Ordinary Time 

To admire the world and other people, and especially to appreciate the ordinary things that make up our ordinary existence: this is worthwhile activity.
Though often unconventional and concerned with ideas outside the mainstream of contemporary political conversations, Michael Oakeshott’s reflections on politics and human conduct continue to provide a profound and humane source of inspiration for western liberalism. In an age in which freedom and individuality are increasingly under threat, his vision of a flourishing human life—discovering and developing individual character in the midst of traditional practices—remains more relevant and necessary than ever.
I’m not only trying to show younger people the futility of a life based on achievement, but to show that there are ways of thinking about achievement that are better for your soul. One of them is to see your desire to achieve as being inspired by a vision of the good. Ultimately, in the highest things, you end up not thinking about yourself. Once you become excellent at something, whether that’s teaching or writing or being a tax attorney or being a doctor, you’re actually looking for the good of other people. It’s about how you make the lives of others better and encourage them in their pursuits.
If people are more than wage-earners, then they must see that all of life is not about the practical activity of getting ahead. If they are more than political actors, then we must have education that is not expressly political. In other words, if we want to “do justice” to the total human condition, we must explore all the things that comprise the liberal arts: religion, philosophy, art, music, and literature.
Within a Christian university, the legitimate goods of diversity must be balanced against a notion of unity, an idea of the particular “constitution” of a place—its heritage, its tradition, and the constituency it serves.
The differences between Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine shed light on contemporary politics, argues Yuval Levin in his new book. But they also shed light on something deeper: two fundamentally contrasting orientations toward the world.