Jon D. Schaff

Jon D. Schaff
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Jon D. Schaff is professor of political science at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota where he teaches courses on American politics and political thought. He is author of Abraham Lincoln’s Statesmanship and the Limits of Liberal Democracy (SIU Press) and co-author of Age of Anxiety: Meaning, Identity, and Politics in 21st Century Film and Literature (Lexington Books). He lives in Aberdeen with his wife and four children.

Recent Essays

Joel Kotkin on American Neo-Feudalism

There needs to be a concentration of the real: skills training, middle class and upwardly mobile working class jobs. Replace symbolism with real improvements.

The Death of a Justice and the Hope of Magnanimous Statesmanship

We do not need reminding of how bitter, partisan, and polarized American politics is today. In order to have a community, people need to hold some things in common. America in 2020 is increasingly a nation of people who share a geography while holding wildly differing values.

Not Throwing Away My Shot: Alexander Hamilton and the Militarization of the American Police

Like the “good men” that Lincoln noted will give up on free government in the wake of mob rule, Hamilton warns that those who fear their rights are threatened will be prone to accept tyranny.

Calling For A 21st-Century Magna Carta: A Review of Joel Kotkin’s The Coming Neo-Feudalism

The global middle class of Kotkin’s subtitle must unite with the working class for a new Magna Carta for the 21st Century, one that will, in Lincoln’s words, make us “independent of crowned-kings, money-kings, and land-kings.”

In Our Memory Lock’d: Memorial Day and the Need to Remember

One of the arts of statesmanship is the use of language, of rhetoric, to reshape the architecture of people’s souls and orient them towards political truths.

With One Eye Squinted: R.R. Reno and Living Life in a Time of Death

Let us not, however, in our haste to condemn Reno for his imprudent practical advice, ignore the truth of the underlying point. Religious believers hold that there is more to existence than this material life.

Catholic Social Thought, Abraham Lincoln, and Common Good Capitalism

One need not support every economic prescription of the distributists or Lincoln. Each, however, presents certain principles that we can use to orient our economic thinking in the era of global capitalism.

When Protestants Became Libertarians

Protestants and American Conservatism reveals a capacious knowledge of American religious history. As skeptics of the liberal order slowly work out a positive vision for the republic, they now know that they have forebears from which to learn, both in their success and defeats.

Justice, Sovereignty, and the Throwaway Culture: Reading Charles Camosy

We live in a time of political disruption. In the United States and around the developed world we are seeing nationalist and populist agitation...

Regional Universities Educate for Merit—It’s too Bad Our Elites Just Want Prestige

The Varsity Blues parents didn’t really care if their children learned anything; they were concerned that they got their ticket to success stamped by the right institution.

Fighting Demons, Liberal and Otherwise

We like to flatter ourselves that we live in extraordinary times.  Every four years, for example, we are told that this presidential election is “the...

What Groucho Marx Can Teach Us About Liberal Education

The world wearies of defenses of liberal education and the humanities. What cannot be denied is that all over the country the liberal arts...