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Pillar: Education & Culture

Education & Culture

The fourth pillar, education and culture, is built upon the recognition of two essential realities. First, the Western intellectual tradition requires a dedication to and desire for truth. Second, education takes place not only within colleges and universities but within our broader culture, whose institutions and practices form us as whole persons.

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When Intelligence Is Stupid

Perhaps maturity requires moderating our admiration for the intellectuals, the clerks, and the clever types. Surely a person of good judgment, stolid character, and immoveable rectitude is every bit as praiseworthy as the inventive and the quick—and in political and social life far more important.

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Social Justice Ideology and the Decline of American Medicine: A Conversation with Stanley Goldfarb

The prevailing zeitgeist of American medical education is an almost complete and unthinking acceptance of a “woke” mentality. The demonstrations at academic medical centers and medical schools throughout the United States following George Floyd’s killing led to widespread declarations of the need to purge “systemic racism” from American medicine and to adopt “antiracism” as a dominant aspect of the medical ethos.

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Joseph Raz: Philosopher of Freedom

Joseph Raz, the master of analytic philosophy of law who died in London last month, argued that law and policy should reflect a vision of the human good, with the good of personal autonomy—enabling people to be “authors of their own lives”—at its heart. He was a true philosopher, a truth-seeker: he had convictions, but he never sought to immunize them against criticism, nor did he allow himself to fall so deeply in love with his opinions that he valued them above truth itself.

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The Bookshelf: Reading While Parenting

Finding time to read is always challenging, particularly within the context of being a new parent. Instead of conventional, and often ineffectual, time management strategies, we might consider some alternative principles to help incorporate reading into our busy lives: ritualistic reading, whimsical reading, and even acknowledging the value of not reading.

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Antonio Gramsci’s Long Struggle

It is strange to reflect that someone who died in 1937 at the age of forty-six with no obvious legacy has exerted more cultural influence than most of his successors, but Antonio Gramsci’s “long struggle” of the intellectuals continues to shape our political, educational, and artistic landscape in regrettable ways.

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Wondering and Wandering: Peter Augustine Lawler’s Higher Ed Heresies

A proper understanding of education means embracing the creation of small liberal arts colleges in which students have the leisure to study and faculty the leisure to teach them. As Peter liked to say, every human person is “wondering and wandering,” and higher education is where one wonders and wanders the most. To those bound up in standards of efficiency, wondering and wandering seems like a waste of time. But there is no other way for a person to learn.

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Uncivil Discourse: A Conversation about Civility with Teresa Bejan

Civility has a distinctly minimal character you don’t see with virtues like decorum or politeness—the idea that one can be merely civil. This means that to be civil is to meet a low bar grudgingly, and it is important for any adequate definition of civility to account for that minimal sense.

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The Speech of the Century: Remembering Teddy Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena”

The recent anniversary of Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” speech provides an opportunity to reflect on the enduring relevance of his insights into the role of virtue and action in education, the importance of family life that is ordered towards the creation and formation of the next generation, and the need to build political community based on truth and integrity.

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Sex and Gender Ideology in New Jersey’s K–12 Curriculum

New Jersey’s sample lessons for K–12 state-required sexual orientation and gender identity instruction sparked parental outrage. The sample curriculum contradicts basic biology, offers age-inappropriate lessons about sexual abuse, and imposes an LGBTQ religion on public school children. Nonetheless, New Jersey parents still have the power to influence what happens in the classroom.

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The Christian Roots of Good Old-Fashioned American Individualism

Social conservatives used to have a much more nuanced understanding of the development of modern liberalism out of the medieval Christian world. Our insistence on individual immortality, an idea hammered home by the almost preposterous teaching of the resurrection of the body, ought to make Christians dyed-in-the-wool individualists.

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The Bookshelf: Classic Hollywood’s Religious Uplift Project

The Hollywood “religious epic” movie genre of the postwar period was all about uplift, toleration, and offending exactly no one. Though entertaining at its best and an important part of the story of America’s rising pluralism, this genre proved finally to be too anodyne and unable to do justice to Scripture or the life of the early Church.

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David Bentley Hart’s Post-Christian Pantheism

The debate over whether it is grace or nature that directs human beings towards the beatific vision was one of the most contentious intra-Catholic theological disputes of the twentieth century. David Bentley Hart’s 2022 You Are Gods: On Nature and Supernature shows that the debate is alive and by no means merely academic and inconsequential—pantheism, tradition, orthodoxy, and heterodoxy are all very much at stake in the argument.

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How Progressive Politics Entered American Education

America’s education professionals—meaning government bureaucrats, administrators, and teachers—have been trained in an education philosophy driven by progressive politics. Whether in Mississippi or in California, much of America’s school staff attended colleges of education that teach similar, politically infused educational philosophies. The question is, can parents really retake control of public education?

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Critical Race Theory, Public Schools, and Parental Rights

Today, in Part I of this essay, I explain critical race theory and show how many of its ideas have made their way into public schools across the country, prompting a backlash that has led to the introduction of anti-CRT education regulations in many states. CRT views values like “objectivity” as tools of oppression. It’s clear that many public schools are indeed incorporating plenty of CRT-inspired ideas like these in their curricula.

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