with our special guest
- Foundation Professor at George Mason University School of Law
Monday, May 19, 2014
The John Locke Foundation, 200 W Morgan St. ,Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27601
Price: $10.00(for lunch)
The Once and Future King
The remarkable new book shatters just about every myth surrounding American government, the Constitution and the Founders, and offers the clearest warning about the alarming rise of one-man rule in the age of Obama.
Most Americans believe that this country uniquely protects liberty, that it does so because of its Constitution, and that for this our thanks must go to the Founders, at their Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.
Buckley's new book debunks all these myths. America isn't the freest country around, according to think tanks that study these things. And it's not the Constitution that made it free, since parliamentary regimes are generally freer than presidential ones. Finally, what we think of as the Constitution, with its separation of powers, was not what the Founders had in mind. What they expected was a country in which Congress would dominate the government and in which the president would play a much smaller role.
Sadly, that's not the government we have today. What we have instead is what Buckley calls Crown government, the rule of an all-powerful president. The country began in a revolt against one King, and today we see the dawn of a new kind of monarchy. What we have is what one of the Founders, George Mason, called an "elective monarchy," which he thought was worse than the real thing.
Much of this is irreversible. Constitutional amendments to redress the balance of power are extremely unlikely, and most Americans seem to have accepted and even welcomed Crown government. The way back lies through Congress, and Buckley suggests feasible reforms that it might adopt to regain the authority and respect that it has squandered.
Frank Buckley is a Foundation Professor at George Mason University School of Law, where he has taught since 1989. Before then, he was a visiting Olin Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. He has also taught at McGill Law School in Montreal, the Sorbonne (Paris II),and Sciences Po in Paris. His most recent books are The American Illness (Yale 2013), Fair Governance (Oxford 2009), Just Exchange(Routledge 2005) and The Morality of Laughter (Michigan 2003). He is a senior editor ofThe American Spectator. He lives in Alexandria VA with his wife, Esther.
Shaftesbury Luncheon talks are free and open to the public. An optional lunch is available for purchase at the event, or participants may brown bag a lunch if they choose.
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