Principalities & Powers

A Defunct Republic

If the American Republic is defunct, and if most Americans no longer subscribe to the classical republicanism that defined the Republic as its public orthodoxy, what is the principal issue of American politics? Ever since the Progressive Era, the issue that has divided Americans into the two political and ideological camps of "right" and "left" has been whether or not to preserve the Republic. The Progressives (at least their dominant wing) argued that the small-scale government, entrepreneurial business economy, and the localized and private social and cultural fabric that made a republic possible was obsolete at best and at worst repressive and exploitative. They and their descendants in New Deal-Great Society liberalism pushed for an enlarged state fused with corporations and unions in the economy and with massive, bureaucratized cultural and educational organizations. In contrast, the "right" pulled in the opposite direction, defending the Republic and the social and economic structure that enabled republicanism to flourish, but with less and less success and with ever-diminishing understanding of what it was doing.

Today the conflict over that issue is finished. The Progressivist empire has replaced the old American Republic, and even on the self-proclaimed "right" today, virtually no one other than the beleaguered paleoconservatives defends republicanism in anything like its pristine form....

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