On Abraham Kuyper’s Political Liberalism

My article “Abraham Kuyper and Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer as Anti-Rationalist Liberals” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Church & State and will hopefully be in print in 2021.

In this article, I explore F. A. Hayek’s division of pre-1848 liberalism into two contrasting worldviews — rationalist and anti-rationalist. I argue that both Groen van Prinsterer and Kuyper, two important Dutch Anti-Revolutionary writers, were anti-rationalist liberals.

Both of them are on the record denouncing “liberalism”, but both refer mostly to French liberalism of the rationalist kind. And both admired Edmund Burke and Alexis de Tocqueville, cited by Hayek as great exponents of anti-rationalist liberalism.

I hope this article will lead to an interesting conversation as to why the contemporary Kuyperian movement seems to be much more left-wing than the original anti-revolutionaries.

A pre-print version of the article can be viewed on the Oxford Academic website.



Paper: 56th ISA Annual Convention

I’ve just uploaded my paper on suzerains and vassals in the diplomacy of the ancient Near East (2nd millennium BC). I will be presenting this paper in New Orleans at the International Studies Association Annual Convention. Here’s the abstract:

This paper looks at institutional patterns of hierarchical arrangements between suzerain kings and vassal kings in the diplomacy of the ancient Near East (ANE). The focus falls on the 2nd and (to a lesser extent) the 1st millennia BC, with important structural differences between the earlier and later periods. Five recurring features are analysed, based on primary and secondary sources: Asymmetrical covenant treaties shaping suzerain-vassal relationships; Enforcement mechanisms for defection in in the periphery; Diplomatic communication; Diplomatic gift exchange; and royal marriages as part of the alliance policy. All five points not only helped stabilise hierarchical dyads in the ANE, but also reinforced domestic legitimacy on both sides. Regardless of the structural distinctions between the earlier and later periods, the portrait is that of a long lasting two-tier system in which core states actively pursued the construction of networks of vassal states. These five institutional patterns of hierarchical arrangements highlight the relevance not only of military power, but also of religion, trade and gender as important arenas of shared norms and values. Not all historical approaches in the discipline of International Relations regard those as important, yet their relevance in centuries of diplomacy in the ANE should not be ignored.

Translation of Dooyeweerd’s book is out

My friend Dr. Leonardo Ramos and I translated a couple of political essays by the great Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977).

This collection of essays has just been published by Edições Vida Nova from São Paulo. For this volume, Leonardo and I wrote an extensive introduction to Dooyeweerd’s contribution to the theory of the state. The volume also contains a glossary prepared by Guilherme V. R. de Carvalho.

Leonardo Ramos is a Senior Lecturer at the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais and Guilherme V. R. de Carvalho is one of the L’Abri Fellowship workers in Brazil. Both are part of the leadership of the Kuyper Association of Brazil.

Also, kudos to Jonas Madureira, editor of the collection, and Norma Braga and Franklin Ferreira, who provided a very positive review of the work.

Top 2% on academia.edu

The academia.edu website has informed I’ve got one of the top-2% most viewed profiles based on a 30-day average.

I’m not familiar with the methodology for this, so I can’t really say much about this.

Since I completed my PhD I’ve been deliberately opting for an open-source publishing strategy that enables me to share my publications for free. I believe this is the best strategy at an early career stage with scarce funding.

Academia.edu has reported some of the google searches and the keywords people enter to end up on my profile website. They have a direct connection to specific pieces I’ve published, but not necessarily with my main research topics and interests.

In other words, people are searching for specific ideas contained in the publications I’ve shared, so the open-source strategy seems to be working well.