The Two Sides of Liberalism

One of the most nauseating perennial questions is “what is liberalism”?  Ask a dozen people and you’ll probably get a dozen different responses.  But as Aristotle said, “To say of something which is that it is not, or to say of something which is not that it is, is false. However, to say of something … Continue reading The Two Sides of Liberalism

The Great Divide: Political Philosophy, Ancient vs. Modern

The history of political philosophy is often divided between the classics (or ancients) in contradistinction to the moderns.  Political philosophy, from the time of Socrates and Plato, has always been regarded as the queen of the philosophical enterprises because it most pertains to the question of being human.  Hence, political philosophy is necessarily tied to … Continue reading The Great Divide: Political Philosophy, Ancient vs. Modern

Rousseau: The Social Contract, IV

Moving into the final book of Rousseau’s Social Contract, we see the final touches to Rousseau’s politics of unanimity and legitimization.  This is the most important thing to recognize in Rousseau, and what separates him from Hobbes and Locke.  Rousseau is thoroughly “democratic,” he seeks all persons to set aside their differences and personal pursuits … Continue reading Rousseau: The Social Contract, IV

Rousseau’s General Will

The topic of the general will is always a topic of Rousseauian studies.  It is central to his political theory.  It is the bedrock which unites the first two books of the Social Contract, conflating the social contract to be the general will itself.  So what is Rousseau’s general will? The general will is the … Continue reading Rousseau’s General Will

Rousseau: The Social Contract, I

Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a widely important philosopher of the mid to late 18th century.  Born in Geneva, but making his name in France, Rousseau is associated with having given the intellectual foundation for the French Revolution, is remembered as the Prophet of the Romantics with regard to analysis and criticism of emerging (sterile) bourgeois materialistic … Continue reading Rousseau: The Social Contract, I

Judaism’s Gifts to the West

“The Jews started it all,” wrote Thomas Cahill in The Gift of the Jews.  By “it,” Cahill states he is referring to modern sensibilities and dispositions.  But the West’s struggle with its relationship with Judaism is something replete with ironies, paradoxes, and hostility.  Yet, it is from this relationship that the modern West—as we know … Continue reading Judaism’s Gifts to the West

Liberalism and the Economic Man

What is liberalism?  What is the relationship between liberalism and economism?  Why did the Second International condemn social democracy and social liberalism, those philosophies that are often publically proclaimed as “radical” and “socialist” by philosophical dilettantes, though not having any relationship to actual socialism?  Also, is liberalism really about “natural rights” or is it actually … Continue reading Liberalism and the Economic Man