Johnston: The soldier for the future

October 31, 2008 • 1
The oppressed rarely have weapons to combat their oppressors. The great insight of liberalism is that ideas have power. Liberalism arms the oppressed with the doctrine of individual rights. Thus strengthened, the oppressed assert their rights against the whims of abusive, corrupt or decadent power structures. If the rebellion of the oppressed is quashed, the »

Johnston: Liberalism, sovereignty

October 24, 2008 • 4
Since the end of World War II, and with particular intensity after the fall of the Soviet Union, national political systems the world over have reformed themselves to better resemble those of the United States and Western Europe. In political theory, this transformation has been described as the advance of “liberal democracy.” The transformation is »

Johnston: The exodus of conservatism

October 10, 2008 • 7
The election of Barack Obama may mark the end of political conservatism in America. This is not to say that the Republican Party will not return to power. Nor is it to say that the era of free-markets is over, that the people will stop voting for tax-cuts, that politicians will cease lambasting government. Though »

Johnston: Secularlism foreign to Islam

September 26, 2008 • 6
Recent debate in these pages concerning the nature of secularism reflects a fundamental uncertainty within the Christian intellectual tradition. Though modern Christians are often wary of a secularism that precludes religious discourse in the public sphere, it cannot be denied that the development of the modern notion of secularism was made possible by the history »

Johnston: The beauty of tragedy

September 19, 2008 • 2
N ietzsche describes Greek tragedy as a union of two divine forces: the Apollonian and the Dionysian. The Apollonian is found in the dream of a well-ordered world. It is the force of harmony, clarity, beauty, and individuation. The Dionysian reflects a darker, primal side of human nature. Revealed in intoxication, it is chaotic, orgiastic, »

Johnston: Breeding bias

September 10, 2008 • 4
It is pretty hard to deny a leftward bias in the news media these days. On the one hand, the National Enquirer reported that the former vice-presidential nominee of the Democratic Party had an affair, and the media studiously ignored the story for months, even through his second presidential campaign. When he finally admitted to »

Johnston: Salovey falsely revises ‘liberty’

September 3, 2008 • 0
At last Saturday’s Convocation, Dean Salovey offered a challenge and a promise to freshmen. Entitled “A Contrarian Education,” his speech challenged freshmen to depart, in their academic endeavors, from that which is popular and easy. If they were to accept the challenge—to “‘zag’ when [their] classmates ‘zig’”—a world of opportunities would open to them, and »

May Obama’s ‘patriotism’ exclude — patriots?

August 29, 2008 • 5
SIGHISOARA, Romania — Although the immediate surrounding of this medieval Saxon town monumentalizes an intimidating communist aesthetic insensitivity, the nearby countryside offers quaint pastoral scenes and boundless opportunity for travelers to interact with the Romanian locals. Thus, my father and I hoped for a taste of pre-modern life when we drive into the remote village »

Yale officials prolong circuitous blame game

April 24, 2008 • 8
It is becoming increasingly difficult to determine who to believe in the controversy surrounding Aliza Shvarts’ art project. On the one hand, the projects’ status as “performance art” means that Shvarts might feel justified in constructing and disseminating a fictional narrative with respect to the activities implicated in the project. Indeed, in comparing the first »

If autonomy justifies art, feminists ought not object

April 18, 2008 • 11
There is a brand of feminism that criticizes prostitution and pornography when the women involved participate out of economic necessity. The theory is that economic pressure can undermine the necessary conditions of autonomy by coercing a woman into an activity that she would not otherwise choose. What is more, the market realities of prostitution and »

When the right goes left, nowhere left to turn

April 16, 2008 • 3
Those on the right are positively giddy about the protracted race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Their pleasure is the result, most obviously, of the opportunity cost that Democrats incur in the race. Clinton and Obama are forced to use their messages and expenditures to undermine one another »

In liberal circles, Great Society rhetoric lingers

April 2, 2008 • 1
At their inception, the social programs of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society reflected the confidence of American liberalism. Theoretically, they would apply the findings of social science to reduce poverty, crime and other social problems. In so doing, they would finally deliver on the federal government’s purpose of creating a “more perfect Union.” But as the »