Sometimes things get so bad one must go back to the beginning and start over. This is not easy to do, because bad things present emergencies, and emergencies distract and consume. When may one ever find a moment to step back and think?

Now is a bad time. Danger is everywhere. We have just been through “the most important election of our lifetime,” according to both the Left and the Right. It has been fiercely fought, and weeks after polling day it was still not over. The electoral process, which is the key to any representative form of government, is doubted and challenged on both sides. People rightly wonder if the constitutional system is breaking down.

We have need of wisdom right now, which brings me to Charles Kesler’s Crisis of the Two Constitutions. It is a sweeping book divided into three sections: the first is on the founders’ Constitution, its first chapter “The Founders and the Classics”; the second is on the Progressives, those ideological revolutionaries who set out to bring a whole new meaning to American government; and the third is on conservatives, its first chapter about Ronald Reagan, the last about Donald Trump. The book travels from Aristotle to Trump and manages to connect them into a continuous story. Kesler does this by finding the questions that are the same through time, at the heart of all times because they are at

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