Donald Livingston

Donald Livingston is a former Professor of Philosophy at Emory University with an "expertise in the writings of David Hume." In 2003, he and Clyde Wilson founded the Abbeville Institute, which is devoted to the study of Southern culture and political ideas.

Latest by Donald Livingston in Chronicles

Results: 28 Articles found.
  • Secession Becomes Thinkable
    October 2020

    Secession Becomes Thinkable

    America is coming apart and is "already two nations," F. H. Buckley argues. Once unthinkable, a breakup looks increasingly likely. But can it be done constitutionally and peacefully? Donald Livingston reviews Buckley's case in "American Secession."

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  • Faithful Son
    May 2019

    Faithful Son

    Boyd Cathey is an 11th generation Carolina Tar Heel who was mentored by and worked with Russell Kirk. The Land We Love: The South and Its Heritage is written reverentially, just as one might reflect on the memory of one’s mother.

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  • May 4, 2017

    The Strange Career of Individualism

    What is individualism? John Stuart Mill answered this question with a theory of rights. Mill looked for a "simple" theoretical principle that could distinguish the liberty of the individual from that of the state.

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  • The American "Civil War" and the Tower of Babel
    April 2011

    The American "Civil War" and the Tower of Babel

    The whole truth about Lincoln’s war to prevent 11 American states from forming a federation of their own cannot be understood unless it is seen as an extension of a brutal process of centralization that had been going on in Europe since the 13th century.

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  • Secession and American Republicanism
    October 2010

    Secession and American Republicanism

    When the American colonists seceded from Britain in 1776, Europe was shared out among great monarchies. Only Switzerland was republican, but Americans were determined to enjoy a republican style of government in the New World.

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  • Is America a “Republic”?

    I entirely agree with the spirit of this roundtable but not with the language of restoring “the Republic.” The United States is not now and has never been a republic. It is a federation of states, each of which, in Article IV of the Constitution, is guaranteed a republican form of government.

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  • David Hume: Historian
    September 2008

    David Hume: Historian

    Intellectual historians commonly group Voltaire, Edward Gibbon, William Robertson, and David Hume as the four greatest 18th-century historians. If limited to only one of these authors, we would do well to begin with Hume.

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  • What Is Wrong With Ideology?
    January 2008

    What Is Wrong With Ideology?

    Ideology is an intellectual pathology that has gripped the West for about three centuries. At times, we have been told that ideology is at an end.

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  • The Declaration of Independence and Philosophic Superstitions
    January 2007

    The Declaration of Independence and Philosophic Superstitions

    It is common among our political elites and pundits to link the Declaration of Independence with Abraham Lincoln, who found in it the ground and telos of the American nation: the Enlightenment doctrine that all individuals are endowed with rights that precede and are independent of any political society.

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  • The Natural History of the Night Watchman State
    August 2006

    The Natural History of the Night Watchman State

    Liberalism, in all its guises, is a vision of the final form of political association. All history is viewed as a slow and painful struggle toward the realization of the liberal state.

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  • Aristotelian Worms in the Leviathan
    January 2006

    Aristotelian Worms in the Leviathan

    Is there such a thing as the proper size of a political order? Westerners have inherited three visions of political size and scale: the Aristotelian polis; the Christian commonwealth; and the Hobbesian modern state.

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  • Republicanism, Monarchy, and the Human Scale of Politics
    August 2005

    Republicanism, Monarchy, and the Human Scale of Politics

    The Founding Fathers had to face hard and unprecedented questions about the size and scale of a political order. They occupied a vast region, and conventional wisdom said that such could only be governed by monarchy.

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  • The Ancestry and Legacy of the <em>Philosophes</em>
    July 2003

    The Ancestry and Legacy of the Philosophes

    Edmund Burke records that two thirds of the Anglican clergy initially supported the French Revolution. He wrote Reflections on the Revolution in France to show that the Revolution was not merely an understandable effort at reform but an entirely unique intellectual and spiritual pathology.

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  • Losing Federalism
    May 2003

    Losing Federalism

    Human liberty has two distinguishable but inseparable dimensions: the liberty of the individual to act according to his own reason and the corporate liberty of a moral community to pursue a vision of the good lived out in institutions and traditions that bind generations.

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  • Communitarians, Liberals, and Other Enemies of Community and Liberty
    July 2002

    Communitarians, Liberals, and Other Enemies of Community and Liberty

    I remember a time when the terms “community” and “virtue” had almost disappeared from philosophical discourse. Working on a doctorate in philosophy at Washington University in the mid-60’s, I took a seminar in ethics from Prof. Herbert Spiegelberg, who had written the definitive history of phenomenology.

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  • May 2002

    A “Containment Policy” for the New Cold War

    Americans regularly accept expropriations—legal, moral, and economic—from the central government that would have driven our 18th- and 19th-century ancestors to arms. The Constitution reserves to the states and local communities all powers necessary to provide legal protection for valuable ways of life.

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  • Diseconomies of Scale
    January 2002

    Diseconomies of Scale

    “Free trade,” like “free love,” is a beguiling abstraction that hides more than it reveals. Absolute free trade would be an exchange of commodities between two people without the coercive intervention of a third party.

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  • November 2001

    We Are All Immigrants Now

    Poll after poll shows that the vast majority of Americans want stricter controls on immigration. Yet it should be clear that our ruling class is not going to impose stricter controls or even enforce its own laws.

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  • "Dedicated to the Proposition"

    A gay activist recently claimed on national television that legal rejection of gay "marriages" violates the Declaration of Independence, while an ACLU member insisted that posting the Ten Commandments in a courtroom was a violation not only of the Bill of Rights but of the Declaration.

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  • The Litmus Test for American Conservatism
    January 2001

    The Litmus Test for American Conservatism

    Abraham Lincoln is thought of by many as not only the greatest American statesman but as a great conservative. He was neither. Understanding this is a necessary condition for any genuinely American conservatism.

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Results: 28 Articles found.



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