Written by Gene Callahan

Eugene Callahan is an Associate Editor of VoegelinView, a research fellow at the Collingwood Centre at Cardiff University, and a Lecturer in Economics at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn. He is author of Economics for Real People (2004); Oakeshott on Rome and America (2012); and co-editor, with Lee Trepanier, of Tradition v. Rationalism: Voegelin, Oakeshott, Hayek, and Others (Lexington Books, 2018).

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"Rationalism," in the sense meant in this essay, might be understood as the idea that abstract thought, deducing answers to questions from first principles, is always superior to "mere" tradition, custom, and practical know-how. In the first half of the twentieth century, this rationalist ideal dominated elite thinking. The arts, child rearing, and business management were to be revolutionized according…

Beyond Radical Secularism: How France and the Christian West Should Respond to the Islamic Challenge. Pierre Manent. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press, 2016.
 
I have sometimes deplored the liberties that C. K. Scott Moncrieff took in translating Marcel Proust’s sub-titles from À la recherche du temps perdu: how could À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (In the shadow of…

Madison and Jefferson. Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg. New York: Random House, 2010.
 
Burstein and Isenberg have written a fascinating–well, what shall we call it? A “dual biography?” Or should we be trendier and coin a term and call it a “duography” –of America’s third and fourth presidents. Part of the content of the book is an argument for this choice,…

The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States. Gordon S. Wood. New York: Penguin Press, 2011.
 
This book is a collection of essays, written over the past half century, by one of the most esteemed historians of the period of the American founding, Gordon Wood. Although each essay stands on its own as a complete work, there…

An Economist looks at Voegelin's "Democracy and Industrial Society"
Eric Voegelin delivered his lecture "Democracy and Industrial Society" in 1963. Despite this lecture having been delivered nearly fifty years ago, it is hard to find anything in it that needs correction based upon events since its presentation. It shows that Voegelin, as well as being a “high theorist,” was a keen…