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Blog Profile / Darwinian Conservatism

Filed Under:Academics / Philosophy
Posts on Regator:249
Posts / Week:1.7
Archived Since:July 6, 2011

Blog Post Archive

Does Pinker Show the Bias of a Pro-Western Imperialist, Capitalist, Elitist, and Anti-Communist Ideology?

Edward S. Herman and David Peterson have written one of the most elaborate critiques of Steven Pinker's Better Angels of Our Nature. It's available online as an ebook--Reality Denial: Steven Pinker's Apologetics for Western-Imperial Violence (2012, 144 pages). Show More Summary

Pinker's List: A Distorted Record of Prehistoric War?

In his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech in 2009, President Barack Obama had to justify the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a Commander in Chief who was leading his country in two major wars. He argued that war is so deeply rooted in human nature and the human condition that it can never be completely abolished. Show More Summary

Does Steven Pinker Distort the Data for Declining Violence?

Steven Pinker's Better Angels of Our Nature has over 115 figures--an average of one for every 6 pages of text. Many of these figures are visual presentations of data to support his argument for a historical trend towards declining violence from the Stone Age to the present. Show More Summary

Leo Strauss and Liberal Democracy: Grant Havers's Response

Grant Havers has sent me the following response to my blog post on "The Attack on Leo Strauss from the Paleoconservative Historicists": While reading Professor Arnhart’s bracing review of my book on Strauss, I kept recalling the oft-quoted...Show More Summary

Incest Avoidance and Incest Taboos as Two Aspects of Human Nature

In October of 2006, I wrote a post entitled "So What's Wrong with Incest?" Amazingly, that post has continued to receive two to three dozen pageviews every week for the past seven and a half years!That might just confirm that the only thing more interesting than sex is tabooed sex. Show More Summary

The Attack on Leo Strauss from the Paleoconservative Historicists

The debate over Leo Strauss's political thought has been dominated by two positions. Strauss's critics on the Left have charged that he was a right-wing--even fascist--enemy of liberal democracy. In response to this criticism, his defenders...Show More Summary

Increasing Liberty and Declining Violence in Spencer's Evolutionary Classical Liberalism

Reading Alberto Mingardi's Herbert Spencer (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013) has finally convinced me that modern evolutionary classical liberalism is rooted in the tradition of Spencer, and that the recent work of those like Matt Ridley,...Show More Summary

Classical Liberalism as Evolutionary Niche Construction for Declining Violence

At the Liberty Fund conference on "Liberty and Violence," one of the participants was a primatologist who studies bonobos in Africa. At one point in our discussion of Steven Pinker's Better Angels of Our Nature, she complained aboutShow More Summary

Liberty, Violence, and Self-Ownership

Is there a mutual relationship between increasing liberty and declining violence? Does the history of violence show a pattern of decline? If so, is this history of declining violence largely explained by a history of increasing liberty?...Show More Summary

Leo Strauss's 1933 Letter to Lowith: Was He Devoted to "Fascistic, Authoritarian, Imperial Principles"?

Today, in the New York Times Book Review, Barry Gewen (an editor at the Review) reviews Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood by Joachim Fest. This book tells the remarkable story of Fest's father--Johannes Fest--who was one of the few...Show More Summary

Does the New Testament Teach Classical Liberalism?

The second half of Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan (Parts 3 and 4) is devoted to the interpretation of the Bible. For many readers today, this seems odd, because giving so much attention to biblical theology seems out of place in a treatise of political philosophy. Show More Summary

George Anastaplo at the Second Saturday Club

Standing (Left to Right): Jim Spring, Jason Jividen, Nathan Dinneen, Greg Smith, Lauren Hall, Andy Schott, Christian Cantir, Lewis Slawsky, Chris ThuotSeated: Larry Arnhart, Morton Frisch, George AnastaploAndy Schott has sent me this photograph that was taken on April 1, 2006. Show More Summary

The Nye/Ham Evolution/Creation Debate

Recently, Bill Nye ("the science guy") and Ken Ham debated evolution and creationism at Ham's "Creation Museum" in Kentucky. The question for the debate was "Is Creation a viable model of origins in today's modern scientific era?" Nye answered no. Show More Summary

George Anastaplo, 1925-2014: Two Teachers, Two Themes, Five Texts

George Anastaplo died last night.He was a distinguished professor at the Loyola University Law School and in the Basic Program in the Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago. He was also a professor emeritus at Dominican University (formerly Rosary College).It was one of the great privileges of my life to have known Mr. Show More Summary

The Birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin

Once again, it's time to celebrate the birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, who were born on February 12, 1809.I have commented on some of the many points of comparison for the two in previous posts here and here, which include links to many other posts.I see at least seven points of similarity between Darwin and Lincoln. Show More Summary

Hobbes, Aristotle, and the Sociobiology of Political Animals

The debate between Aristotle and Thomas Hobbes over whether human beings are political animals by nature is another example of a fundamental issue in the history of political philosophy that depends on empirical natural science. Aristotle's account of political animals was rooted in his biological science. Show More Summary

Political Leadership Among Cranes: Aristotle Was Right

Whooping Cranes Led in Migration by an Ultralight AircraftFrom his biological studies of animal behavior, Aristotle concluded that human beings, ants, bees, wasps, and cranes were political animals by nature (History of Animals, 488a1-14). Show More Summary

Is the American Congress a Hobbesian Sovereign?

Since I am teaching a graduate seminar on Thomas Hobbes, I found myself thinking about Hobbes as I watched the State of the Union Address on C-SPAN. This is usually the only time that all of the chief officers of the federal government...Show More Summary

Hobbes's Liberal Leviathan and the Rule of the Clan

Much of what Hobbes says in Leviathan sounds surprisingly liberal. The fundamental right of nature is "the Liberty each man hath, to use his own power, as he will himself, for the preservation of his own Nature; that is to say, of his...Show More Summary

Hobbes and Somalia: Is Anarchy Better Than a Predatory Government?

Is it true, as Hobbes declares in chapter 13 of Leviathan, that the state of nature, where there is no government, must be a state of war where human life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short"?Hobbes presents this as an empirical claim based on five kinds of evidence. Show More Summary

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