Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

How Little Has Changed!

...Krauthammer observes. There’s a lot of continuity we can believe in when it comes to Obama’s policies as commander-in-chief. Our president knows the difference between his moralistic rhetoric (which seems to be serving its purpose) and what he actually has to do to preserve, protect, and defend. From this view, as Steve claims in the thread, Cheney’s manly and thoughtful defenses of Bush’s policies might actually serve as needed and often heeded advice to Obama. The Democratic members of Congress, intellectuals, talking heads and such are another matter entirely.

Discussions - 8 Comments

Well, my point was that Cheney may function as the president's drover with the Democratic left.

We'll see if this president sees it ">">"> this way. Walter Berns on Locke's "prerogative."

John Locke, the 17th century Englishman sometimes referred to as "America's philosopher"?

By whom? Locke was the father of the French Revolution, not the American. Rousseau spoke of him glowingly. The Founders, not so much.

Berns' piece was laughable. Do you really want to argue that the President (Obama, for instance) has the right to suspend habeas corpus at his own discretion and declare martial law?

John M, John Locke is without a doubt very influencial on the thinking of many founding fathers of the american revolution. I don't know that I agree with this author but Dworetz "Unvarnished Doctrine" might be worth reading.

Now it may be that Locke was also influencial in the french revolution, but I am not commited to the level of delusion necessary for putting foward so bold a suggestion as to think that a little Emile and the 2nd treatise, had more to do with events in france than cahiers de doleance, la bastile, the physiocrats, Candide, Descartes, Lebniz, the selling of noble titles, the rising bourgeoisie, John Calvin, the nature of catholicism and the 2nd estate....

In many ways if the puritans in the United States are decendents of Calvin, then the other half of the united States was probably Locke(Jefferson, Franklin)? Jefferson and Franklin certainly have something to say about both revolutions... It is possible that the radical division between the two revolutions had more to do about the fact that one nation had no history, open land and relative equality or its potential, while another had considerable history and infinite tennis courts worth of cahier de doleance. The United States had grievances against England, the French had grievances against the french.

In keeping with the topic of the thread you might say that the French Revolution came about because Louis the XVI was incompetent in excercising Lockeian perogative.

Or that even Locke understood the need for a strong executive, and might have even understood it better than Hobbes. In this sense of Lockean perogative Alexander Hamilton is more Lockean than Thomas Jefferson(albeit Jefferson did buy Louisiana, due in part to the french revolution!)

It is hard to say because perogative is a question of judgement or necessity about which no apriori rules or outlines are capable for guiding action.

In some sense to say that the French Revolution or the American Revolution is capable of being boilled down to Rousseau or Locke is to ignore Lockeian perogative, or to reduce to a formula an entire body of history. Thus writting history like writting law of necessity cuts out that which it cannot include for the sake of being able to say something coherent.

Lockeian perogative is in some sense also the necessity of action on behalf of the executive, the necessity for acting quickly, for determining how much of a map is required for action.

In this sense even if a wise historian or philosopher advocated the idea that the french revolution could be understood with reference to Rousseau I might wonder how this helps Louis XVI escape Paris. Indeed you can almost wonder if Louis XVI might not have been better educated as Emile was, in opposition to the "serious" education he received in history, geography and Latin. Indeed did not his "serious" education itself not serve to structure his thinking and turn him more to locks(not Locke) than to bedding Marie Antoinette, which in turn egged on scorn and derision which trickled down from court to the bourgoisie via the original yellow journalist Danton?

From a lack of Lockeian perogative(foresight), in terms of education on the part of Louis XV(who favored his elder son who died) and in thus following the conservative notions of education Louis XVI was raised in opposition to Emile in such a way that set him up for failure at the hands of Danton's pen.

YES, because Lincoln did it so it must be great.

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