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.
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.
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.