John F. Kennedy: Inaugural Address

jfk-inauguration_31390John F. Kennedy was elected as the 35th president of the United States after a narrow victory over Richard Nixon. This marked the first Roman Catholic to be elected president and the youngest ever elected to office. On Friday, January 20th, 1961, John F. Kennedy gave his inaugural address on the eastern portico of the U.S. Capital building, having almost been cancelled after a fierce Nor’easter the day before and the work of thousands of individuals the day of the inaugural address to clear Pennsylvania Ave.

The pre-inaugural ball was organized and hosted by Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford.

Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, reverend clergy, fellow citizens, we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom — symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning — signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago.

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do — for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom — and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required, not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge — to convert our good words into good deeds in a new alliance for progress — to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.

To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support — to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective — to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.

Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request — that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.

We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.

But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course — both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final war.

So let us begin anew, remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah — to “undo the heavy burdens…and let the oppressed go free.”

And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.

All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

Now the trumpet summons us again — not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need — not as a call to battle, though embattled we are — but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation” — a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility — I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.

President John F. Kennedy – January 20, 1961

William F. Buckley Jr. – The Maker of a Movement by Lee Edwards: Quotations

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Truly, there are few people who brought together the conservative movement so forcefully and so cleverly and with so much wit than William F. Buckley Jr.. In Lee Edwards’ biography of William F. Buckley Jr., he is able to trace not only the threads that made the man of the popular television show, Firing Line, but also the threads of a family man, capable of uniting the conservative philosophy during some of America’s darkest times, and leading that movement to the pinnacle of Ronald Reagan.

Below are a few quotations from Lee Edwards and his many references surrounding the life of one of the conservative movement’s greatest men.

 


Preface:

“If I’m still famous, try to convince the cardinal to do the service at St. Patrick’s. If I’m not, just tuck me away in Stamford.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 11

“Buckley and National Review did more than yell ‘Stop!’ at history; they turned it around, first of all by establishing a coherent and respectable conservativism.” – Michael Barone

“We must do what we can to bring hammer blows against the bell jar that protects the dreamers from reality. The ideal scenario is that pounding from without we can effect resonances, which will one day crack through to the latent impulses of those who dream within bringing to life a circuit which will spare the republic.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 12

Chapter 1 – Growing Up Conservative

“There was nothing complicated about Father’s theory of child-rearing. He brought up his sons and daughters to be absolutely perfect.” – Aloise Buckley Heath, Oldest Daughter of Buckley Senior

“What education did not occur in the classroom, writes Buckley biographer John B. Judis, took place at the dinner table. The father made the children defend their intellectual and political positions.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 18

“The dominant personality of the family was “Father” – Will Buckley, who loved America, trusted the free market, and hated communism with equal passion. He detested Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. He did not try to mold his children into exact copies of himself, but saw to it that they were prepared, intellectually and morally, to make a difference in whatever profession they chose.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 19

“He worshiped three earthly things: learning, beauty, and his family.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 19

“I found that there were actually very few prerequisites to the good friend: he had to have a good sense of humor, a pleasant personality and a certain number of common interests.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 26

“He prevailed and learned a key lesson: editorial control of a newspaper, or a magazine, must rest with one person, not a board.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 29

“The answer [to restlessness of young intellects], philosophically, was a combination of conservatism, with its emphasis on order and custom, and libertarianism, with its belief in individual freedom.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 30

“We deeply bemoan our inability to allure without antagonizing, to seduce without violating. Especially because we believe in what we preached and would have liked very much for our vision to have been contagious.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 30

“They [the Yale debate team] were extremely effective and dedicated, and struck some of us as rather unusual that people of their relatively young years could be so fiercely ideological. Many of us wished that we could be as certain about anything as they were about everything.” – Alan Finberg, pg. 31

“While conceding the validity of academic freedom for a professor’s research, Buckley insisted that the professor did not have the right to inseminate into the minds of his students values that were counter to the values of the parents paying his salary.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 44

“He said that the faculty members who fostered atheism and socialism ought to be fired, because the primary goal of education is to familiarize students with an existing body of truth, of which Christianity and free enterprise are the foundations.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 44

“Individualism is dying at Yale, and without a fight.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 44

“[Intercollegiate Studies Institute:] to promote among college students, specifically, and the public, generally, an understanding of and appreciation for the Constitution of the United States of America, laissez-faire (free market) economics and the doctrine of individualism.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 48

“Then and always, Buckley honored the principle of standing by your friends and colleagues when they are under attack.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 51

Chapter 2 – Getting it Right

“May it (National Review) become a mighty factor in saving our country from further follies of collectivism and the communist menace behind them.” – Robert Welch pg. 56

“That is what conservatives must decide, how much to give in order to survive at all; how much to give in order not to give up the basic principles.” – Whittaker Chambers, pg. 61

“[H]e would assess a political situation as accurately as he could and then take corrective action.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 61

“Chambers argues that America faces a transcendent, not transitory, crisis; that the crisis is not one of politics or economics but of faith.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 63

“Chambers writes that Communism is “the central experience of the first half of the 20th century, and may be its final experience” unless the free world discovers a “power of faith” that will provide two certainties: “a reason to live and a reason to die.”” – Lee Edwards, pg. 63

“Buckley performed like ‘Braveheart,’ lopping off the heads of one faculty lord and knight after another… It was a devastating performance, an inspiration.” – Campaigne, pg. 69

“I will use my power as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 71

“Editor Buckley clearly had certain goals in mind for his magazine: keep the Republican Party – the primary political vehicle of conservatives – tilted to the right; eliminate any and all extremists from the conservative movement; flay and fleece the liberals at every opportunity; and push hard for a policy of victory over Communism in the Cold War.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 72

“Careful to protect the advances that had been made, Buckley acted decisively when he saw it necessary to dissociate the conservatives movement from the irresponsible Right.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 77

“The problem of assigning priorities to the two objectives is not merely a problem of intellectual discrimination, but of moral balance.” – William F. Buckley, Social Security versus Communism, pg. 79

“You have once again given a voice to the conscience of conservationism.” – Ronald Reagan, pg. 82

“What a great heart – eager to spread joy, and ready to share grief.” – Joe Sobran, pg. 84

“I learned a lot of things from Bill Buckley, but the best thing he taught me was how to be a Christian.” – Joe Sobran, pg. 84

“[B]efore the conservative movement could be a major player in American politics: it had to be philosophically united.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 86

“Freedom, Meyer argued, was the indispensable condition for the pursuit of virtue. Freedom was the ultimate political end of man as man.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 87

“For a few stunning days, early in November in 1965, the freedom fighters of Budapest held the entire Communist world at bay. America was struck by the intensity – and efficacy – of the anti-Communist spirit, and we were breathless with wonder and admiration. But in the end, we did nothing. ‘For a while,’ Mr. Eugene Lyons, a wise and veteran American anti-Communist, remarked to me, ‘it looked almost as though Budapest would liberate the United States.'” – William F. Buckley, pg. 90

Chapter 3 – Cruising Speed

“He knows he’s quick, but doubts he’s deep.” – William Rickenbacker (Concerning Buckley)

“The grief was spontaneous and, in most cases, wholly sincere. Not because Mr. Kennedy’s policies were so universally beloved, but because he was a man so intensely charming, whose personal vigor and robust enjoyment of life so invigorated almost all who beheld him.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 95

“Buckley argued that if conservatives in politics wanted to be successful they had to steer a middle course between the ideal and the prudential.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 100

“Along with T.S. Elliot, he believed that there are not permanent defeats because there are not permanent victories.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 100

“Bill knew that if conservativism had any future, it had to be a hard political movement as well as a soft intellectual movement.” – John O’Sullivan, pg. 104

“No, I think I’ll just contemplate the great eloquence of my previous remarks.” – William F. Buckley (When asked if he had any further comments during a debate for Mayor of New York City)

“If the whole world were to be covered with asphalt, one day a crack would appear in the asphalt; and in that crack grass would grow.” – Ilya Ehrenburg (In defense of Boris Pasternak)

“The effect was as if Sir Hartley Shawcross had suddenly risen from the prosecutor’s stand at Nurembur and descended to embrace Goering and Goebbels and Doenitz and Hess, begging them to join him in the making of a better world.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 116

“The United Nations is the most concentrated assault on moral reality in the history of free institutions.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 116

“It is not wide of the historical mark to say that during the years Firing Line has been produced, socialism has collapsed.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 125

“His son, Christopher, wrote that his father’s greatness “was of a piece with the way he conducted himself at sea.” Great men, he said, “always have too much sail up.” They take great risks and they are ever impatient – for the next adventure.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 127

“[I]t was the voyage, not the stopping.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 127

Chapter 4 – The Builder

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” – Thomas Paine, pg. 131

“Communism is theoretically and empirically dead.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 131

“[T]here are no signs at all that God is dead. He appears to have survived even Vatican II.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 131

“Is it a third party that we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all the issues troubling the people?” – Ronald Reagan, pg. 132

“I’ll lay me down and bleed awhile; though I am wounded, I am not slain. I shall rise and fight again.” – Old Scottish Ballad, pg. 133

“The best thing Buckley did was bugging me into hiring a guy named Tony Dolan.” – Bill Casey, pg. 135

“I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 138

“Nothing of that size and force and sweep could have been created over a weekend or even a week or two by the assorted mullahs and miseries of our times.” – Washington Post (On the Conservative Movement) pg. 139

“He was determined not to be cut off from old friends, even if he did not necessarily take their advice.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 141

“What we do not need is anything that suggests that human freedom is going to lead us to Utopia.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 144

“To venerate life is to attach to it first importance. Surely if we were all to do that, any talk of war, just or unjust, prudent or imprudent, limited or unlimited, provoked or unprovoked, would be an exercise in moral atavism.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 145

“What the opponents of Robert Bork are saying comes down to this: (1) We believe in an activist court that does not hesitate to write social policy. (2) But that social policy must be what we favor; for which reason, (3) Bork the legal scholar, the veteran teacher, administrator and judge, is not fit to serve.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 149

“There were two overriding factors that would ultimately save Clinton in the Lewinsky affair: his wife and a broad cultural shift in the American public that predisposed it to go easy on him.” – Legacy, pg. 159

“The task ahead is to reconstruct our basic allegiance to what is right.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 160

“Any failures by beneficiaries of the free world to recognize what we have here over against what it is [, the communists,] would impose on us, amounts to a moral and intellectual nihilism.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 164

“You and I remember a time of the forest primeval, a time when nightmare and danger reigned and only the knights of darkness prevailed; when conservatives seemed without a champion. And then, suddenly riding up through the lists, came our clipboard-bearing Galahad: ready to take on any challengers in the critical battle of point and counter-point. And, with grace and humor and passion, to raise a standard to which patriots and lovers of freedom could repair.” – Ronald Reagan, 30th Anniversary of National Review, pg. 165

Chapter 5 – Last Things

“It had to be that the offense was critical, that the defense was appropriate, that the violence was proportional.” – William F. Buckley, pg. 172

“We may say that we shall not abuse this astonishing and hitherto unheard of power. But every other nation will think we shall abuse it. IT is impossible but that, sooner or later, this state of things must produce a combination against us which may end in ruin.” – Edmund Burke, On British Foreign Power

“[B]ringing democracy to the Arab world is akin to making bricks without straw.” – Andrew Bacevich, pg. 174

“One of the era’s greatest illusions was spun by President Bush – that the force of freedom was so irresistible, it would prevail in a place like Iraq even in the absence of law and order.” – Rich Lowry, pg. 178

Peter Robinson: “Bill, you were born wealthy and you’ve been famous thirty years. Why do you keep working so hard?”

William F. Buckley (looking surprised): “My father taught me that I owe it to my country. It’s how I pay my debt.” – pg. 178

“I would go to bed tired each night and come down for breakfast at eight each morning, and he would already be up in the study, attacking the next chapter, Bach on the stereo, sailboats bobbing in the water down below.” – Anthony Dick pg. 185-186

“When the young man remarked how nice it must be, doing the things he loved, Buckley quickly corrected him. He found writing increasingly difficult. Nor did he love politics, which he said was awash in sordidness and banality. He would much prefer to read or sail or visit friends, but he stayed at work – echoing what he had told Peter Robinson and others – out of a sense of duty to his country, to repay civilization for all the beauty it had given him, and to resist the designs of those “who would push the tentacles of politics even further into our lives.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 186

Coda

“He brought them all together into a unified movement by pointing out they all had the same enemy – the liberals.” – William A. Rusher, pg. 189

“He did it all. He combined George Will, the columnist; Rush Limbaugh, the voice; Tim Russert, the interviewer; Ann Coulter, the liberals’ bete noir; and Tom Clancy, the novelist.” – Rich Lowry, pg. 189

“He viewed Communism as the great enemy of America and the West, an enemy to be defeated, not accommodated.” – Lee Edwards, pg. 190

A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy by Harvey C. Mansfield: Quotations

9781497645103-book-coverIn A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, an essay by Dr. Harvey Mansfield for Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), we are given an introductory exploration of the history of political thought in the search to solve the problem of partisanship. While acknowledging the brevity of the essay, Mansfield introduces the core differences in the method, available questions, and effects of what has become a competition between modern political science – and their attempt to reduce all political investigation into statements of fact – and political philosophy – and their attempt to overcome partisanship by enriching our vocabulary to allow for “the best” forms of government. He provides this sketch of political history by tracing a silver line from Socrates to Rousseau and onward to Kant. The culminating issue is that in the pursuit for solutions to partisanship, we often turn to political science and its attempts to provide non-controversial, or non-partisan, answers, and in doing so we introduce a theory (or theories) which reduce mankind to a principle insufficient for encompassing the many faucets of human living. We often trade what is practical for what is wise.


“You should spend much more time with the great authors than with the professors, and you should use the professors to help you understand the great authors; you should not allow yourself to be diverted or distracted from the great books by the professors.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 1

“But politics and political philosophy have one thing in common, and that is argument.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 2

“Arguments, good or bad, are made with reasons and so are aimed implicitly, if not usually, at a reasonable judge. Here is where political philosophy enters.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 2

“That political science, which dominates political political science departments today, is a rival to political philosophy. Instead of addressing the partisan issues of citizens and politicians, it avoids them and replaces their words with scientific terms. Rather than good, just, and noble, you hear political scientists of this kind speaking of utility or preferences.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 4

“Political philosophy seeks to judge political partisans, but to do so it must enter into political debate.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 5

“Being involved in partisan dispute does not make the political philosopher fall victim to relativism, for the relativism so fashionable today is a sort of lazy dogmatism.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 5

“Political philosophy reaches for the best regime, a regime so good that it can hardly exist. Political science advances a theory – in fact, a number of theories – that promises to bring agreement and put an end to partisan dispute. The one rises above partisanship, the other, as we shall see, undercuts it.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 6

“Today political science is often said to be “descriptive” or “empirical,” concerned with facts; political philosophy is called “normative” because it expresses values. But these terms merely repeat in more abstract form the difference between political science, which seeks agreement, and political philosophy, which seeks the best.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 6

“Socrates was the first to call philosophy down from heaven, place it in cities and homes, and compel it to inquire about life and morals as well as good things and bad.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy (Paraphrasing Cicero), pg. 9

“The rhetoricians taught students to argue both sides of any question, regardless of justice. They assumed, like the pre-Socratic philosophers, that justice is a matter of law or custom (nomos), that it has no definition of its own but only reflects the dominating will of a master or ruler.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 10

“Perhaps the most obvious evidence of natural justice is our believe in it, or rather our belief in injustice.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 10

“Anger always comes with reason; an angry person may not stop to express it, but if he had the time and the ability, he could say why he’s angry.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 11

“Anger is the animus behind unjust partisanship, as when you wrongly feel you deserve something; but it is also the animus behind just partisanship, when you are rightly incensed.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 11

“But evil has a finger on the good; though it cannot grasp the good, evil cannot help admitting that the good is superior because that is what even evil wants.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 12

“You cannot have an argument unless you share a concern for some common good, such as justice, about which you are arguing. The possibility of natural justice makes politics interesting; without that, politics is only about winners and losers.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 12

“Instead of directly questioning the authority of the god, Socrates uses the god’s authority to question the authority of the gods.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 13

“It’s as if when the law tells you to obey, it is actually, through the implied reasons for its commands, allowing you to talk back rather than simply obey.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 13 – 14

“He (Aristotle) compares the political philosopher to a gym teacher who betters the condition of average bodies as well as the best, and who, while leading the exercise of his pupils, also gets some for himself incidentally, as it were.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 14

“Human nature includes both the freedom and the necessity to construct a regime, for we could not have freedom if nature had done everything for us.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 18

“A political constitution is neither entirely natural nor entirely artificial. If it were entirely natural, there would be only one regime corresponding with human nature: and we would have no freedom to choose the direction of our politics. If it were entirely artificial, we would have no guide for our choice: and the only freedom would be for the first maker, who gets to impose his creation until some other maker comes along.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 19

“One must distinguish between what is by nature, in which we have no choice, and what is according to nature, the standard by which we choose.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 19

“Democracy is based on our natural equality, since there are many important respects in which human beings are equal; all have reason, for one. But oligarchy is based on human inequality, for which there is also ample evidence; for instance, the superiority in reason of a few over the many.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 19 – 20

“A choice is not a choice without a reason, he (Aristotle) says, but when you give a reason, you say why something is good for you – and for others like yourself.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy (on how subjective experiences infer universal claims), pg. 20

“A principle of rule is part rational, part conventional; what is natural has to be completed by what is conventional, and what is conventional has to be guided by the natural.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 21

“But from the standpoint of the philosophical tradition, one may hold that any nation having had contact with Greek philosophy or science belongs to the West.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 24

“But Augustine wanted to make the point that moral virtue, contrary to Aristotle’s glowing picture, is always tainted with human self-interest, and always in need of God’s grace. Just as for Plato the only true virtue is philosophic, so for Augustine, true virtue is Christian.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 24

“Human partisanship arising from sin has its own correction, both natural and divine, in the conscience.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 26

“Nature, he (Aquinas) thought, was created by God in such a way that its order can be understood by human reason unassisted by Christian revelation.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 27

“But just as God’s grace adds to nature, Christian truth completes natural truth without changing it.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 27

“Whereas natural justice takes effect through the regime, natural law sets the basis for regimes and so precedes the regime.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 28

“Aristotle did not speak of a conscience in all, nor of a universal natural inclination to virtue, as did Aquinas.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 29

“Somehow the fruits of science in these regimes were poison to liberty.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 30

“The Church caused weakness, he (Machiavelli) believed, by teaching men to despise worldly glory and to seek salvation in humble contemplation instead of manly virtue.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 32

“For Machiavelli, as opposed to Aristotle, there is no contest as to who should rule, but only a conflict between those who want to rule and those who do not want to be ruled.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 34

“Hobbes never gave much of a proof that all men are equal, but he launched the assumption that they can be taken to be equal.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 37

“(Hobbes believed …) Sovereignty needs to be absolute. Any limitation of its power would in effect divide power against itself and return the people to the state of nature they had wished to escape.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 39

“Whereas Machiavelli reduced partisan opinions to two humors underlying them, Hobbes took the reduction one step further and found one fundamental factor: the “passion to be relied upon,” that is, fear.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 39

“Here Hobbes departs from Machiavelli, who had looked for princes to inspire fear. Hobbes looks for subjects who feel fear.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 40

“The moderation, I would say, consists in not seeking a perfect substitute for the virtue that the ancients (variously) described, but in continuing to leave opportunity for virtue. America has been more successful than other regimes by not trying to guarantee success.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 42

“[W]hen you do not rely on virtue, you have to make a new man.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 42

“Disgust with the bourgeoisie became the theme of Western culture as society divided into those who made money and those (on both Left and Right) who despised money-making.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 47

“Boredom is a modern affliction that comes with modern rationality. As life is made more predicable and secure, it becomes mediocre, uninteresting, and lacking in risk or challenge.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 47

“It [Modern thought] does not wonder whether it was a mistake to seek greater rational control over events and for this purpose to invent theories that oversimplify human nature.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 47

“Science can enslave us as well as liberate us.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 48

“They (post-moderns) are too attached to the power and comforts of science to reject it, and they content themselves with biting the hand that feeds them.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 48

“What the moderns did not attempt was to put reason and nature together, as did the ancients, so that reason sees both the greatness and the limitation of human beings. So we are let as we are now: rather small creatures with too much power. We have simultaneously belittled ourselves and empowered ourselves.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 50

“In history you learn facts; you don’t study natures. A fact is how things have turned out; nature is about how things have to be.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 50

“You can see, for example, that you have lost a battle, but whether you deserve to lose is arguable, and from the standpoint of the fact, useless.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 50

“Tocqueville reproved the sort of democratic history that subjects human events to impersonal forces over which men have no control land that levels mankind to a herd of impotent individuals.” – Harvey C. Mansfield, A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, pg. 51

Reflections on The John Jay Institute – A Speech

“[We therefore must] find work that only a knight can do – to find a land of trouble and fear, someplace where little children cannot play in safety, where some woman may have been carried from her home, where perhaps there are dragons left to be slain.” – St. George and the Dragon

Throughout my term, and I hope to the amusement of my classmates, I have smuggled a thought or two from the insightful G.K. Chesterton in each of our classes. And so, quite naturally, I have wondered why I should break that habit now.

Chesterton writes,

It is very hard for a man to defend anything of which he is entirely convinced. It is comparatively easy when he is only partially convinced. He is partially convinced because he has found this or that proof of the thing, and he can expound it. But a man is not really convinced of a philosophic theory when he finds that something proves it. He is only really convinced when he finds that everything proves it. And the more converging reasons he finds pointing to this conviction, the more bewildered he is if asked suddenly to sum them up. Thus, if one asked an ordinary intelligent man, on the spur of the moment, “Why do you prefer civilization to savagery?” he would look wildly round at object after object, and would only be able to answer vaguely, “Why, there is that bookcase . . . and the coals in the coal-scuttle . . . and pianos . . . and policemen.” The whole case for civilization is that the case for it is complex. It has done so many things. But that very multiplicity of proof which ought to make reply overwhelming makes reply impossible.”

In reflecting over my time at The John Jay Institute, I am left in quite the same conundrum. I am left grasping for object after object. Why, there is that corpus of tried-and true books that serves the core of our curriculum; there is the community of Christianity, almost celestial, between Catholics of differing orders and Protestants of differing ranks; and the Alumni group which has, and has continued, to serve the needs of our Fellowship, be it in the capacity of alumni or professor.

But there is something more I’d like to share, something that spurs one to attempt, as Chesterton himself, a reply beyond the impossible. To give something greater than those afternoon teas when we laughed until we cried, or those evenings when we cried until we laughed. Something greater than merely our unique moments where our personal and spiritual and academic lives converged into community.

That something is the goal in which The John Jay Institute has been established to pursue. They have not merely formed a vision, but have turned that vision into something tangible: an object to be grasped, an idea to be applied, a virtue to be lived out in our contemplative and missionary lives. “It is said that physicians sometimes ask patients, ‘Do you really wish to get well?’ And, to be perfectly realistic in this matter, we must put the question of whether modern civilization wishes to survive.” (Richard Weaver) The John Jay Institute has given a corpus to that question, a voice to the flesh and blood, to go out into the world and proclaim that fateful question to our leaders and to our society. Do you want our civilization to survive, and are you prepared to make the necessary sacrifices?

To be a part of something such as that, something so vast and so impossible yet at the same time most valuable, I will always be thankful.

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Understanding the Foundations of Economics Book Lists by Henry Hazlitt

In Henry Hazlitt’s book, Economics in One Lesson, he introduces us to the single lesson to root out many common and, unfortunately, seemingly complex fallacies in economic thinking. His one lesson:

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”

shopify_book_covers_Econ_in_One_Lesson_largeThe rest of his book progresses from the simple, practical, and tangible to the complex, abstract, and removed problems that face economists daily. Without complicating his one lesson, he shows that much of today’s economic policies fallaciously  seek the approval of those who emphasize the immediate solutions to the problems of special interest groups instead of considering the long term solutions to society.

While Hazlett is ambitious enough to propose that a single lesson can go a long way to clear the flack of fallacious thinking, he is humble enough to admit that there is much further to be understood. Below is a book list for beginning or continuing your own investigation in understanding economic policies and theories.

Intermediate Length:

  1. Economics by Frederic Benham
  2. Principles of Economics by Raymond T. Bye

Readable and Entertaining:

  1. Wealth by Edwin Canaan
  2. Money by Edwin Canaan
  3. Essentials of Economic Theory by John Bates Clark

Thorough Economic Books:

  1. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics by Ludwig von Mises
  2. Principles of Economics by Frank William Taussig
  3. The Common Sense of Political Economy by Philip Henry Wicksteed

The Economic Classics:

  1. The Distribution of Wealth by John Bates Clark (1899)
  2. Principles of Economics by Alfred Marshall (1890)
  3. The Positive Theory of Capital by Eugen Böhm von Bawerk (1888)
  4. The Theory of Political Economy by William Stanley Jevons (1871)
  5. Principles of Political Economy by John Stuart Mill (1848)
  6. Principles of Political Economy and Taxation by David Ricardo (1817)
  7. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (1776)

Books Similar in Ideology to Hazlitt:

  1. The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek
  2. Economic Planning and International Order by Stephen P. Robbins
  3. International Economic Disintegration by Wilhelm Röpke
  4. Ordeal by Planning by John Jewkes
  5. Planned Chaos by Ludwig von Mises
  6. Socialism by Ludwig von Mises (Considered the most devastating critique of socialism ever produced)
  7. Economic Sophisms by Frédéric Bastiat (Especially the essay on What Is Seen and What is Not-Seen)

Henry Hazlitt. Considered among the leading economic thinkers of the “Austrian School,” which includes Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich (F.A.) Hayek, and others, Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993), was a libertarian philosopher, an economist, and a journalist. He was the founding vice-president of the Foundation for Economic Education and an early editor of The Freeman magazine, an influential libertarian publication.  Hazlitt wrote Economics in One Lesson, his seminal work, in 1946. Concise and instructive, it is also deceptively prescient and far-reaching in its efforts to dissemble economic fallacies that are so prevalent they have almost become a new orthodoxy.

Many current economic commentators across the political spectrum have credited Hazlitt with foreseeing the collapse of the global economy which occurred more than 50 years after the initial publication of Economics in One Lesson. Hazlitt’s focus on non-governmental solutions, strong — and strongly reasoned — anti-deficit position, and general emphasis on free markets, economic liberty of individuals, and the dangers of government intervention make Economics in One Lesson, every bit as relevant and valuable today as it has been since publication.

Note: Bio taken from Amazon.com

I, Pencil by Lawrence W. Reed: Quotations

IPencil

A famous five-page story that succinctly illustrates Adam Smith’s principle of cooperation without coercion and Hayek’s idea that price values communicates the appropriate information to allow people to make economically rational decisions without force.

 

“We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.” – G.K. Chesterton

“Here is an astonishing fact: Neither the workers in the oil field nor the chemist nor the digger of graphite or clay nor any who mans or makes the ships or trains or truck nor the one who runs the machine that does the knurling on my bit or metal nor the president of the company performs his singular task because he wants me. Each one wants me less, perhaps, than does a child in the first grade. Indeed, there are some among this vast multitude who never saw a pencil nor would they know how to use one. Their motivation is other than me. Perhaps it is something like this: Each of these millions sees that he can thus exchange his tiny know-how for the goods and services he needs or wants. I may or may not be among these items.” – pg. 44

“If you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing.” – pg. 45

“The lesson I have to each is this: Leave all creative energies uninhibited. Merely organize society to act in harmony with this lesson.” – pg. 47