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Dordt professor pens "Politics on a Human Scale"

November 22, 2013

“It’s a tricky thing to structure government in a way that helps to maintain social equilibrium,” says Dordt College Political Science Professor Jeff Taylor. “A strong government will hinder freedom and rights. A weak government will fail to promote justice and commonwealth. Part of the desirable equilibrium is a sense of proportionality,” says Taylor, who sees decentralization as the best political tool to ensure equilibrium.

In his newly published book, Politics on a Human Scale, Taylor examines political decentralization in the United States by focusing on four basic values underlying decentralism: liberty, community, democracy, and morality. Christian principles of subsidiarity, sphere sovereignty, and social justice are woven throughout. Covering the subject with breadth and depth—from founding of the republic to the present—the book will be of value to those interested in political science, history, and American culture.

Much of the book focuses on what he considers crucial turning points in U.S. history that illustrate when decentralists lost the upper-hand in the two major political parties. Taylor poses two examples: “the change of the Democratic Party from a party of states’ rights to one of federal statism through Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and the failure of the Republican Party during the past half century to provide an alternative to big government, despite its rhetoric of constitutional fidelity and personal responsibility.”   

“Power needs to be held in check, partly through decentralization, because power holds a great and dangerous attraction for humans. This is a theme found in modern Christian thought from Acton and Kuyper to Tolkien and Lewis,” said Taylor. “The Lord Jesus himself warned his disciples about the dangers of power, even as he pointed to its potential for good in building the kingdom.”

Taylor received his B.A. in social science from Northwestern College, an M.A. in library and information science from the University of Iowa, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Missouri. He has taught in the political science department at Dordt College since 2011. This is his second book: the first, published in 2006, is titled Where Did the Party Go?: William Jennings Bryan, Hubert Humphrey, and the Jeffersonian Legacy.

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