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Archive for the ‘political theory’ Category

This news story reminded me of our discussion of Mill’s thoughts on political parties, conservatism, and order. Conservative stalwart David Brooks has recently been making the rounds lamenting that the Republicans are no longer a conservative party in the Burkean sense we considered a few weeks ago: “By traditional definitions,” he writes, “conservatism stands for […]

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So now let’s get to the specter…. Utopian socialism had apparently failed. So had the liberals’ attempts in an array of European countries to establish liberal democracies. Both those ideas would still be tried for a long time, but repeated failure had hardened many peoples’ hearts against them. They wanted more direct action. That’s when […]

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“A specter is haunting Europe… the specter of Communism.” That’s the famous opening sentence of this week’s reading, the dreaded Communist Manifesto. Marx wants to scare people. Let’s look at the choice of words: a spectre of Communism. I’m not sure if he intended it this way, but it is a telling phrase because spectres […]

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As we saw this week, it’s easy to connect our studies to the present day. A few semesters ago while we were discussing Mill and liberalism, a republican friend sent me this article arguing that the conflict between left and right in modern America reflects a split in 19th century social and political philosophy, the split […]

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As we discuss Mill and liberalism this week, we should keep in mind other writings of that philosophy. Some of them we know quite well–the founding documents of the American political system, after all, are all part of that tradition. As such, we can easily understand many of the things Mill is getting at–but at […]

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We began our discussion of the Industrial Revolution with one foot still in the past:  Shelley’s romantic (or anti-romantic) writings. But the Revolution was above all a time of looking forward to new ways of making things, new forms of social organization, and new problems to face. We now come fully into the age of […]

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