The focus of social conservatives on family and human dignity is as necessary today as ever. Even if today's hot-button issues fade, social conservatism will still be a force in our political life
Pillar: 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.
Popular music shapes us and our culture, but not only through its lyrics.
If we take seriously what is said by Plato and Aristotle, then we must also pay attention to what is being said by the likes of Taylor Swift and Kanye West.
If citizens and politicians believe that victory is to the loudest, or to the most dramatic, then loud and dramatic they will be. The process of public discourse, by contrast, is often deliberative, difficult, and slow. Its participants must, on occasion, “dare to be boring.”
If conservatives wish to defend culture, they must support the arts. Their support for the arts, however, should be motivated by a love of beauty rather than any political program.
The urgency of protecting the sanctity of life, the dignity of the human person, and the institution of marriage goes hand-in-hand with cultivation of the arts
All education is moral education, because it carries an understanding of the things worth knowing—and a hierarchy of the things more or less worthy of being known. Moral education must also point to a certain end: an understanding of the ways of life that are better or worse for human beings. It must point to a certain kind of political regime in providing the cast of our lives: the laws that protect the integrity of families and the professions, and the terms of principle on which a decent people deserve to live. The following article is adapted from the Commencement Address Arkes delivered at Hillsdale College on May 10, 2009.
Higher education exposes ingratiating talk as the counterfeit of teaching; rote learning as the counterfeit of thought; mere opinion as the counterfeit of judgment; enthusiasm as the counterfeit of principle.
What does the future hold for social conservatives in America? A British professor of philosophy writes to offer the advice of a friendly outsider: Don’t delude yourself into thinking the 2008 election was not a repudiation of the Bush administration, and keep in mind that aligning social conservatism too closely with either political party may prove fatal.
One need not be religious to oppose abortion. A simple look at what it does to new human life and what it has done to contemporary society is more than reason enough. New horrors loom on the horizon, but there is reason for hope.