Essential Stankiewicz, The: On the Importance of Political Theory

The Essential Stankiewicz: On the Importance of Political Theory

The Essential Stankiewicz

On the Importance of Political Theory

by W.J. Stankiewicz


  • Spring 2001
  • ISBN 978-0-921870-83-8
  • ebook ISBN 978-1-55380-394-2
  • PDF ISBN 978-1-55380-395-9
  • 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback, 560 pages
  • Political Science

  • Also available in Hardcover (ISBN 978-0-921870-84-5 (0-921870-84-1)) for $39.95

The Essential Stankiewicz gathers together a selection of the core materials from a lifetime of writing by one of the most eminent political philosophers of our time. Written in a clear and lucid style, this volume can be appreciated by both the professional political scientist and the educated layman interested in the concepts and issues that have formed our time.

For W. J. Stankiewicz, the main concern of political theory is to “establish principles relevant to the public good and to uphold the tradition of the public philosophy of civility.” His writings show a remarkable assimilation of the classical body of political theory — from Plato to Dewey — the recognition of its tradition and beauty and of its historic role in human affairs. In all his thought, Stankiewicz applies the conceptual tools of political theory to the analysis of contemporary issues.

His philosophy grapples with the two most powerful foes of our civilization: relativism, which he sees as the dominant mood or our time, and behaviouralism, the persuasion that has captured political science. Stankiewicz focuses on the ills of our society emanating from hedonistic liberalism, such as the pursuit of group rights, anti-authority stances, the emergence of identity politics and the irrationalism seen in present-day political correctness.

The volume contains numerous examples of his “crossing swords” with thinkers of various persuasions, such as Leszek Kolakowski, Jacques Maritain, C.B. Macpherson and a number of advocates of unilateral disarmament during the Cold War.

“In trying to evaluate the political philosophy of W.J. Stankiewicz, one is stuck by the seamless integrity of it all. Throughout there shines his wise and tenacious promotion of one of the core ideas of the Western tradition: natural law. Nature and reason, he argues, cannot suspend one another. . . . The two approaches complement one another. Reality is neither synthetic nor analytic but dialectic. For keeping this tradition alive we owe Stankiewicz our gratitude and admiration.”
— Professor A. du P. Louw, Department of Political Science, University of South Africa

“Professor W.J. Stankiewicz’s intellectual universe includes the best of continental European and also North American cultural traditions.”
— Ted McWhinney, Q.C., S.J.D. Professor of History, Former M.P. (Vancouver-Quadra)

“Several of his interpreters . . . credit him with contributing to current efforts to create a new “Grand Theory,” which in the words of Quentin Skinner . . . is not “in the least shy of telling us that [its] task is that of helping us to understand how best to live our lives” . . . . Provocative reading . . . a feast.”
— Margaret Prang, Professor of History (Emerita), University of British Columbia

“Grand passion and love of ideas comprise the ground and force of Stankiewicz’s being as a political theorist. He not only commands a great spirit but wills the means to do great things. I accord him the highest honours because he presses his whole being and intellect into the service of political philosophy.”
— Arpad Kadarkay, Professor of Political Science, University of Puget Sound, U.S.A., Author of Georg Lukas: Life, Thought and Politics