Hegel and Napoleon: On Heroes and the Sublime in History

There are two great stories concerning Hegel and Napoleon. The first, undeniably fantastical and romantic, is that Hegel was finishing up his draft manuscript of the Phenomenology of Spirit as the Battle of Jena roared behind him as he escaped the hellfire of the morning; the second, true, relates to Hegel’s encounter with Napoleon which … Continue reading Hegel and Napoleon: On Heroes and the Sublime in History

Our Brave New Century

Michel Foucault famously wrote in Madness and Civilization, “The ultimate language of madness is that of reason.”[1]  Foucault was referring to liberal civilization—born of the Enlightenment—a civilization that extolled the virtues of materialistic rationalism, individualism, market economics, private property, which ends in the slow erosion of the communitarian bonds that had shaped human society since pre-modernity.  … Continue reading Our Brave New Century

Karl Marx’s Dialectical Historicism

One of the core elements to Karl Marx’s philosophy was his dialectical materialism and historicism, which come together in his dialectical historicism.  Most people are probably familiar with it.  There are five distinct stages (or epochs) of history: slavery, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and communism.  But the movement of history is not linear-progressive, it is cyclical; … Continue reading Karl Marx’s Dialectical Historicism

Puritanism and the 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 Puritanism and the Origins of American Progressivism

The Suicide of Conservatism: Jonah Goldberg’s “Suicide of the West”

Jonah Goldberg is the most recent of a cadre of popular writers and academics, all of a decisively neo-Whig orientation and consciousness, who has written a defense of the greatest myth ever told since the publication of Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum. Goldberg’s tale of the “suicide of the West” is nothing new. It is just … Continue reading The Suicide of Conservatism: Jonah Goldberg’s “Suicide of the West”

Napoleon’s Last Thunder: A Review of John Gill’s “1809: Thunder on the Danube”

Mr. Gill's three volume history of the War of the Fifth Coalition, 1809: Thunder on the Danube is the academic resource on the War of 1809. It is accessible to laypersons and academics alike, with very fluid and detailed writing with a great wealth of resources. Filled with maps and names, this seemingly academic history … Continue reading Napoleon’s Last Thunder: A Review of John Gill’s “1809: Thunder on the Danube”

The Many Faces of Napoleon: A Review of Three Napoleon Books

In 1841, Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle penned On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History. One of the first histories to bring forth the "Great Man" tradition of history--the view that certain individuals are driving forces of history, and simply knowing about such individuals would give one a good command of the history of that era, … Continue reading The Many Faces of Napoleon: A Review of Three Napoleon Books

Hegel’s Philosophy of History (4/4): The Age of Liberty and Moral Love

We last left off with Hegel’s philosophy of history with the failure of the Aristocratic Age to produce universal freedom.  If we recall, the Aristocratic Age, that age of great movement, creativity, and the arts, and the dialectic between the aristocrats and plebeians, failed because there was no notion that all men were equal.  This … Continue reading Hegel’s Philosophy of History (4/4): The Age of Liberty and Moral Love

Hegel’s Philosophy of History (3/4): The Age of Aristocracy and the Struggle for Freedom

We last left off examining Hegel’s philosophy of history with the Hero, Orient, and religion.  Now we move into the heart of Hegel’s Historicism: the movement from the orient to aristocracy.  The movement to aristocratic governance is the next great moment in historical unfolding, but also posed many problems as Hegel makes clear in his … Continue reading Hegel’s Philosophy of History (3/4): The Age of Aristocracy and the Struggle for Freedom

Hegel’s Philosophy of History (2/4): The Role of Religion and Culture in History

Continuing with Hegel’s philosophy of history we will move into one of the most important, but often neglected, aspects of Hegel’s philosophy: the role of religion as the source of society and culture.  Throughout his works, Hegel comments on religion, the power of religion, and the role of religion in society and shaping national character and spirit.  … Continue reading Hegel’s Philosophy of History (2/4): The Role of Religion and Culture in History