Steven Alan Samson
Steven Alan Samson
Ph.D. in Political Science, researcher and publicist
Models of Historical Interpretation

Models of Historical Interpretation

No. 46, Mar.-Apr. 2024 [Originally serving as two introductory lectures to my history courses, the following article was published at request of the editor in Contra Mundum 11 (Spring 1994): 12-20 under the same title. Long out of print, I hope these observations will prove to be of some value to another generation of readers.] More


Human Rights and America’s “Empire by Invitation”

Human Rights and America’s “Empire by Invitation”

No. 45, Jan.-Feb. 2024 The idea of universal human rights is part of the borrowed capital the West secularized from its Biblical origins as the eternal kingdom of Christ. Cut off from its source is becomes sentimental, utopian, ideological and sometimes apocalyptic. Most of the damage to the idea of universal human rights was done more than 75 years ago through the ideological twist which was added at the insistence of the Soviet Union after the Second World War.The first twenty-one points of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) are classified as civil and political rights: “freedoms from.” These are best regarded, first of all, as liberties which deserve protection rather than rights which have standing in courts of law. The next seven, which the Soviets insisted upon, are social and economic rights – “obligations to” – various social and economic categories. These might best be characterized as collective rather than individual rights, sometimes as claims upon the government treasury. They are rights other people – ultimately taxpayers – owe to a distinct class of people rather than liberties for all which governments are obliged to protect. More


Civilization Is Built on Borrowed Capital

Civilization Is Built on Borrowed Capital

The historical dynamism and resilience of Western civilization bespeaks both the Christian faith that laid its foundations and its ability to transform the families, institutions, and cultures of the world into which it grew. As faith wanes within its realm, cultural revolutionaries vie for control over the estate and the distribution of its assets. The prospect of recovery or renewal of the West depends on the character and courage of its heirs to restore a depleted heritage. The following article is drawn from the first two sections of “Cultural Vandalism: Lust to Rule, Road to Ruin,” Wokeshevism: Critical Theories and the Tyrant Left, ed. Augusto Zimmermann and Joshua Forrester (Connor Court, 2023) 221-37. Reprinted with permission. More


The Rich Dynamic of Faith in Action

The Rich Dynamic of Faith in Action

One of the most incisive analyses of the secular transformation of America’s – indeed the West’s – ruling ideology was published a century ago in 1923 by a Presbyterian theologian, J. Gresham Machen. James Kurth would later describe its evolution as “the Protestant Deformation.”[2]During the so-called Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy which began before the First World War, Machen was the most articulate critic of a theological movement known as Modernism or Liberalism: a secular religion of sentiment poached from Christianity. His critique begins as follows: “The type of religion which rejoices in the pious sound of traditional phrases, regardless of their meaning, will never stand amid the shocks of life. In the sphere of religion, as in other spheres, the things about which we are agreed are apt to be the things that are least worth holding; the really important things are the things about which men will fight. More


Edward Rozek: Bearing Witness

Edward Rozek: Bearing Witness

How do we develop the eyes to see and the ears to hear? The best teachers equip us to resist temptation and recognize deception. They enable us to develop the vision to discern truth and the voice to tell it. “Take everything with a grain of salt,” my father advised me more than once. As I went off to college in 1966, he urged me to get under the wing of Edward J. Rozek, a Polish emigré who fought first for Poland at the outset of the Second World War, then escaped his imprisoned country to serve as a reconnaissance officer under British command. Blinded in a tank explosion, he underwent several surgeries to remove shrapnel and restore his eyesight. More


A Walking Encyclopedia: Revisiting Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

A Walking Encyclopedia: Revisiting Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, an Austrian aristocrat who lived in the United States with his family for a decade after the Anschluss, was a journalist, linguist, novelist, encyclopedist, political scientist, theologian, and student of the human character who reported – on site – and bore even-handed witness to many of the great events of the mid-twentieth century, including the Ukraine famine, the Nazi revolution, the Spanish civil war, and Congolese independence. The first part of this retrospective appreciation is drawn from the first part of a review of Leftism Revisited published as “Yes, but…,” Modern Age, 34 (Spring 1992): 241-45.[1] More


Early Christendom: Chrysalis of the West

Early Christendom: Chrysalis of the West

So powerfully did the transformational grammar of the new religion, Christianity, change the western world that Arnold Toynbee has described the church as “the chrysalis out of which our Western society emerged.”[1] Historians have both praised the church for preserving the artifacts of the pagan cultures it converted and faulted it for absorbing too many of their elements into its life’s blood. While Pitirim Sorokin regarded the resulting fusion as a genuine synthesis, others have just as firmly maintained that Christianity created an unstable syncretism, pointing to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment as evidence of cultural disintegration and growing secularization.[2] But this has always been a source of disagreement, even among Christians themselves, and the debate continues unabated.  More


Capturing the Commanding Heights

Capturing the Commanding Heights

Half a century ago the German sociologist Helmut Schelsky succinctly dissected the political strategy of left-wing radicals in West Germany and the West generally. His essay, “The New Strategy of Revolution,” remains one of the best summaries of a remarkably successful ongoing strategy of cultural subversion by way of a “long march through the institutions.” As a consequence, our present day is dominated by what Michael Polanyi called moral inversion – and Roger Scruton called a culture of repudiation – which redefine the common ethos and the rules of public discourse. Scruton argued that the West is characterized by “a political process generating corporate agency, collective responsibility, and moral personality in the state.”[1] Citizens of the West live in what he calls a Personal State, which protects their rights wherever they go. The question today is whether the new strategy of revolution is converting the Personal State into something akin to a reeducation camp and turning citizens into subjects. More


Technology’s Dominion: An Ever-Tightening Web of Dependency

Technology’s Dominion: An Ever-Tightening Web of Dependency

Although some degree of indeterminacy circumscribes perception and communication, it does not follow that the information which filters through our perceptual screens must be false or illusory. Norbert Wiener characterized it as “the devil of confusion, not of willful malice.” His concern was with the loss or distortion of information – analogous to entropy – in the process itself. It is a problem which bedevils our best efforts to find a common ground for understanding.  More


Penetrating the Fog of Culture War

Penetrating the Fog of Culture War

Protracted conflict is a historical phenomenon. It attends upon every systemic breakdown and the ensuing quest for a new equilibrium. Every revolutionary movement issues from a position of physical inferiority vis‑a‑vis the defender of the status quo. The revolutionary movement, to assure its final victory, must perforce rely more upon the breadth of its vision than the strength of its arms. Its strategy derives from a superior understanding of the total historic situation; the spectrum of revolutionary conflict techniques is as wide as the entire scale of social change. Within that spectrum, a central intelligence organizes and phases the instruments of conflict ‑‑ political, economic, psychological, technological and military. That central intelligence discerns potential weapons where the defender of the status quo sees only the tools of peace; in short, it turns plowshares into swords.[1]  More


Transatlantic Exchange: Introducing Francis Lieber

Transatlantic Exchange: Introducing Francis Lieber

It is remarkable how quickly America was transformed from an isolated agrarian republic in 1800 into a hegemonic industrial power by 1900. Intellectual and cultural changes that began taking root in the early half of the century yielded a cornucopia of new fruits in the latter half, including tax-supported public libraries, the rise of the scientific professions, and German-style graduate education. The impact of democracy, nationalism, industrialization, the reform crusades, sectionalism, urbanization, commerce, and immigration together gave new urgency to Crevecoeur’s old question: “What is this new man, the American?”  More


Binding Leviathan: The Case for Institutional Liberty

Binding Leviathan: The Case for Institutional Liberty

In political theory, as in any inquiry, a question must begin with a perception or a premise. The question is this: How can the identity and integrity of a self-governing institution – whether a church, business, school, even a family – be maintained independently of the public agenda of a pervasively secular modern state? The perception that frames the question is that the American system of constitutional government, in particular, originated with specific reference to – and derived its essential character from – the covenant tradition of the Bible.[1]  More


FIRST EDITION

SUBSCRIPTION

FOUNDATIONS
The Market For Ideas Association

The Romanian-American Foundation for the Promotion of Education and Culture (RAFPEC)
THE NETWORK
WISEWIDEWEB
OEconomica

Amfiteatru Economic