Power Vs. Authority

This morning at The Imaginative Conservative, I get the chance to examine Nisbet’s ideas regarding power as opposed to authority, and why the former destroys community and the latter leavens it.  Hope you enjoy.

Power, in and of itself, has become an “ideology,” according to Robert Nisbet. It is, by its very nature, incapable of understanding nuance… As I had the opportunity to write in my previous essay for The Imaginative Conservative, Oxford University Press gave the grand sociologist and historian of ideas, Robert A. Nisbet, a chance to…

via How Power Destroys Community — The Imaginative Conservative

Anglo-American Chronology, 1534-1689

Anglo-American Chronology, 1534-1689

For American Heritage



Sir Thomas More, executed 1535


1528/29: William Tyndale first to employ “divine right of kings”

1534: Act of Supremacy undoes over 1,000 years of Anglo-Saxon Common Law

1535: Execution of Sir Thomas More and John Fisher

1547: Henry VIII dies

1558-1603: Reign of Elizabeth I

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Farewell to Kings (and Faith): Neil Peart, 1977


In honor of the 40th anniversary of the release of A FAREWELL TO KINGS.

rush farewell 40th Anniversary Edition

What followed, 1977’s A Farewell to Kings, though, had far more in common with 1976’s 2112 than it would with 1980’s Permanent Waves.  Not appearing on the market until September 1, 1977, A Farewell to Kings ended the new album every six months schedule Rush has followed thus far.  A brilliant album in and of itself, A Farewell to Kings still belongs to Rush 2.1 as I have defined it.  So does the follow-up album, Hemispheres.  Certainly, Rush tried many new things—in terms of album structure, lyrical depth and story telling, and musical complexity—than it had on the first several albums.  “We had written material that was a little beyond us, considering our level of musicianship at the time,” Lee later admitted.[i]  But the progress is in continuity…

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Founding a REPUBLIC Not a Democracy (TAC)


A republican, armed with musket and plow.

This evening, at The American Conservative–founding a REPUBLIC not a democracy.

Even the most pro-interventionist of the American founders, Alexander Hamilton, could never have imagined or desired the kind of federal government we have now. When he wrote of “energy” in government, he meant it as a means of restraint. To give “energy” to government meant, at least to Hamilton, giving the federal government the means to execute the powers expected of it by its Constitution. Rather brilliantly, he argued that a government charged with a duty but not empowered by the specific rules of that government to accomplish its duty would merely make up its own rules, thus taking government away from restraint and toward leviathan. Though many libertarians think of Hamilton as the touchstone for all future expansive government, they’re wrong. Even Alexander Hamilton desired ways to limit the expansion of government, and whether he wanted a strong executive or not, he envisioned a small, commercial republic as the proper outcome of the American revolution.

We Need a SERIOUS Immigration Debate (TAC)

It’s time for conservatives (and libertarians) to have a VERY serious debate about immigration.  The issue is way too important to leave to emotions and assumptions.

As Christians around the world celebrated the arrival of the Three Kings—the Magi of the Orient—on Epiphany, the president of the United States called for $33 billion to shore up America’s borders with $18 billion for the wall.  Would the Magi have been admitted in 2018? “Excuse me, Balthasar, but I need to see that your papers are in order.  Oh, I’m sorry, but your gift of myrrh exceeds our 3.2 ounces of liquid allowed.”

U.S. Economic History Syllabus, Spring 2018

OttesonH442, Economic History of the United States

Syllabus, Spring 2018.  Lane 125, 9:30-10:45, Tuesdays-Thursdays

Prof (such as he is!): Brad Birzer


H442 students, thank you so much for taking this course.  I’ve only taught it once before, and that was way back in 2001.  Roughly the time some of you were only aged one or two!  For what it’s worth, I grew up (in high school) reading everything I could from Henry Hazlitt, Milton Friedman, Steve Forbes, Israel Kirzner, and Friedrich Hayek.  Yes, I was that guy in the 1980s.  Still, while I think I’m fairly good on entrepreneurial theory and the broad overview of American business and entrepreneurial history, I’m not an expert. So, again—thank you.


Assigned readings. 

You will be responsible for these as a major part of your midterm and final examinations.

  • James Otteson, THE END OF SOCIALISM (first half of the semester)
  • Robert Higgs, CRISIS AND LEVIATHAN (second half of the semester)
  • other articles, chapters, etc.—scanned and sent to you via email or dropbox

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TIC: Conservatism of Robert A. Nisbet

Robert Nisbet, in direct contrast to Russell Kirk, argued that conservatism was purely a modern ideology. For Nisbet, the entire history of conservatism began as a reaction to the French Revolution… Robert Nisbet When it came to the history of conservatism, the grand sociologist and man of letters, Robert Nisbet, disagreed with the mighty founder…

via The Conservatism of Robert Nisbet — The Imaginative Conservative

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