Machiavelli and the U.S. Midterm Elections

Another essay of mine, published by the wonderful online journal Merion West. This was a reflective piece on the recent U.S. midterm elections. In this essay, drawing on Niccolo Machiavelli's political outlook found in the Discourses on Livy, I argue that we should be celebrating the outcome of divided outcome and the prospects of political … Continue reading Machiavelli and the U.S. Midterm Elections

Statism and the Anglo-Scottish Liberal Tradition

The Anglo-American experience has always been considerably different from that of their continental European peers.  Recent histories have been published celebrating the liberalness of the Anglo-American tradition, from Andrew Roberts lauding the English-speaking world’s importance in the suffragist movement—from suffrage having been granted in the middle nineteenth century at local levels to the final consummation … Continue reading Statism and the Anglo-Scottish Liberal Tradition

Witch-hunting in Salem: The Case of William Barker

In American historiography there is a particular focus on witch-hunting – especially as it occurred in Salem (and the larger Essex County region). The problem with the obsession over witch-hunting in Puritan New England is that the stereotypical images are precisely that, stereotypical. In reality, especially compared to Europe, witch-hunting was far less common in … Continue reading Witch-hunting in Salem: The Case of William Barker

Puritanism and the Utopian State of Mind

In the History of England, David Hume opined that Puritan “theology” was the world’s first false philosophy – that is, the world’s first systematic political ideology.  More recently, from sociologists like Max Weber that the Calvinist ethos produced the spirit of capitalism, to Talcott Parsons arguing that Puritanism was, at its a heart, an “activist” … Continue reading Puritanism and the Utopian State of Mind

Capitalism and Progressivism: A Love Story

Unless you watch the news and read the mainstream newspapers, one would think that capitalism and progressivism do not go together.  Rather, the two are oppositional to each other, with the “progressives” as a bunch of anti-capitalist Marxists and socialists.  Of course, actual Marxists and socialists, as well as political philosophers, know better than this. … Continue reading Capitalism and Progressivism: A Love Story

The Puritan Origins of American Progressivism

It might be shocking, indeed scandalous, to assert that the heirs of America’s Pilgrim and Puritan founders are not Christian conservatives but American progressives.  Sure, the theology of progressives has evolved dramatically from the restless orthodox Calvinism of the Pilgrims and Puritans, but the underlying groundwork of creating a morally just, liberty-loving, and universal community … Continue reading The Puritan Origins of American Progressivism