Peter Lawler

About Peter Lawler

Peter Augustine Lawler (1951-2017) was a Senior Contributor to The Imaginative Conservative. He served as Dana Professor of Political Science at Berry College in Georgia. He was the editor of the quarterly journal Perspectives in Political Science and authored Postmodernism Rightly Understood: The Return to Realism in American Thought, Aliens in America: The Strange Truth about Our Souls, Modern and American Dignity: Who We Are as Persons, and What That Means for Our Future, and American Heresies and Higher Education.

Grateful Hope in Things Unseen

By |2015-11-10T17:57:03-06:00May 8th, 2015|Categories: Christianity, Education, Flannery O'Connor, Peter A. Lawler, South|

Alan Jacobs patiently explains why even the most scrupulous of scholars can’t understand the first thing about Flannery O’Connor’s stories without at least a good deal of biblical literacy.* Well, a real poet or a person with genuine artistic and psychological sensitivity can understand something about her writing without the Bible. John Huston’s film [...]

Silicon Valley: Trashing the Liberal Arts

By |2015-05-01T16:59:18-05:00May 1st, 2015|Categories: American Founding, Classical Education, Conservatism, Education, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Peter A. Lawler|

So there was a decent article in the WSJ calling upon conservatives to stop trashing the liberal arts. The argument: Conservatives respect the wisdom of our Founders, and Jefferson and the others really thought that liberal education as bookish civic education, at least, was indispensable for self-governing citizens. We need to be educated to [...]

Liberal Education is for Everyone

By |2015-04-17T15:54:00-05:00April 17th, 2015|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Education, Peter A. Lawler|

What Villanova should be famous for is its well-funded and brilliantly staffed ”great books” gen-ed alternative program and a real surge in “great books” humanities majors. The program really does has a Christian/Augustinian focus without in any way neglecting either classical or modern authors. Now, according to Tocqueville, the point of higher education today [...]

Educational Diversity in America

By |2015-04-08T16:29:21-05:00April 8th, 2015|Categories: Christianity, Culture, Education, Liberal Learning, Peter A. Lawler|

So I’ve written an article* for Yuval’s National Affairs that’s all about sustaining truly higher education in America through deploying libertarian means to achieve non-libertarian ends. There’s a sense in which all libertarians are for that, of course. In a free country, the money we make through being productive is for satisfying our (subjective) [...]

Conservative Reform, Chesterton, and the Chieftains

By |2018-12-05T11:53:14-06:00March 25th, 2015|Categories: Catholicism, Christianity, Conservatism, G.K. Chesterton, Peter A. Lawler|Tags: |

I need to preach from a Christian text. Being Catholic, I often don’t think of the Bible first in searching for said text. We’ve been reading Chesterton’s Orthodoxy in my little side seminar on Christian political thought. Before Chesterton, we read Pascal and Saint Augustine. And that prepared one of my students to criticize [...]

Why Pierre Manent Should Be on Your Bookshelf

By |2015-03-24T17:08:49-05:00March 19th, 2015|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Books, Featured, Peter A. Lawler|Tags: |

So I have in my hands the galleys of our Ralph Hancock’s lovingly expert translation of Pierre Manent’s Seeing Things Politically. Let me explain why you should buy it from St. Augustine’s Press as soon as it comes out. Pierre Manent is probably the most deeply original, broadly erudite, and genuinely politically engaged thinker [...]

Is It OK to Use Libertarian Means for Conservative Ends?

By |2015-03-11T16:41:27-05:00March 11th, 2015|Categories: Education, Libertarianism, Peter A. Lawler|

One of our slogans is libertarian means for non-libertarian ends. That one works especially well in education. A big danger to the moral and intellectual diversity that graces our country’s mixture of public and private education—especially higher education—is increasingly intrusive bureaucratic government and quasi-governmental entities, such as accrediting agencies. In this category of homogenizing [...]

Innovation, Creativity, and Civilized Leisure

By |2015-03-05T17:04:23-06:00March 5th, 2015|Categories: Culture, Peter A. Lawler, Technology|

So thanks to Carl for talking up Carson Holloway, The Imaginative Conservative, and civilized leisure. Carson is also a forceful opponent of judicial supremacy. That is the view that the Court says what the Constitution is, the view that fuels the renewed focus on (libertarian) judicial activism. The Court does not, in fact, have [...]

Those Nasty Aristocrats: Why We Should Be More Like Them

By |2015-02-26T17:31:15-06:00February 26th, 2015|Categories: Education, Peter A. Lawler, Virtue|

So my reservations about Scott Walker as presidential candidate have to do with my reservations about his diagnosis concerning why higher education is not efficient and effective. The disease: Faculty do not teach and otherwise work hard enough, combined with the residual “shared governance” (between faculty and administration) that inhibits administrative innovation and makes [...]

Is the Planet Earth Our Only Home?

By |2015-02-18T20:08:18-06:00February 19th, 2015|Categories: Peter A. Lawler, Science|

In early 2015, I gave a couple of lectures at Carleton College in Minnesota. One was on our visions on human future in space. I talked about three visionaries—Tom Wolfe, Carl Sagan, and the Nolan brothers (Interstellar). The intelligent students were on board with Carl Sagan’s vision of wise and benevolent ETI (extraterrestrial intelligence) as a [...]

Remembering Jaffa and Berns

By |2016-10-30T08:08:30-05:00February 5th, 2015|Categories: Leo Strauss, Peter A. Lawler|Tags: |

Walter Berns and Harry Jaffa, two legendary teachers and scholars, died within hours of each other. What tied them together is that they were both students of Leo Strauss, and all of their writing was fundamentally indebted to “disruptive innovations” that Strauss introduced into our understanding of thought and politics. Jaffa (born in 1918) [...]

Making Community College Free

By |2015-01-22T16:34:06-06:00January 22nd, 2015|Categories: Education, Government, Peter A. Lawler|

I certainly can join the chorus opposing President Barack Obama’s scheme to make the federal government the dominant partner in making community college free. That much money will be accompanied by a corresponding amount of regulation. Insofar as possible, community colleges should be community colleges, or creatures of states and localities. Not only that, [...]

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