Political Philosophy

The Principle of the Sovereignty of the People in America

From Democracy in America (De La Démocratie en Amérique) vol. I, by Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835.

Chapter 4: The Principle of the Sovereignty of the People in America

It predominates over the whole of society in America — Application made of this principle by the Americans even before their Revolution — Development given to it by that Revolution — Gradual and irresistible extension of the elective qualification.

Whenever the political laws of the United States are to be discussed, it is with the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people that we must begin. The principle of the sovereignty of the people, which is to be found, more or less, at the bottom of almost all human institutions, generally remains concealed from view. It is obeyed without being recognized, or if for a moment it be brought to light, it is hastily cast back into the gloom of the sanctuary. “The will of the nation” is one of those expressions which have been most profusely abused by the wily and the despotic of every age. To the eyes of some it has been represented by the venal suffrages of a few of the satellites of power; to others by the votes of a timid or an interested minority; and some have even discovered it in the silence of a people, on the supposition that the fact of submission established the right of command.

2118 reads

“Mohler argues that the civil law, which has been dechristianized by secularization, needs to be rechristianized”

"He ought to know that he is playing with fire. When he demands we rechristianize the civil laws, he owes us an account of why our Christian ancestors were wrong for almost a thousand years as they built Western civilization on a natural law tradition that culminated, and logically must culminate, in political liberalism." - Law & Liberty

1041 reads

USA as a “Failed Social Experiment”?

"That’s coming from the Left. But prominent figures from the Right have been saying something similar. ...Some conservatives are saying that our ideology of freedom has led to the destruction of the morality that is necessary for any society....Some conservative intellectuals have gone so far as to advocate a non-democratic authoritarian government." - Gene Veith

572 reads

“...civil society—not the state—is where our ideas of the common good develop; even the state must draw such ideas from civil society”

"The second fallacy is that before the state takes charge of our morals, it must be morally superior to us, and there’s no evidence it is. Quite the contrary: the record shows that when government takes command of personal morality, both the people and the state end up less moral, not more." - Timothy Sandefur

218 reads

“there was nothing magical about medieval political structure that could prevent the rise of modernity.”

"...the questions of politics must focus on how much liberty a society can tolerate before it starts to break down. This is a very old debate, of course. But it’s not a conversation that many critics of 'liberalism' seem very interested in having." - John Ehrett 

239 reads

Politics, Conscience, and the Church: Why Christians Passionately Disagree with One Another over Politics, Why They Must Agree to Disagree over Jagged-Line Political Issues, and How

"Why must Christians agree to disagree over jagged-line political issues? After explaining straight-line vs. jagged-line political issues, we give two reasons: (a) Christians must respect fellow Christians who have differently calibrated consciences on jagged-line issues, and (b) insisting that Christians agree on jagged-line issues misrepresents Christ to non-Christians." - Themelios

236 reads

Evangelicals Have Abandoned the Character Test. The Competence Test is Next.

"I know that for now I’ve lost the character argument. It’s well-established that a great number of white Evangelicals didn’t truly believe the words they wrote, endorsed, and argued in 1998 and for 18 years until the 2016 election. Oh sure, they thought they believed those words....We may think we possess an array of virtues and beliefs, but we don’t really know who we are or what we believe until those virtues and beliefs are put to the test." - The Dispatch

2618 reads

Adrian Vermeule’s Moral Madness

"Regardless of his theocratic aspirations, Vermeule’s constitutional philosophy itself is nonsensical, given that it openly advocates the dissolution of the very constraints that characterize a constitutional order. Vermeule, it seems, would have us all become living constitutionalists of a sort, faithful to our partisan preferences above any objective understanding of the Constitution." - TAC

225 reads

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