Featured Conversations

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.
In a republic such as ours, the people grant certain prerogatives to the state, for the government exists by the consent of the people. The people do not beg for privileges and rights from the state. Parents have by nature, by justice, the right to educate their children. The state does not have a similar right to educate children; instead, parents permit the state to educate children.
It is not only fraudulent physicians and deluded therapists at fault for mutilating our children—they too are victims, in part. They also have been deceived, subject to the disintegration and dissolution of reality entrenched in our moment. Too many people are not flourishing in our society, and they are damaged and being damaged with false visions of emancipation.
The state of the economy is on everyone’s mind. As you check (or avoid checking) your retirement account, the Public Discourse archives provide some excellent resources to consider the big picture of economic issues.
Our culture tends to conceive of the home in material terms, and the process of moving generates an endless list of practical questions. But it’s worth challenging this reductive view and reflecting more deeply on the nature and purpose of home, because home is where our life unfolds. Home is where we learn how to be ourselves and how to relate to others, prior to approaching big questions about politics and law, business and economics, or war and peace.
If Roe falls, there will be difficult legal and political struggles, but three other areas will demand our thought, effort, and perseverance—engaging with those on the other side of the argument, developing pro-family policy, and protecting parental rights. In this Featured Collection from the Public Discourse archives, we revisit some excellent articles on these themes.
As we look forward to celebrating all the moms we know and love on Mother’s Day, it’s also worth remembering that motherhood doesn’t happen in a vacuum. While the bond between mother and child is unique, there are webs of other human relationships upon which moms depend—fathers most importantly, but also extended friends, family, employers, faith communities, and even political bodies.
As spring settles in, with ball games and tulips and dogwoods in bloom, it pays to turn off the news, to ignore the blather and chatter and anger. We should remember that we conservatives are deeply at home in the goodness of the world. There is a season for everything, including a season of hopefulness for life and its promise.