The American Conservative, an online journal “founded by eminent conservatives who were appalled by the sins, follies, and deceptions of neoconservatism,” has published “The Eternal Insight of John C. Calhoun,” by John Grove and H. Lee Cheek, Jr. Cheek is a senior fellow at The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) as well as Professor of Political Science and the former Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at East Georgia State College. Both Grove, an associate editor at Law & Liberty, have published books on Calhoun’s political thought.
In the article, Grove and Cheek enter a long-standing debate about Calhoun’s political philosophy and its relevance to how majoritarian rule was framed under the Constitution. Calhoun had a sophisticated understanding of the compact theory that brought the several states into the Union. The framers feared pure democracy and the potential of numerical majorities to oppress minorities. For the authors, Calhoun recognized that “an organized society inevitably defines and refines the limits of liberty, and if the majority’s preferences are not checked by the organized and recognized minority, liberty and rights will inevitably be defined in the way that suits the majority interest.”