A fascinating collection of studies, The Politics of Truth and Other Untimely Essays explores the historical and theoretical underpinnings of personal liberty and free government and provides a trenchant analysis of the crisis of civic consciousness endangering both of them today. The book addresses a range of issues in contemporary political philosophy and constitutional theory. These are seen to be all the more urgent in importance because of the surging aspirations for liberty in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet empire and the post-Cold War anomaly of crisis, malaise, and disarray in free government itself in America and in other bastions of modern democracy.
While each essay can stand alone, there is an underlying thematic unity to the collection. The fundamental problem considered throughout is whether and to what extent the fall of communism may mark an epoch in world history. These questions are applied to the East Central European nations struggling to achieve free government and personal liberty. The elements required to identify the preconditions of liberty are addressed and specific attention is given to the terms of institutionalization in the American founding.
Several essays focus on American political thought, with emphasis on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Two elements, in particular, are treated: the jurisprudential and common law background to the American political tradition and the centrality of religion within the unfolding of the American political experiment. Sandoz explores the uncommon alliance of philosophers, statesmen, and evangelists during the nation's founding. This alliance, nurturing communities of persons bound together by their faith and a mutual regard for one another, played a vital role in the establishment of the system of freedom under law.
Sandoz sees the tension between religion and natural law as a constant in the human struggle for freedom. That the preservation of liberty under law is no easy task is acknowledged and addressed as it can be seen in the American founding, in the post-communist struggle of East Central Europe, and in the deepening contemporary crisis of American society. Anyone interested in the "politics" of "truth" will appreciate this volume.