Steven Den Beste has died. RIP and thanks for the many thoughts. Thinkers like him come all too infrequently.
“This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves….
“A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy….
“The world does not expect logic and precision in poetry or inspirational pop-philosophy; it demands them in the law.”
Justice Scalia’s dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges, June 26, 2015.
Rest in peace.
UPDATE: Justice Scalia’s Great Heart. Please read this.
Professor McDonald was and will remain—long into the distant future—among the most influential historians on American history, particularly in regard to the American Revolution and the Constitution’s framing era. Some people might say he was the most influential historian of his generation. He wrote for both academics and the wider public. He also was part of the recrudescence of pro-Hamiltonian scholarship—not a small achievement considering he did this while writing in 1970s U.S. academia and while teaching in the deepest South. He wrote boldly, and he also experimented with new ideas about the past, including the so-called Celtic hypothesis.
I am not going to describe his vitae or his personal life (about which I know little). These things have been and are being done well in many other forums. Here I want to describe how kind McDonald was to me personally.
Worth reading in full.
Most of the tributes you see and hear today about BB will feature crap like “The Thrill Is Gone” and that terrible song he did with Bono. This is the real deal and is what I cut my teeth on when I was discovering the Blues. You can thank me later. Godspeed.
Cross posted at LITGM.
An honorary ChicagoBoy and an American classic if there ever was one. Thanks for the good times, Johnny.