Juliana Pilon, Senior Fellow of The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), and Stephen H. Balch, a charter member of AHI’s board of directors, have published complementary and concerning op-eds about America’s future. Dr. Pilon’s “The System of Natural Liberty Revisited” appears in Starting Points, an on-line journal devoted to furthering the “understanding of the principles of the American political tradition among academics and citizens in a non-partisan and interdisciplinary manner.” Dr. Balch’s “The Great Reveal” appears in American Greatness, an online outlet for a range of conservative thinkers.
Pilon sees a deeply polarized culture, emblematic of institutional decay, that results “in a war not so much of ideas as of expletives.” Balch contends that COVID-19 has exposed, for all to see, the depth of the country’s “civic decay.” Both writers worry about the future of liberty in the United States. Pilon concludes that were Alexis de Tocqueville alive today he would “likely be saddened but not surprised” by the loss of that “equality of liberty” he so cherished. Balch wonders, in scanning the current landscape, whether we have a “nation of sheep” or are we “only asleep.” Is democracy the problem or the cure?
Dr. Pilon earned her PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago. Her most recent book is The Utopian Conceit and the War on Freedom (2019). Dr. Balch earned his PhD in history at the University of California, Berkeley. He directs The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization at Texas Tech University.