence of zeal to indict for clear violations of U.S. intelligence law).
In “Why Liberalism Failed,” Patrick Deneen contends that today’s liberal regimes deserve to perish because they do not live up to the classical conception of political excellence. But the spirit of his critique clashes with the purpose of the ancients’ examination of the best regime.
In “Why Liberalism Failed,” Patrick Deneen attributes to John Locke’s liberalism the purpose of emancipating individuals from every imaginable form of constraint. This undergirds Deneen’s thesis that liberalism promulgates false and self-defeating ideas about human nature, morality, and politics.
Patrick Deneen, professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, has written an angry and breathless polemic against liberalism in the large sense — that is, the school of political thought that holds that human beings are by nature free and equal, and that the chief purpose of government is to secure individual rights.
Our politics increasingly encourages citizens — members of the intellectual and political elite particularly — to take to an extreme the perennial human propensity to take one’s opinions to an extreme. This imperils liberal democracy in America.
Patrick Deneen’s disdainful review last month in the Washington Post of George Will’s splendid new book, “The Conservative Sensibility,” reasserts fashionable misconceptions about liberalism, conservatism, and America. The review — and, more importantly, the book — provide an occasion to clarify the character of the conservatism that takes its bearings from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and from the ideas about human nature and freedom that undergird them.
In these confounding times, conservatives would do well to recall that modern conservatism is a creature of confounding times. Both the broad school of politics that emerged in England in the 17th and 18th centuries and the mature, post-World War II American variant arose to combat new threats to freedom -- and freedom’s moral, cultural, and religious preconditions.
A nation that “encourages its citizens to challenge authority, ask the next question, and defy the obvious.”
Last week in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Supreme Court threaded the needle. Whether the thread will hold is uncertain. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s narrowly crafted majority opinion protected religious liberty without impairing gay rights.
John Stuart Mill, a liberal in the old and better sense of the word, once tried to explain the difference between what too many of today's upwardly mobile confuse with an education and the real thing. An educated man or woman is someone who does more than climb on the career treadmill and follow it to the heights of power, influence and wealth.
Conservatives—indeed, all Americans—should take heart: The constitutional order is showing its resilience. Whether because of or despite President Trump’s numerous executive orders reducing the regulatory burden on business and the tax reform he signed into law in December, the economy is humming. Unemployment, including for blacks and Latinos, is at or near record lows.
The term “liberalism” ranks among the most contested in our political lexicon. It should also be regarded as among the most vital. In the large sense, liberalism names the modern tradition of freedom. Liberalism so understood was the dominant strand in our nation’s founding. Appreciating the standard accusations against it and why it is worthy of defense is crucial to conserving the best of the American constitutional tradition.
Last month, dueling guest opinion pieces marking the 70th anniversary of Israel’s birth (according to the Hebrew calendar) appeared in the United States’ two most influential newspapers. The opposing spirits in which the articles were written reflect a recurring asymmetry in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Conservatives have always had their differences. Uniting them in this fractious age means reconciling two things: freedom and tradition.
Partisanship plagues the humanities. The proliferation of intensely politicized scholarship denouncing Israel as a criminal state exemplifies the conflation of activism with systematic inquiry and analysis. That conflation subverts the dedication to truth indispensable to the university’s mission.
Only apologists determined to avert their eyes and cover their ears could deny with a straight face that higher education in America today nurses hostility to free speech.
In his new book, Leon Kass shows Americans how to honor the benefits of liberal democracy, including individual freedom and human equality, while recognizing their high costs.
Many progressives think that independence from religious belief is a crucial source of the power of human rights. According to many conservatives, the spurning of faith reflects a dangerous delusion inscribed in human rights doctrine. Amid the bad blood and casual vituperation that do daily damage to American politics, correcting the error common to the left and right that human rights are one thing and religion entirely another might contribute to rebuilding common ground.
To mark the close of 2017, we asked a handful of our writers to name the best two or three books they read this year, and briefly to explain their choices.