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Archives: <span>Featured</span>

Featured

Voting at Public Discourse

Americans are just a month away from choosing our next president. Voting is a great responsibility, and we at Public Discourse seek to inform readers with a variety of viewpoints and arguments all coming from thinkers who share our basic moral commitments.

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The Vocation of Education at Public Discourse

As Americans head back to school—or try homeschooling for the first time—it is worth recalling several Public Discourse essays on the nature and purpose of education, along with advice for all of those engaged in this important vocation.

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Debating Liberalism at Public Discourse

Patrick Deneen’s provocative 2018 book Why Liberalism Failed deepened and brought to a focal point a long-running debate among American conservatives. No, not about why FDR-LBJ-Obama-style liberalism had failed—on that American conservatives agreed. The long-running debate was over classical liberalism, the sort associated with John Locke. The questions were first, how much this tradition of...

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Race and Racism in America

Discrimination and prejudice on the basis of race is a violation of the human dignity of our neighbors, and we all have a responsibility to fight injustice wherever it is found. The question, of course, is how we ought to do this. Are the foundations of our American systems of government and civil society fundamentally unjust? Or have we only failed in living up to their lofty calls and promises? Do we need to tear down our institutions or reform them?

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Church and State

Is the separation of church and state to blame for the sidelining of religion in public life, and for the moral drift that gave us abortion on demand, the redefinition of marriage, and our transgender moment? Can religious “neutrality” ever be achieved, or will the state act on the basis of some comprehensive doctrine no matter what, in which case better for it to be acting firmly and directly on the basis of the truth? Is integralism—be it conservatively Catholic or progressively secular—inevitable? We offer these essays collected here to help you as you discern where the truth lies.

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Isolation Bookshelf

In the midst of a global pandemic, many parts of everyday life have been locked-down, adapted, or shuttered. The race of productivity and activity has screeched to a halt. Normally crammed schedules have turned into pages of open space. The opportunity for leisure can be embraced or squandered. Through this collection, Matthew Franck offers wide-ranging, excellent recommendations for classic literature and cinema to enrich our intellectual lives and encourage virtuous living. 

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Coronavirus and Civil Society

Coronavirus has upended our lives. How should we respond? How should we think about the government's response? What moral principles should govern our society as we move forward? And how can we flourish during these trying times? Public Discourse authors shed some light.

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Common Good Economics

Since our founding, Public Discourse has sought to promote an approach to economics that focused on the common good. From early essays from our Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Ryan T. Anderson, on a natural law vision of social justice (the subject of his dissertation), to more recent essays from Senator Marco Rubio on the dignity of work and from our Editor, Serena Sigilito, on economic policy and childcare, Public Discourse has been a venue for conservative thinkers to explore how to best understand the relationship of the market and human flourishing. Here is a small sample of some of those early essays and more recent ones from the past year.

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Back to School

It's back-to-school season, and what better way to prepare for the academic year ahead than by reflecting on the ends of education and seeking practical advice from seasoned veterans? Whether you're an undergraduate just starting out, a grad student pursuing a PhD, JD, or MD, a first-time teacher or an old hand, Public Discourse has philosophical insight and concrete suggestions that will help you make the most of the year to come.

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What the Rise of the “Nones” Means for the Future

Roughly one fifth of Americans, and one third of young Americans, are what the Pew Research Center has dubbed “Nones,” people who claim no religious affiliation—and their numbers are growing. What does this mean for the future?

As part of a week-long Public Discourse symposium, our contributing editors analyzed how the Nones will affect the five pillars of a free and virtuous society: the human person, sexuality and family, politics and law, education and culture, and business and economics. The rise in numbers of people with no religious affiliation reflects the emergence of a new faith rather than a loss of faith altogether. As America’s religious norm changes from Christianity to therapeutic deism and spiritualized progressivism, we will find more people challenging longstanding protections of human dignity and religious liberty, while embracing permissive sexuality, bitter "us vs. them" politics, education without a soul, and big government solutions.

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What Does “Nationalism” Really Mean?

Nothing is more popular in center-right discourse today than discussions of nationalism. But what does "nationalism" actually mean? What role do race, ethnicity, and religion play in defining American nationalism, and what can we learn from the European experience? What does a commitment to nationalism entail for policy questions about immigration and economics? Should social conservatives embrace nationalism?

The essays below can help us answer these questions.

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Editor’s Picks: April 2019

Don't miss Public Discourse Editor Ryan T. Anderson's picks for the best articles we've published this quarter.

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Editor’s Picks: Understanding Abortion and Infanticide

Recently, New York passed a law expanding access to late-term abortions, and similar bills are making their way through the legislatures of Vermont and New Mexico. Governor Jeremy Northam of Virginia came under fire for suggesting that infanticide would be permitted under Virginia’s proposed abortion bill, which was not passed. In response, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska has proposed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would ensure that infants born after failed abortions would receive medical care and legal protections.

This controversy over late-term abortions and infanticide strikes at the heart of a decent society. To be just, a society must be built upon the recognition that all human beings have dignity simply because of the kind of beings they are. Human dignity is something we inherently possess, not something that other human beings bestow on us. People matter even if they are not wanted, including the poor and marginalized, the elderly, the disabled, and the unborn.

The articles below explain why human life begins at conception, why all human beings should be considered as human persons whose rights must be respected, and how these principles should help us understand current debates about abortion and infanticide.

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The Tenth Anniversary of Public Discourse

In honor of our tenth anniversary, Public Discourse launched a new website, complete with a new five-pillar framework and expanded editorial team. Below, you'll find launch essays from our editors, explaining the journal's new vision and taking an in-depth look at each of the five pillars: the Human Person, Sexuality & Family, Politics & Law, Education & Culture, and Business & Education.

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Our Most Popular Essays Ever

In celebration of our tenth anniversary, we're revisiting the most popular essays Public Discourse has ever published. Although we publish on a diverse array of topics, our most popular pieces tend to be first-person narratives on hot-button social issues, such as marriage, sexuality, and gender. These essays pair personal experience with philosophical analysis and solid social science.

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Capital Punishment

On August 2, 2018, Pope Francis announced an update to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, making a prohibition on the death penalty official Catholic teaching. Prior to this change, many scholars believed that the historic teaching of the Church did not declare capital punishment intrinsically immoral, even if the practice is, as a matter of prudence, not required in countries with modern prison systems that can safely isolate dangerous criminals. Other scholars argued that the natural law duty to respect all human life does in fact render any intentional taking of human life morally unacceptable, and that this development of doctrine does not contradict any infallible teaching.

The articles below lay out this debate, with clear summaries of the arguments on both sides.

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Editor’s Picks: June 2018

Don't miss Public Discourse Editor Ryan T. Anderson's picks for the best articles we've published this quarter!

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Editor’s Picks: March 2018

Don't miss Public Discourse Editor Ryan T. Anderson's picks for the best articles we've published this quarter.

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Masterpiece Cakeshop

Should business owners be allowed to discriminate against their customers in light of their religious or moral convictions? With the Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in mind, these authors staunchly defend our constitutional right to free exercise of religion.

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Allan Bloom

All is not well in America—or in the University. Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind offers a profound and compelling diagnosis of the common illness infecting them both and of the intimate connection between liberal education and liberty. A best-seller from its release in 1987, Bloom offers an enlightening exposition of the state of education and culture in his decade that is eerily prophetic of our current environment. In commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the book, this symposium assesses and comments on Bloom's three main themes: students, American Nihilism, and the university. 

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Advice for Neil Gorsuch

The confirmation of a new Supreme Court nominee is highly contentious. In light of Judge Neil Gorsuch's arrival to the court, Public Discourse authors offer advice for navigating the challenges of the process and voice their concerns about the judicial environment into which he embarks.