on authority [and rousseau’s fork]

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ Hannah Arendt maintained that one has authority, when one commands obedience from others, not by exercising power over them, but because they recognize and respect one’s right to do so. [1] To accept authority, then, is to accept hierarchy, which, in turn, is to accept a substantial if not formal... Continue Reading →

Politics as Religion

by Mark English In a recent piece, I referred to a dispute between Hannah Arendt and Jules Monnerot that brought into sharp relief some perennially important – and contentious – questions about the nature of politics and political commitment. In the late 1940's, Monnerot had written a book which characterized communism as a secular religion,... Continue Reading →

Citizen Solidarity and Liberal Society

by Daniel A. Kaufman In his essay, “See Something?  Don’t Say Anything,” Dan Tippens has broached an essential subject.  For a liberal society to survive, a healthy space must be maintained between the state and the citizenry.  That space is filled with the elements of civil society, by which I mean the voluntary associations and... Continue Reading →

Reason and the Post-Human

by Daniel A. Kaufman In “Excessive Reason,” an essay I published in these pages last year, I argued that mainline philosophy is characterized by a pervasive and systematic rationalism, the main characteristics of which I summarized as follows: The acceptability of a belief, activity, practice, institution, etc., rests entirely on whether or not it can... Continue Reading →

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