Juliana Geran Pilon, Senior Fellow, The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), has published a book An Idea Betrayed: Jews, Liberalism, and the American Left with Academica Press. In her searching and erudite volume, Dr. Pilon focuses on the paradox of liberalism, its many permutations from the founding of this country to post-modernity.
In calling America “the almost chosen nation,” Abraham Lincoln invoked at once the Old Testament and the Founders’ belief in the two covenantal communities’ common ideal: equal liberty. The Declaration of Independence proclaimed that ideal. Our Constitution instituted it. Although it took the Civil War to abolish the original sin of slavery, equal freedom defined the nation’s philosophical foundation. Beginning late in the nineteenth century, however, that vision of liberty under constitutionally limited government mutated into progressivism. An aggressive mix of collectivism and scientism, fueled by Marxism and other toxic European ideologies, its early expression was eugenics, its later ambitious central planning. Meanwhile, an influx of immigrants during times of economic displacement would kindle widespread xenophobia, while populist distrust of financial profit, often associated with Jews, would stoke anti-Semitism. Over time, equal freedom fell into disrepute. Among the idea-elites, “right-wing” and “conservative” became pejoratives. But the rise of the Soviet Union and the aftermath of World War II proved a watershed for Americans, especially for American Jews, for those developments placed the liberal idea in a clarifying geopolitical context. Today, with equality and equity often used synonymously, a conflation of anti-capitalism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism has gained prominence while Islamists make common cause with the enemies of freedom from within. Given the stakes, Jews must reassert the basic principles of their ancient tradition, which are also America’s.
“I am honored to be affiliated,” Dr. Pilon observed, “with an organization devoted to the classical liberal principles I examine and defend in this book. And I am especially grateful to its president and co-founder, Bob Paquette, fine historian and inspirational professor, whose advice and support in writing my study were invaluable.” Paquette, on his part, recommended the volume for “its staggering array of erudition. Dr. Pilon takes the reader on a serpentine road from the noblest aspiration of mankind—liberty— to various sleights of hand leading to transmutation under pressure to its Woke opposite.”
Dr. Pilon books include The Utopian Conceit and the War on Freedom; The Art of Peace: Engaging a Complex World; Soulmates: Resurrecting Eve; and Notes from the Other Side of Night, among others. The author of over two hundred fifty articles and reviews on international affairs, human rights, literature, and philosophy, she has made frequent appearances on radio and television, and is a lecturer for the Common Sense Society. Pilon has taught at the National Defense University, George Washington University, American University, and the Institute of World Politics. She served also in several nongovernmental organizations, notably the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), where as Vice President for Programs she designed, conducted, and managed programs related to democratization. She also administers AHI’s two-week summer national security program (WAPONS) designed for college and university undergraduates.
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