Episode 18: Paul Robinson

The Russian interference in the 2016 American Presidential election brought Russia to the forefront of conversations about international relations. But it has also given us a one-dimensional view of this complex country. Today’s conversation is about Russian Conservatism with historian Paul Robinson. We talk about conservatism as an ideology, we talk about its history, and... Continue Reading →

E.B. White – On Democracy

My kids know E.B. White as the author of Charlotte’s Web. Both of my kids were expected to read this classic on their own. Some books are written for children to read rather than their parents to read to them. I held off reading The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham until... Continue Reading →

Niccolò Machiavelli – Discourses on Livy

There is an old debate among political theorists regarding the meaning of Machiavelli’s political works. A careless reading of The Prince and Discourses on Livy give the impression they are written by two entirely different authors. Or perhaps it is the same person in two different points of their life with entirely different notions of... Continue Reading →

Isaiah Berlin – Against the Current

Isaiah Berlin did not call himself a philosopher. He was a historian of ideas. Indeed, he never explains his philosophy. He shares his ideas through his analysis of the ideas of others. His thoughts are rarely straightforward. Indeed, he will sometimes write one thing before he goes on to contradict it. There is a meaning... Continue Reading →

David Stasavage – The Decline and Rise of Democracy

Democracy is “a natural occurring condition in humanity societies.” This single idea sets Stasavage apart from so many theorists who look to the past. His first chapter, “The Origins of Democratic Rule,” is as breathtaking as it is ambitious. He reshapes the narrative of the democratic origins through a broad examination of different peoples throughout... Continue Reading →

Matthew Kroenig – The Return of Great Power Rivalry

American exceptionalism was never simply about the culture of the American people. It places a fundamental focus on American institutions and a faith in the American political process. Indeed, Tocqueville recognized in the nineteenth century the importance of the political system in shaping a peculiar and unique American culture. It is not culture which defines... Continue Reading →

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