Featured Conversations

Such technocratic management, incapable of moral action, is, I suggest, what Magerman notes at Penn. But, alas, it is true of far too many of our institutions and those who manage them. Not so at Public Discourse, however, and not so for those educated in older, richer, wiser traditions of moral reflection and judgment—and thus of action. Our essays this past month are full of such riches.
Conflict is underway. Even already, so early in what could be a protracted war, the suffering is profound, the loss grievous and terrible. Things are almost certainly to become worse. It’s only natural, only human, to blanch at such pain, to avert one’s eyes, and wish for it to cease. But such sentiments, so natural and understandable, do not obviate the need to understand, deliberate, and judge according to the rule and demands of justice.
Back-to-school reflections, plus a roundup of this month’s essays
Reflections on college drop-off and the centrality of kids to the human experience - plus, a roundup of this month's essays
A welcome from the new managing editor, plus a review of this month’s essays.
Rather than sandlot games and diving contests, June is, for us, a month of contested visions about the body, about sex, gender, race, birth, and death. Perhaps the poet was wrong in declaring April the cruelest month—perhaps that title should go to June. 
Nature has to be understood and respected for people to be happy.
Public Discourse continues to believe that a free and flourishing society is possible. But it depends on the hard work of strengthening our roots—marriage, families, communities, and institutions. We do this work not because we want things to be fixed in place, but because without healthy roots we’ll be thwarted in the task of lifting our sights to the true and the good.
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.
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.
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.
There’s a lot to commend about EA. It endorses good stewardship of resources; it recognizes the dignity of every human being; and it pushes back against the kind of presentism that disregards generations to come. But some iterations of EA should give us pause. Its core defect is its tie to utilitarianism, which is ultimately untenable as a philosophy.