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

Shulamith Firestone’s “Dialectic of Sex”

Shulamith Firestone is one of the most important, if not the most important, feminist philosopher of the 20th century.  Though little known to most, she is required reading in most gender studies and women’s studies courses.  Her most famous work was published when she was 25 years old: The Dialectic of Sex.  In her work she synthesizes … Continue reading Shulamith Firestone’s “Dialectic of Sex”

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

Postmodernism and Liberal Accompaniment: A Review of David North’s “The Frankfurt School, Postmodernism and the Politics of the Pseudo-Left: A Marxist Critique”

It is commonplace for many to associate postmodernism with being far-left, and, indeed, part of the Marxist and socialist tradition. We have already explored how social democracy and even democratic socialism are not, by classical and orthodox Marxist standards, part of the Marxist or socialist tradition. Rather, the Second International condemned social democracy and democratic … Continue reading Postmodernism and Liberal Accompaniment: A Review of David North’s “The Frankfurt School, Postmodernism and the Politics of the Pseudo-Left: A Marxist Critique”

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

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