Liberal Education: The Foundation and Preservation of a Free Society

By |2019-02-28T15:50:32-05:00February 27th, 2019|

In a time of economic uncertainty, liberal education holds out the promise of joy in learning, contentment in contemplating truth, and satisfaction in community. These things are available to all people, rich or poor. Liberal education and the free society have always been intimately connected. A liberal education, an education which prepares one for [...]

Freedom’s Flaw in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

By |2019-02-09T14:24:15-05:00February 8th, 2019|

Mrs. Maisel must decide, like all other men and women who follow a path that separates them from their family, home, gods, and city, whether the allure of a life in the spotlight and the total freedom it promises is preferable to, or reconcilable with, the many good things she risks turning away from… [...]

Humanity Dehumanized: Hegel’s Reflections on the Enlightenment & the French Revolution

By |2019-01-20T22:27:17-05:00January 21st, 2019|

The Enlightenment, that is modern reason, failed us in part, Hegel shows, both for the history it left behind and the legacy it bequeathed us. Indeed it brought us and spirit to the point of self-destruction... Editor's Note: This essay is part of a series dedicated to Senior Contributor Dr. Eva Brann of St. John’s College, Annapolis, in [...]

The Tower of Babel and Charles Péguy’s Defeatist Optimism

By |2019-01-15T21:43:51-05:00January 15th, 2019|

Latent in the seeds of all social movements, Charles Péguy asserted, are invariably good intentions: altruism, the common good, solidarity, or perhaps the search for truth. Why, then, must they all end in politics? One of the most influential public intellectuals of the French belle époque, Charles Péguy, had every reason to be weary of [...]

How Do We Restore the American Order?

By |2018-11-25T22:00:14-05:00November 25th, 2018|

This is America’s tragic situation: The unifying framework of the American creed is now broken. The result is an America that is coming apart… On every American coin, there is the Latin expression, e pluribus unum, meaning “one out of many.” The motto is a celebration of the variety found in America expressed by [...]

Higher Gossip: Eva Brann on the Good Life

By |2018-10-24T10:36:21-05:00October 24th, 2018|

Publisher's Note: In this episode of a documentary series on St. John's College's most beloved tutors, Senior Contributor Dr. Eva Brann recounts how she escaped Nazi Germany and ended up at the College; her relationships with such philosophic luminaries as Jacob Klein, Seth Benardete, and Leo Strauss; and her vision of the good life. —Video by [...]

America’s Freedom Image Problem

By |2018-09-26T15:23:34-05:00September 25th, 2018|

The week after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress. He gave in many respects an eloquent and well-crafted speech. It set down with considerable skill the meaning of the attacks and reasons to launch the war on terrorism. Nonetheless, the President made few references [...]

Truth as a Democratic Project

By |2018-09-18T05:47:02-05:00September 18th, 2018|

To save democracy from subjectivism, truth must become a democratic project. The greatest of crimes can be enacted in the name of sincerity, authenticity, and “being at peace with oneself.” Each of these criteria looks to one’s own estimate of oneself… During the Presidential Campaign of 1996, in California, President Bill Clinton said that [...]

The Faces of Freedom

By |2018-07-25T00:02:32-05:00July 24th, 2018|

The suspicion that Frank S. Meyer’s “autonomous” individuals are not only abstractions but meaningless abstractions grows when we consider his conception of freedom… In Defense of Freedom: A Conservative Credo by Frank S. Meyer (179 pages, Regnery, 1962) In this book, Frank Meyer proposes to give us “a conservative criterion for a good society, a [...]

Has “Freedom” Lost Its Ring?

By |2018-07-17T23:58:57-05:00July 17th, 2018|

A mishandling of the word freedom, using it to mean license, liberty, or even anarchy, has made it as worn as a poker chip, as American novelist Walker Percy once said. When words become thus worn, “they don’t mean anything”... What to do when the leader of the free world expresses envy and admiration of [...]

Thomas Jefferson and the Paradox of Slavery

By |2018-04-19T20:32:27-05:00April 17th, 2018|

The masters of slaves, it turned out, were themselves neither independent nor self-sufficient, but were bound to, and reliant upon, their slaves both for their welfare and their identity. This vague recognition in part accounts for the grim tone that Thomas Jefferson adopted in his analysis of slavery: He had to confront the prospect [...]

A Christian Solution to the Tariff Question

By |2019-02-28T11:20:09-05:00March 19th, 2018|

Economics alone will not provide the answer to the tariff question. We need to address the superior side of man’s nature, which is spiritual. When this spiritual side is addressed, it guides and gives rise to political, social, cultural, and economic solutions in sync with human nature… As I watch the debate over tariffs, [...]

Orestes Brownson and the Limits of Freedom

By |2019-04-11T11:27:34-05:00March 3rd, 2018|

If a democracy drifts into unlimited notions of freedom, the best course of action is not to strip citizens of freedom, but rather to educate them, so that they can correct any constitutional abuses that contributed or led the way to the abyss of nihilism… Introduction This essay will revisit the age-old concern with [...]