Political History and Political Philosophy: Making Sense of the West

"Political History and Political Philosophy: Making Sense of the West." Perspectives on Political Science 41, no. 2 (2012): 100-5.

The old Western synthesis, the coming together of self-government, the Christian proposition, modern equality, and the commitment to relieving man’s estate, appears to be unraveling. In the European context, it is being replaced by a “pure democracy” that cannot do justice to the continuity of Western civilization. Rejecting the twin temptations of Progress and Decline, Pierre Manent recovers the perspective of the human agent. While the polis or classical city is no longer available to us, the self-government of free human beings remains at the heart of the Western enterprise. Manent shows that the Christian notion of conscience preserved the classical analogy between the soul and the political association and is at the heart of Western liberty. The West as a whole rests on the synthetic and mediating notion of conscience.

Perspectives on Political Science