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Category: Religion

Can Democracy Save Us?

Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed is a well-argued critical dissection of liberalism, one of the most persuasive I have read in recent years. Deneen understands “liberalism” to be one of the three powerful and all-encompassing ideologies of modern times—the other two being fascism and communism—that “proposed transforming all aspects of human life to conform to a preconceived plan…

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Fascists and Revolutionaries

The first time I remember really fearing for my generation—not the abstract uneasiness aroused by depressing statistics but a gut-level dread, something dark and unnameable lurking just beyond articulation—came in the fall of 2012. Millennials…

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Liberal Liberation

Patrick Deneen is certainly not the first critic of liberalism to notice that it has something of the character of religion. He is particularly adept, however, at detailing one of its most striking faith-based features. Critics of religion, especially liberal ones, like to point out the irrational tendency of believers, in the face of disaster or social collapse, to believe ever more intensely in their doctrine the more reality seems to fail to conform to it…

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Integration from Within

One of the central themes of Tocqueville’s thought is that a political movement, or (at a later stage) a political regime, may be undone by its very success. University of Notre Dame professor Patrick J. Deneen shows himself to be a worthy successor of Tocqueville…

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Moral Overload

Donald Trump’s election as president was a shattering defeat for left-of-center Americans. Commentators said that Democrats had focused too much on protecting specific groups—racial minorities, immigrants, and so on—and not enough on appealing to a broad public.1 The Democratic deficit was not only in votes, however, but in style. In recent decades, the Left has…

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The New Christian Zionism

Earlier this year, a new U.S. President set as destinations for his first foreign trip the landed centers of the world’s three major monotheistic faiths: Mecca, Jerusalem, and the Vatican. On his visit in Jerusalem he became the first sitting President…

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Japan’s Eightfold Fence

For Westerners sympathetically acculturated to accepting radical multiculturalism, Japan offers an almost shocking vision of an alternate reality. As engaged as the Japanese are with the world through trade, diplomacy, study, and the like, they also live in a society that celebrates both its uniqueness and its segregation from the rest of the world. Perhaps some of that is natural to an island nation, but this feeling of detachment exists in a society whose wealth has come primarily from…

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Negative Piety

The motif of the postwar era is found in the name itself—post. The 1950s sought to be post-ideological. The 1960s launched post-bourgeois culture, one that sets aside nettlesome constraints. Intellectuals throughout the West adopted postmodernism, an outlook that eases the demands of truth. Before 1989, progressives in the West were already post-Marxist. That meant shifting away from Marx’s rigorous dialectics toward open-ended campaigns for “liberation” that pose no threats to capitalism.

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