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Category: Political Thought

Virtue Signaling: Humanism and Politics

James Hankins’s Virtue Politics puts the politics back into humanism in an extraordinarily deep and far-reaching way. He does not deny that the whole cultural movement of humanism ranged much more broadly than any specific political project. Learning to write elegant Latin hexameters was not the conduct of politics by other means…

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The Century of Chinese Corporatism

Since its foundation in 1949, the People’s Republic of China has engaged with corporatism as a model for organizing societal interests. China’s corporatist elements, misunderstood as they often are by foreign observers, help to explain its economic successes and political resiliency. Across a variety of different forms of corporatism—some heavy-handed, some too decentralized—China has man­aged…

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Corporatism for the Twenty-First Century

Ask voters about American politics, and they typically respond that it is ever more polarized, fragmented, divisive, and hyper­partisan. A recent report indicated that 78 percent of voters are un­happy with increasing partisan divisions. Beyond the issue of polar­ization, there is also a problem of performance. Satisfaction with American political institutions is decreasing. The dominant…

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American Restoration: Edmund Burke and the American Constitution

In mid-July 230 years ago, the people of England received a startling piece of news. They learned that on the previous day, July 14, 1789, a mob of angry Frenchmen had stormed the Bastille prison, thus toppling one of the prominent symbols of the Old Regime. It was now clear to all: the growing unrest…

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Ending the Interregnum: A Way through the Culture War

Politics is fundamentally agonistic. Not all interests and desires can be harmonized. Periods of cultural and economic hegemony sup­plant one another through material and ideational conflict. Within these periods there are winners and losers. Competing political parties quibble at the margins, but it is rare that an election gives rise to more than superficial change.…

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Missionaries of Humanity: Popular Confucianism in China

In a state where one may not criticize the regime, one learns the art of the unsaid. In China, as in the premodern West, a citizen can complain freely about bad roads or corrupt officials, but it is considered seditious to criticize the form of government. If a citizen does criticize…

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The Characterless Opportunism of the Managerial Class

My first reaction to the work of Barbara Ehrenreich was one of complete indignation and contempt. A professor had assigned Ehrenreich’s book Nickel and Dimed (2001) for an English prerequisite at my commuter college—the urban satellite campus for two major universities intended to cater to low-income and nontraditional students. (Go Jaguars!) The book was a…

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The Socialist Revival

As the Berlin Wall crumbled in 1989, so too, it seemed, did the dream of socialism. The German sociologist Rolf Dahrendorf declared, “The point has to be made unequivocally that socialism is dead and that none of its variants can be revived for a world awakening from the double nightmare…

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The Cubicle Archipelago

“Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences.” Our current moment of corporate wokeness and “extremely online” pearl-clutching has made this phrase something of a cliché. In its most sympathetic rendering, it means that a free exchange of ideas allows everyone to decide who they wish to associate with…

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America’s Drift toward Feudalism

America’s emergence in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries represented a dramatic break from the past. The United States came on the scene with only vestiges of the old European feudal order—mostly in the plantation economy of the Deep South. There was no hereditary nobility, no national church, and, thanks to George Washington’s modesty, no royal…

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