The Journal First Things provoked a nationally publicized clash with it s November 1996 symposium "The End of Democracy?" Prominent intellectuals and political activists debated whether the symposiasts had merely addressed with due candor the troubling implications of judicial usurpation or had rashly and needlessly questioned-and even denied-the legitimacy of the American regime. In 1997, Spence published a warmly welcomed compendium of the original symposium and its progeny titled The End of Democracy?:The Judicial Usurpation of Politics.
As the initial furor has abated, thoughtful observers have been able to consider the controversy in its broader historical and cultural context and to reflect on its significance. The finest fruits of this reflection are collected in Spence's new volume, The End of Democracy?II: A Crisis of Legitimacy.
J. Budziszewski, a noted political philosopher at the University of Texas, provides a substantial introduction to the volume, which has been edited by Mitchell S.Muncy. In addition to their fresh assessment of judicial usurpation prompted by the criticism of the original symposium, essayists consider papal teaching on the authority of unjust laws, the opponents of judicial activism's surprising pedigree in Progressisvism, Tocqueville's analysis of democracy's shortcomings, the hijacking of "equity" in Anglo-American law, and the changes in the political and religious landscape revealed by the First Things controversy.
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The contributors to The End of Democracy? II include four of the original First Things symposiasts-Richard Jon Neuhaus, Robert P.George, Hadley Arkes, and Russell Hittinger-along with Gary D. Glenn, Carson Holloway, Frederick Vaughan, Scott H. Moore, and George W. Carey.
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