Madison as the Virtuous Mean

I had this essay at National Review last weekend. It’s a foray into the populism/conservatism wars. I remain unconvinced that populism is conceptually compatible with conservatism, but the alternative doesn’t have to be either aristocratic elitism or technocratic expertise. Madison’s republicanism, which uses public opinion as raw material but “refine[s] and enlarge[s]” it, is a middle ground. Continue reading Madison as the Virtuous Mean

Populism and Condescension, Part II

Today’s Washington Post carries the story of a Utah man, reportedly a sometime left-wing activist, who was inside the Capitol during the insurrection. Rep. Mo Brooks and Rudy Giuliani have climbed down from the President’s lap long enough to use this as supposed evidence that the insurrection was actually an Antifa operation. That fantasy deserves no attention, but this does: Were it true, what would it say about the Trump supporters who marauded through the Capitol, apparently not only blindly devoted to the President but also blindly obeying the manipulative directions of their political enemies? The fact that Brooks and Giuliani see … Continue reading Populism and Condescension, Part II

Populism and Condescension

Josh Hawley, the Missouri Republican who entered the U.S. Senate with intellectual chops that he has largely forsaken in favor of opportunistic populism, announced today that he will lodge a pro forma objection when Congress meets to certify Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory next week. He notes, correctly, that Democrats have done so before, including in 2016. But Hawley’s reasons merit notice: He plans to complain not just about alleged irregularities in some states but also about “the unprecedented interference of Big Tech monopolies in the election.” Hawley has previously raised reasonable concerns about whether social media companies that exercise … Continue reading Populism and Condescension