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Introducing America After Dobbs:
A Public Discourse Resource


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Book Reviews

  • Harvard_Law_School_Library_in_Langdell_Hall_at_night

    James Bradley Thayer, Legal Realist?

    James Bradley Thayer sternly taught an iron discipline in constitutional judging of holding one’s own views—even one’s conviction that one understood the Constitution better than the legislature did—firmly in check. And he taught this because he believed it was the only approach consistent with the Constitution’s text, purposes, structure, and traditional interpretation.
  • United States Treasury Department Building in Washington D.C. Unted States of America

    How the Government Is Buying Our Submission

    Our Constitution’s carefully designed processes for democratic self-governance, and the means and mechanisms for ensuring accountability, are evaded and eroded. In his 2021 book Purchasing Submission, Philip Hamburger reveals the many hidden ways this evasion occurs—through spending conditions and contractual terms, yes; but also through “dangerously benevolent” nudges, incentives, intermediaries, accreditation, licensing, permits, and permissions.
  • St. Augustinus or Augustine of Hippo Statue for Czechia people and foreigner travelers visit at Charles Bridge crossing Vltava river on August 30, 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic

    Augustine Isn’t the Political Pessimist You Think He Is

    Michael Lamb’s A Commonwealth of Hope: Augustine’s Political Thought is an important intervention not only in Augustine studies, but also in our politics of stagnation and hopelessness. Lamb shows that if we hope rightly, we can work in and for the pilgrim city and for earthly cities. Augustine’s descriptions of life’s evils and turmoils should awaken us to life’s uncertainties, our lack of self-sufficiency, and our need for mercy.
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Long Reads

  • Close-up of hands texting on cell phones

    Contempt, Inquiry, and Rational Disagreement: Learning from Aquinas in the Internet Age

    Present-day Americans are a people consumed by anger—an anger that rests on deep pools of sadness, isolation, loss, and fear. In spite of his reputation for dry, unemotional logic, Thomas Aquinas has a great deal to say about the way in which disordered passions can undermine our capacity for getting at the truth. His work can teach us how to resist the vices encouraged by social media, pursue truth in concert with others, and achieve rational disagreement.
  • Digital painting of crowds cheering or demonstrating with waving USA flags in Washington DC, digital artwork with matte painting

    National Conservatives for the Status Quo?

    By deviating from the American political tradition, national conservatives double down on rather than challenge many of our political ills.
  • Abstract blurry portrait of a depressed man with mental personality disorders

    Apocalyptic Politics: Christianity and the New World Order

    As our dependence on technology reshapes the moral imagination of our culture to see human beings as psychological wills that need not respect material limitations, so the old order that was built upon the vision of human beings as both body and soul will become increasingly implausible. The things that make Christianity stand out from the wider culture—belief in the incarnation, the resurrection, and embodied human nature as a real, universal thing with moral consequences—are antithetical to the terms of membership in the emerging world order.
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Collections from the Archives

  • Woman reading a few books on the floor

    From the Editor’s Desk: Public Discourse’s Monthly Roundup, March 2023

    At Public Discourse, we intend to play the role of moderation and calm. We know our society is in the middle of a Revolution—and not a good one—and we know conservatives are experimenting and fracturing in their responses. We try to read and understand all the trends, all the possibilities, and stay calm and reasonable as we host debate and conversation about the best way forward.
  • Checklist Writing Notice Remember Planning Concept,home office desk background,hand holding pen and writing note on wood table.

    From the Editor’s Desk: Public Discourse’s Monthly Roundup

    A lot of readers might wonder: what makes Public Discourse different from other journals? In recent years, a lot of publications have become foot soldiers in the culture wars. Their content is more about political messaging rather than serious thinking. We at Public Discourse aim to be a voice of integrity that readers trust most: we readily acknowledge when interlocutors are right, and we strive to give debate its due. We also think tone and conduct matter, which is why you don’t see our team engaging in Twitter crusades.
  • Young African American man sitting and lifting a dumbbell with the rack at gym

    Is “Self-Improvement” a Real Thing?

    As we decide what habits to adopt or discard in 2023, it’s important to carefully sort through the advice on offer to see if it’s based on a sound vision of human nature and of what constitutes a good life. Thankfully, the Public Discourse archives can offer guidance here, as on so many other topics.
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