The Road to Ideology

Americans have never been big on “political theory.”  In our nation’s early decades—and arguably, up to World War II—folks were comfortable with their republican form of government and its tenets of self-reliance and self-government.  However, over the past 50 years, political thought—specifically concerning what the U.S. Constitution actually means—has undergone a radical transformation.  During that time, self-government has been all but obliterated.  Few, if any, Americans alive today have ever lived in a republic.  A recent Supreme Court decision—Kelo v. City of New London, allowing residential homes to be demolished in favor of commercial development—has effectively abolished private property.  Conservatives know something is wrong.  Alas, their remedy is to place all their hope in the Supreme Court, trusting that Republican presidents will appoint a conservative majority to that body, one that will roll back decades of judicial tyranny.

Professor Carey’s volume is the latest in a series of impressive student guides published by ISI Books, of which I have read—and recommend—John Lukacs’s guide to history, R.V. Young’s treatment of Western literature, and Mark Henrie’s introduction to the core curriculum.  Professor Carey’s book not only chronicles the descent into centralization...

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