“A republic, if you can keep it.” Those famous words should instruct us about something important and central to liberal societal orders. You have to work to keep them. The thing is, I think liberal orders are generally hard to establish, relatively stable once established, and able to fall apart catastrophically and quickly in an accelerating way if taken too far off center. That is, in the language of physics, liberalism is like an unstable equilibrium. In this episode of James Lindsay OnlySubs, my subscribers-only podcast, I discuss the idea of classical or philosophical liberalism through that framing (after introducing the basic physics of stable and unstable equilibria). This should give you some ideas about why the saying goes “a republic, if you can keep it” and why, if you want to keep it, you are going to have to step up and do some work to keep it. Join me for what I hope is an interesting discussion of these ideas!
Previous episodes of OnlySubs can be found here.
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