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

Virgil’s Use of Consciousness, Memory, and History in “The Aeneid”

The grandest image of Virgil’s Aeneid is the shield forged by the god Vulcan in the eighth book of Aeneas’ adventure to “Lavinian shores and Italian soil.” Virgil pays homage to Homer, his master and mentor, who also describes a grand image on a shield forged by the gods for Achilles. But where Achilles’ shield … Continue reading Virgil’s Use of Consciousness, Memory, and History in “The Aeneid”

Leo Strauss on the Three Waves of Modernity

Leo Strauss (1899-1973) was one of the most important historians of political philosophy in the 20th century.  A Jewish emigre to America in the 1930s, Strauss made his name as an exegete of the classics (Plato, Aristotle, and Thucydides especially; Al-Farabi, Avicenna, and Maimonides among Arab-Islamic and Jewish medieval philosophers, and Sts. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas … Continue reading Leo Strauss on the Three Waves of Modernity

The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, VII: Islamism

In concluding our series in examining fascism, its roots, its concrete manifestations, and its legacies, we have noted what is fascism and what is not fascism.  The common threads of fascist thought include: the synthesis of the people with the state for militaristic and warring ends (since conflict defines life through and through), that fascism’s … Continue reading The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, VII: Islamism

The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, V: Spain, Vichy, and the Nazi Allies

As we complete our tour and analysis of “historical fascism,” or what German scholar Ernst Nolte called “fascism in its epoch” (Der Faschismus in seiner Epoche, 1963), we turn to the more contentious historical movements that have sometimes been associated with fascism but scholars have generally regarded as not having been fascist (though certainly benefiting … Continue reading The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, V: Spain, Vichy, and the Nazi Allies

The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, III: Italian Fascism and Julius Evola

To understand fascism, it was necessary to begin with the Romantic Movement, otherwise one will not have a solid familiarity with the ideas that fascism sought to emulate, restore, and implement, as well as distort.  In the history of fascism, especially in the 20th century, there are three key specters to examine: Italian fascism, German fascism, … Continue reading The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, III: Italian Fascism and Julius Evola

The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, II: Romantic Antecedents

In-of-itself, Romanticism is not a fascist movement or philosophy.  But fascism drew upon the rich intellectual traditions of Romanticism, even if it distorted it some very important and meaningful ways.  So what is Romanticism? Philosophical Romanticism was a counterrevolutionary intellectual and artistic movement that arose in the late Enlightenment.  It was starkly opposed to Enlightenment … Continue reading The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, II: Romantic Antecedents

The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, I: Origin and Circumstances

“Fascist!”  To be called a fascist is to have one of the worst derogatory epithets hurled at you.  It invokes brown shirted thugs, swastikas, racism, demagoguery, and of course—the Nazis.  The usage of the word, sadly, has lost all culpable meaning because it is merely hurled at opponents who “don’t play by the rules” established … Continue reading The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, I: Origin and Circumstances

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