Introduction to Political Aesthetics

Political aesthetics has been an important topic of political philosophy ever since the publication of Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. For Burke’s critics, his sudden criticism of the French Revolution was shocking if not an act of apostasy given his previous support for the American Revolution. For Burke and his defenders, both … Continue reading Introduction to Political Aesthetics

Augustine’s City of God, VII: The City of Man

The second half of City of God (Books XI through XXII) deal with the origins and ends of the two cities.  Here Augustine shifts from his cultural criticism to a more exegetical, historical, and political focus.  Augustine begins to develop his allegorical hermeneutic of the church in these chapters, reflects on human history as contained … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, VII: The City of Man

Augustine’s City of God, III: What was the Cause of Rome’s “Greatness” (Part II)

The Roman philosopher Cicero was the Plato and Aristotle of Rome.  He was the foremost orator of his day and an important political philosopher who was cherished among Christians (and Augustine).  Augustine even credits the writings of Cicero to helping him believe in God in Confessions.  However, the warm remarks he gives to Cicero in … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, III: What was the Cause of Rome’s “Greatness” (Part II)

Athens, Jerusalem, and Leftwing Politics

Leo Strauss was famous for his reading of Western culture, history, and politics as a division between Athens and Jerusalem. Borrowing from the Christian philosopher and theologian Tertullian, who famously bemused “What has Athens got to do with Jerusalem?”, Strauss recontextualized the question and thesis of Tertullian as one of oppositional antagonism which, nevertheless, is … Continue reading Athens, Jerusalem, and Leftwing Politics

Athenian Exceptionalism and Pericles’ Funeral Oration

Athens was undoubtedly an exceptional polity. The Athenians are evidently aware of this fact. In the speeches leading up to the declaration of war between Athens and Sparta the Athenian representatives highlight their long and noble history which had brought them up to this moment in history. The much-remembered funeral oration of Pericles equally praises … Continue reading Athenian Exceptionalism and Pericles’ Funeral Oration

Corruption of Language and Morality in History of the Peloponnesian War

In a celebrated analysis of the corruption of language and its relationship with deteriorated character, Thucydides reflects on the symbiotic relationship of language with moral character. Language is clear, meaningful, and understandable when there is moral clarity, meaning, and understanding in the human animal. That is, the clarity of language ebbs and flows with the … Continue reading Corruption of Language and Morality in History of the Peloponnesian War

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 publicly proclaimed as “radical” and “socialist” by philosophical dilettantes, though not having any relationship to actual socialism?  Also, is liberalism about “natural rights” or is it actually a … Continue reading Liberalism and the Economic Man

Conflict and Republicanism: Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy

Niccolò Machiavelli was one of the foremost man of letters in the Late Renaissance.  He is remembered as the author of the “primer for princes” generally translated as The Prince in English.  His name is associated with manipulation and the idea that it is better to be evil than good to maintain political power.  However, … Continue reading Conflict and Republicanism: Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy