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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Springtime for Snowflakes: An NYU Professor Takes On Academia’s “Social Justice Warriors”

Michael Rectenwald’s new book offers up passionate intellectual debate in a climate where the discursive righteousness, sexuality, sex, skin color, and feelings of the speaker too often matter more than the thoughts espoused. It is a portrait of the contemporary scene of academic freedom, which is anything but free, and even less academic.

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Three Questions for the New Antiliberals

The new antiliberals are not wrong to worry about the dire state of American politics and culture. But they persistently fail to adequately ask, much less clearly answer, three pressing questions that must be part of any adequate treatment of the problem, and they virtually ignore the thoughtful conservative alternatives to antiliberalism that do address these questions.

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Secular Materialism Can’t Make Sense of Reality

Rumors of God’s death may have been greatly exaggerated, but the prevalence of a materialistic philosophy that cannot give an adequate account of human freedom and moral responsibility has put in jeopardy many of the core ideas at the base of our civilization. Without metaphysics we are left simply with physics, and physics is about power, leverage, and force.

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Natural Rights, God, and Marriage in the American Founding

By calling our attention to the Founders’ political theory of the family, Thomas West’s new book leads us to ask whether a secular theory of natural rights and natural law can sustain the moral ecology necessary for self-government. If a secular natural-rights republic cannot sustain the family, it would seem to be neither a good nor attractive political theory.

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An Open Letter to Mr. George Clooney on Hate and the Southern Poverty Law Center

Please use your influence as a major donor to persuade the Southern Policy Law Center to amend its embittering and unproductive campaigns to label any political or social issue opponent as a hate group. Although controversial, organizations that fight to protect the unborn and strengthen families are not motivated by hate. Vilifying them only worsens our toxic and polarized political climate.

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Prisoners in the American Cave

Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed is a provocative attempt to explain what’s wrong with our culture, how this came to be, and what might be done about it. Although his historical account of liberalism is unpersuasive, he offers a prescient analysis of the current moment and insightful prescriptions for constructive action.

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Conforming to Good or Evil: More Moral Lessons in the Shadow of the Holocaust

Clear moral norms are crucial. But to be effective, those norms need to be embodied in moral communities and social practices, habituated in the virtues, and animated by a conviction that they are an essential part of human flourishing. We must create social structures and communities in which intellectual training and moral formation in the virtues can happen.