Magazine July 08, 2019, Issue

Democracy’s Moral Foundations: Recovering Our Constitution in Full

A Constitution in Full: Recovering the Unwritten Foundation of American Liberty, by Peter Augustine Lawler and Richard M. Reinsch II (University Press of Kansas, 216 pp., $29.95)

America and American conservatism are at a crossroads. Conservatives are naturally the “patriotic party,” proud of their country and committed to defending it against its cultured despisers. Most of us, most of the time, remain confident that America is mankind’s “last best hope.” Yet many of us cannot help but acknowledge that our country is becoming less morally estimable, as human freedom is increasingly understood as limitless relativism and accompanied by totalitarian moralism on much of the left. Some conservatives, such as Patrick J. Deneen in his widely discussed book Why Liberalism Failed, are tempted to blame this state of

This article appears as “Our Providential Constitution” in the July 8, 2019, print edition of National Review.

Daniel J. MahoneyMr. Mahoney holds the Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., and is a National Review Institute trustee. He is the author, most recently, of The Idol of Our Age: How the Religion of Humanity Subverts Christianity

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