Straussian “Patriotism”

On Monday, I wrote about an article by Lafayette Lee that defined “patriotism” as a defense of people and place, not some ideological commitment to “natural rights” or some mythical founding expressed by Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address. Predictably, Straussian Glenn Ellmers found fault with it. You see, if you take on St. Abraham, the Straussians are going to lose their minds. How dare …more

Dark Age Patriotism

I’ve long said that the real problem for American conservatism isn’t the left. They are predictable. No, the real issue for a truly conservative American political movement are so-called American conservatives that cling to the Lincolnian Myth of the American founding. You can’t spell conservative with 19th century radicalism. R.L. Dabney pointed this out in the late 19th century. The 19th century Republican Party never …more

Did Lincoln Save Democracy?

The Lincoln myth is never going away. Why? Because people on both the “left” and “right” subscribe to it, so much so that Lincoln is the only person capable of saving democracy. At least that is what Jon Meacham argued in a recent piece at Time magazine. This is almost psychopathy. Meacham thinks Joe Biden needs to take a page from “Honest Abe” and use …more

Is “Presentism” a Good Thing?

Eric Foner thinks “presentism” is a pretty good idea. Of course, because “presentism” undergirds Foner’s scholarship. In a recent review of a new book about C. Vann Woodward, Foner concludes that Woodward’s “presentism” helped bring attention to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. You see, to Foner, historical activism in the name of a good cause isn’t really “presentism,” it’s reality. But …more

The Beauty of Federalism

Last week, The New York Times ran an article that exemplifies the current Constitutional ignorance in the United States. While the article was ostensibly about the “independent state legislature doctrine,” the subtitle grabbed my attention: “Races in state legislatures are often quiet and turn on local issues like roads or schools. But a Supreme Court case could give these legislative bodies nearly absolute power over …more

The Broken Constitution

For years, academics have argued that Lincoln and the Republicans maintained the Constitution during the War. This is the common tripe from Straussians and their righteous cause myth allies. But what if those who argued Lincoln shredded the Constitution have been correct the entire time. What if “originalism” has been the proper way to interpret the Constitution as ratified by the founding generation? What if …more

“Progressive Originalism” and the 14th Amendment

Last week, I discussed Justice Jackson’s “progressive originalism.” This led to an email asking if I denied that such a thing existed. It was easier to make an episode of The Brion McClanahan Show then respond directly, and it also allowed me to review a book that has created quite a stir in the “libertarian community,” Randy Barnett’s The Original Meaning of the 14th Amendment. …more

Who are the “Straussians”?

I’ve received several emails over the years asking me to explain what I mean by the “Straussians.” With the theme of “myths” this week, I thought it was a good time to go into more detail. The Straussians are a particular type of American conservative based on the teachings of Leo Strauss through perhaps his most important student, Harry Jaffa. Jaffa became somewhat of a …more

The Myths of American History

American history is full of myths. The most conspicuous and derided is the “Myth of the Lost Cause.” Most people don’t know what the so-called “Lost Cause” meant, but they think it means people who argue that slavery wasn’t important in the antebellum period or as a contributing factor to the “Civil War.” All they know is that only “neo-Confederate”, racist, uneducated dopes believe in …more

The United States of Confederate America?

Several people sent me a link to a recent Atlantic article tilted, “The United States of Confederate America.” I had to cover it on The Brion McClanahan Show. The piece is an example of the absolute disdain the progressive left has for rural America, specifically white, high-school educated, middle and lower middle class Americas. These are the “deplorables,” the rural Americans that cling to their …more