Buchanan called his approach “politics without romance,” but he urged classical liberals to promote an ethos that would inspire the general public to imagine a better political community. This seeming paradox—a call for both political realism and idealism—reflected Buchanan’s emphasis on constitutional rules of order and a disdain for the rule of elites.

H. Geoffrey Brennan (1944–2022) was a professor of political science at Duke University and professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the Australian National University.
Michael C. Munger is Senior Fellow and former co-editor of The Independent Review at the Independent Institute, and Professor of Political Science, Economics and Public Policy and Director of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program at Duke University.
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Other Independent Review articles by H. Geoffrey Brennan
Winter 2020/21 Economics Meets War and Peace: Tolstoy’s Implicit Social Theory
Other Independent Review articles by Michael C. Munger
Spring 2024 Following Their Leaders: Political Preferences and Public Policy
Spring 2024 The Origins and Evolution of Consumer Capitalism; Crack-Up Capitalism
Winter 2023/24 The Classical Liberal Diaspora
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