A Definition of the New Conservatism and Claremont’s Role In It

Laura Field recently posted a summary of and links to the discussions of Trump by those affiliated with the Claremont Institute. Their unabashed and even enthusiastic support of Trump has perplexed many who were sympathetic to and even supportive of Claremont’s mission prior to their Trumpian term. Why were they supporting a man who seemed so contrary to their prior celebration of and veneration for the American tradition of prudence as represented by someone like Abraham Lincoln? I suppose Lincoln and Trump both believe in America…but what else do they have in common? Why were they defending a man who … Continue reading A Definition of the New Conservatism and Claremont’s Role In It

Civic Education and Civic Virtue

An upcoming AEI event, Recovering republican virtue in a fractured age, puts these questions front and center. In the first essay of the “Federalist Papers,” Alexander Hamilton noted that it fell to the American people to decide “whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.” To secure the former would depend on cultivating a kind of public-spiritedness now commonly referred to as “republican virtue.” But what exactly is republican virtue? How should it intersect with … Continue reading Civic Education and Civic Virtue

On Civic Education

Ben Kleinerman recently posted a link to an article about the Jack Miller Center, its programs, and its grants which include funding for this publication. The organization is a wonderful success story for American civic education and I am delighted to be affiliated with it and pleased that Ben has highlighted it. However, I don’t think that Ben does justice to the excellence of the Jack Miller Center effort or to our aspirations for this site. Ben’s description would likely resonate well with many affiliated with these efforts — so my criticism is not of Ben, personally, but of the … Continue reading On Civic Education

Closing Thoughts on Impeachment: Bad Precedents

The impeachment trial included several arguments that should not be allowed to calcify into constitutional precedents. They should, instead, be treated like Lincoln treated Dred Scott: as pertaining to the immediate case but open to challenge in future ones. To wit: Impeachment as Criminal Trial: Trump’s defenders argued that his behavior did not meet the criminal definition of incitement. But he was never charged with a criminal offense that threatened his liberty. He was, rather, impeached through a political process whose sole object—and whose framework of discussion—should have distilled to one question: Did it serve the public good for Trump to be convicted … Continue reading Closing Thoughts on Impeachment: Bad Precedents

Article about the Jack Miller Center (our sponsor)

This is a very good article about the Foundation which sponsors theconstitutionalist.org . They show it’s possible to be a partisan of the American tradition without being a partisan for either political party now. They’re doing it the right way. Investing in professors committed to teaching these things in a way that doesn’t become indoctrination. Building programs on campus through the professors with whom they have relationships. Continue reading Article about the Jack Miller Center (our sponsor)

Varieties of Trumpism and the Class Divide

Dan McLaughlin at the National Review has this piece breaking down the varieties of Trumpism and what they mean for the future of the Republican party. It’s a helpful typology, indicating both where Trumpism has a future, even one that is politically salutary, and where it does not. I found his discussion of “common-man Trumpism” especially illuminating. He writes: ‘The divide in class attitudes is much starker than in the social-egalitarian world described by Alexis de Tocqueville in his travels across 1830s America, and many educated, professional Americans don’t even see it.” This is the aspect of Trumpism that isn’t … Continue reading Varieties of Trumpism and the Class Divide

Sticky post

Some Links, re: The Claremont Institute

The Claremont Institute, home to the notorious “Flight 93 Election,” has published some bizarre essays lately, which, given what they’ve gotten up to in the past, is really saying something. I have in mind Charles Kesler’s non-apologia about Trump and January 6, which readers can find in the current edition of the Claremont Review of Books, Michael Anton’s non-apologia about Trump and January 6 (same place), and Arthur Milikh’s recent announcement of Claremont’s new Center for “The American Way of Life.” There is a lot a person could say about this group. Many of its affiliates were supporters of Trump, … Continue reading Some Links, re: The Claremont Institute

Democracy and the Constitution

David Frum has an excellent essay at The Atlantic, The Founders were Wrong about Democracy. The Constitution was meant to cultivate complex majorities rather than empower minority rule. Yet Frum is right to ask whether devices meant to channel and refine popular understandings have empowered minority rule. In many instances, they clearly have. But Frum pushes further, asking whether these devices create disorder and instability. Would we better off with simple majority rule on a host of issues? Frum makes a powerful case that “The United States in the 21st century has reached a point where the best way to attain the … Continue reading Democracy and the Constitution

The Limits of Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell’s speech after the vote to acquit Donald Trump was astounding. It was so damning and unequivocal in endorsing the case that Trump had indeed abused his office by inciting an insurrection that many of us stared at the television in disbelief. How could a Senator vote to acquit if he was so prepared and persuaded to make an argument as compelling the House manager’s own closing speeches? The fact of McConnell’s speech will help render the historical meaning of this impeachment different from all prior presidential impeachments. Trump may have been acquitted. But he lost. He lost big. … Continue reading The Limits of Mitch McConnell

Why only one Article of Impeachment?

Although much of the case against Trump rests on more than just his incitement of the attack on the capitol, the House only brought over one Article of Impeachment all of which revolves around the incitement charge. In their case to the Senate, they show all of the other things Trump did leading up to that day and in its aftermath later in the day. His complete failure to mobilize any response to the attack is one of the most obvious cases of dereliction of duty by any President ever. My Constitutionalist colleague Jeff Tulis and his co-author Bill Kristol … Continue reading Why only one Article of Impeachment?