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One reason I can’t buy the claim that conservative intellectual has become an oxymoron is that on our campuses it’s so often the conservatives who defend “liberal education.” I’m going to sketch out the understanding of “liberal education” or “general education” shared by me and many of my fellow professorial conservatives (a tiny and shrinking minority oppressed from all sides…

What are the ends of education? We mean, of course, the ends for us, for us democratic Americans.
So we begin with the best book ever written on democracy and the best book ever written on America—Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.
America, Tocqueville noticed, is an overwhelmingly middle-class country. To be middle class, of course, is to be stuck in the…

E.D. Hirsch (the cultural literacy guy) has, I think, written the most important article on educational “outcomes” in a long time. The great benefit of education, “the key to increasingly upward mobility,” is expanding the vocabulary of students. Why is that?

Hirsch observes that “vocabulary size is a convenient proxy for a whole range of educational attainments and abilities—not just…

So it is characteristic of us professors of political philosophy to neglect what is really going in the “hard” sciences. I remember, for example, being astonished that Allan Bloom, in The Closing of the American Mind, came close to saying that the one real thing in American universities otherwise deformed by relativism was natural science. And then he said virtually…

So here’s my contribution to a symposium on “originalism” as the mode of interpreting the Constitution that facilitates the maximization of the libertarian value of “negative liberty.” Everyone else in the symposium operates on a higher pay grade than I do when it comes to really knowing all about the controversies in the field of constitutional law right now. There’s…

There’s a distinguished political scientist—Jacqueline Stevens—who agrees with me that the National Science Foundation (NSF) ought to cut the funding for political science. The Republicans in Congress think that these “scientists” are covertly pushing an ideological agenda that lurks behinds all their jargon and “methods.” That’s somewhat true. When applied to the lives of human beings, everyone knows that the…

https://youtu.be/5HbYScltf1c
Kids are by nature mean. Smart phones make them meaner. Why? They can’t see the faces and experience the reactions of those they diss. Their “humor” is more cruelly fun than it might otherwise be, because it’s unchastened by empathy. Smart phones work against the emotion that evolutionary psychologists say we need to moderate our selfish struggle for status.
The real…

So everyone’s talking about the article by the intellectual Russell Jacoby on the alleged fact that there are no conservative intellectuals anymore.
The article isn’t much good, in fact. One problem is that it doesn’t really explain what an intellectual is.
The first outstanding criticism of modern intellectuals came from the lefty philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He explained that in a modern, sophisticated…

The word “dignity” is not particularly Christian. It has no special significance in the Scriptures and not much history as a theological concept. Only in the twentieth century did moral theologians begin to use it when addressing issues such as abortion, religious liberty, and economic justice. Neither does the word come to us from the classical philosophers such as Plato…

American Heresies and Higher Education. Peter Augustine Lawler. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press, 2016.
 
American higher education is in a crisis of long duration, and there is no end in sight. Liberal education is under assault by advocates of political correctness, with the aim of silencing rational discussion, particularly on topics related to approved victim groups. The college experience is…