The Statesman as Thinker: Portraits of Greatness, Courage, and Moderation
By Daniel J. Mahoney
JMC fellow Daniel Mahoney has recently written a book, The Statesman and Thinker: Portraits of Greatness, Courage, and Moderation which examines statesmen who struggled to preserve freedom during times of crisis:
In The Statesman as Thinker, Daniel J. Mahoney provides thoughtful and elegant portraits of statesmen who struggled to preserve freedom during times of crisis: Cicero using all the powers of rhetoric to preserve republican liberty in Rome against Caesar’s encroaching autocracy; Burke defending ordered liberty against Jacobin tyranny in revolutionary France; Tocqueville defending liberty and human dignity against blind reaction, democratic impatience, and revolutionary fanaticism; Lincoln preserving the American republic and putting an end to chattel slavery; Churchill defending liberty and law and opposing Nazi and Communist despotism; and Havel fighting Communism before 1989 and then leading the Czech Republic with dignity and grace.
Mahoney makes sense of the mixture of magnanimity and moderation that defines the statesman as thinker at his or her best. That admirable mixture of greatness, courage, and moderation owes much to classical and Christian wisdom and to the noble desire to protect the inheritance of civilization against rapacious and destructive despotic regimes and ideologies.
Review: “A Tribute to History’s Thinking Men of Action”
By Mike Sabo for RealClear Books & Arts
Statesmanship has fallen on hard times. Modern social science cannot make sense of this once-popular category of classical political philosophy, and the virtues commonly associated with the statesman today are equated with toxic masculinity or worse.
Fortunately, in his new book, “The Statesman as Thinker: Portraits of Greatness, Courage, and Moderation,” (Encounter Books) professor emeritus at Assumption University Daniel J. Mahoney revives the study of statesmanship, profiling eight pivotal leaders in the history of Western civilization. Using the template Plutarch provided in his “Lives,” Mahoney highlights individuals who utilized a rare combination of cardinal virtues and philosophic insight to save their respective nations from destruction…
Daniel J. Mahoney is a Professor Emeritus at Assumption University (where he taught from 1986 until 2021), a senior fellow at the RealClear Foundation, and a senior writer at Law and Liberty. He has written extensively on statesmanship, French political thought, the art and political thought of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, conservatism, religion and politics, and various themes in political philosophy. His most recent books are The Conservative Foundations of the Liberal Order (2011), The Other Solzhenitsyn (2014, reissued in 2020), and The Idol of Our Age: How the Religion of Humanity Subverts Christianity (Encounter Books, 2018). He has written extensively for newspapers and magazines.
Professor Mahoney is a JMC fellow.
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