David Walsh

Written by David Walsh

David Walsh is the Chair Board Member of VoegelinView, President of the Eric Voegelin Society, and Professor of Political Science at Catholic University of America. He is the author of a three-volume study of modernity: After Ideology: Recovering the Spiritual Foundations of Freedom (Harper/Collins, 1990), The Growth of the Liberal Soul (Missouri, 1997), and The Modern Philosophical Revolution: The Luminosity of Existence (Cambridge, 2008). His latest book is Politics of the Person and as the Politics of Being (Notre Dame, 2015).

HomeArticles Posted by David Walsh (Page 3)

The Question Posed by Locke
For John Locke, the foundation of the social contract was not a problem because it was identical with the moral law. The breach of one was tantamount to the breach of the other, neither more nor less. All that the language of contract compact did was make the situation explicit. Revolution was thus not an fact…

All of the critiques point toward the fundamental objection that Nietzsche was to express so powerfully. That is, that liberal politics had cut itself off from its own roots in philosophy and Christianity and had no comparable motivat­ing appeal to put in their place. His prediction of its impending collapse has still not materialized but that does not negate the…

Customary Liberal Silence
Discussion of an existential depth to our discourse inevitably engenders a degree of methodological discomfort. This is particularly the case among theorists whose occupation is in dealing with the discursive level of argu­mentation. What cannot be detected through the medium of language can scarcely be detected at all, let alone rendered transparent through the meth­ods of analysis. Without…

Tumbling Liberal Defense
An awareness of the depth of the critique ranged against liberal theory is what has inspired its late flowering in our own time. Viewed in a wider historical perspective, it is astonishing to see the revival of concepts and modes of thought that received opinion had long declaimed as outré. Even ideas that in liberal circles had not…

In one sense liberal theory and politics have always been in a state of crisis. Even in its earliest appearance in the reflections of John Locke and his con­temporaries, in their uneasiness with the Glorious Revolution of 1688, there was hesitation about the foundations. The American framers at Philadelphia and afterward frequently sounded their uncertainties as to whether their historical…

Cultural Transparence
The intense but narrow beam of liberal political prin­ciples cannot constitute the meaning of a civilization. There are simply too many questions left unaddressed. Despite the dramatic illumination cast by the recognition of the incomparable worth and depth of each individual, its authorita­tive truth cannot stand alone. Even for its recognition, we have seen, it depends on the acknowledgment…

The Politics of Liberty
The summary essence of a liberal political order, which has re­mained fairly stable up to the present, sounds astonishingly spare. Generations of liberal thinkers have themselves wondered if their construction contained enough in the way of a substantive core to hold it all together. Was it, for example, merely an arrangement of convenience destined to come asunder…