Sovereignty and populism.
Who Rules? is the title of this collection of essays edited by New Criterion editor and Encounter Books publisher Roger Kimball. Contributors include Victor Davis Hanson, James Piereson, John O’Sullivan, Michael Anton, Angelo Codevilla, David Azerrad, and Christopher Buskirk.
It is also a political question, one that raises the fundamental issue of sovereignty, which has both international and intra-national implications. It presupposes that men belong to, and constitute, nations. Those committed to the idea that sovereignty is legitimate believe, further, that the plurality of all such nations, and the particularity of each, is an anthropological fact, not a historical phase. Americans, for example, constituted “one people,” according to the Declaration of Independence, which both required separating from another people, the British, and took for granted that they were already distinct from all other peoples, such as the Chinese or Spaniards.
Once a nation’s identity and independence are established, the intra-national question about sovereignty becomes who among its people will wield governmental power. Aristotle taught that the alternatives were rule by the one, the few, or the many. In holding that governments “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” the Declaration set a standard that rendered any regime but
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