Liberal Learning

We Need More Imaginative Conservatives

By |2019-08-02T10:38:53-05:00July 28th, 2019|Categories: Conservatism, Culture, Imagination, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Politics|

Imagination is what makes a person human. A well-developed imagination is the key to a richer, fuller life, not just for the individual but for the community. When society suffers a loss of imagination, counterfeit forms of it will start appearing. Therefore, it should be the goal of conservatives to revive society’s imagination. It [...]

The Past-Present

By |2019-07-18T12:54:06-05:00July 22nd, 2019|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, History, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, Senior Contributors, St. John's College, Time, Tradition|

The past is, indeed, a place in which to take refuge when it is necessary to pull back, to contemplate life, and to mull things over. The present is the phase for brisk deliberation, decision, and action; for being in that sleepwalking state in which we do, more or less surefootedly, the one thing [...]

How Poetry Can Save Us in Our Age of Superficiality

By |2019-07-21T21:51:02-05:00July 21st, 2019|Categories: Culture, Liberal Learning, Literature, Poetry, Timeless Essays|

Poetry will not improve our students’ job prospects or make them better office workers, but it is more important now than ever to teach poetry because it offers a unique antidote to the superficiality that dominates American culture. Poetry calls us back to tradition and calls us out of the shallows into the deeper [...]

The Moral Imagination & Imaginative Conservatism

By |2019-07-19T14:32:07-05:00July 17th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Edmund Burke, Eva Brann, Imagination, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Jane Austen, Moral Imagination, St. John's College|

Moral imagination runs not incidentally but necessarily in tandem with a certain aspect of conservatism, what I think of as imaginative conservatism… The Moral Imagination: From Edmund Burke to Lionel Trilling, by Gertrude Himmelfarb (259 pages, Ivan R. Dee, 2006) The Moral Imagination is a very engaging collection of a dozen essays on a dozen [...]

We Hold These Truths: Thoughts on the U.S. Constitution

By |2019-07-15T14:52:17-05:00July 15th, 2019|Categories: Audio/Video, Constitution, St. John's College|

Editor's Note: What is the duty of government? What are the rights of man in a civilized society? What is the purpose of law? Mortimer Adler, scholar of, and advocate for, the Great Books, attempts to answer these questions and more in the following interview. Interposed with scenes of discussion from a seminar conducted at [...]

In Defense of the Humanities

By |2019-07-14T21:32:01-05:00July 14th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Great Books, Humanities, Liberal Learning, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays|

Any talk of saving culture, or restoring culture, begins with a defense of the humanities. Any hope of cultural revival equally begins with a re-emergence of the humanities. Any hope to truly celebrate—though not uncritically—the human person rests with being drenched in the dewfall of the humanities. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series [...]

“American Priest”: Father Ted Hesburgh’s Ambition & Conflicted Legacy

By |2019-07-14T02:34:27-05:00July 13th, 2019|Categories: Books, Catholicism, Christianity, Education, Leadership|

Can there be such a thing as a great Catholic university, if greatness is defined as Princeton and Harvard and Yale—and Fr. Hesburgh—would define it? Probably not. Fr. Hesburgh failed to achieve the goal that he set for himself, while succeeding greatly at something that he did not set out to do. American Priest: [...]

The Power of Metaphor

By |2019-07-12T12:26:29-05:00July 11th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Literature, Poetry, Writing|

Metaphor should not be approached as some “thing,” but as a transformative power, the invisible process by which “things” come into being. Using metaphor, even very simple language and very common-place images can be brought into new, unique constellations. Contrary to the sundry definitions of metaphor proffered by many school teachers and dictionaries, metaphor [...]

Reflections on Imaginative Conservatism

By |2019-07-11T10:58:46-05:00July 9th, 2019|Categories: Conservatism, E.B., Eva Brann, Imagination, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, St. John's College, The Imaginative Conservative|

My first and last care is not politics but education. Education seems to me inherently conservative, being the transmission, and thus the saving, of a tradition’s treasures of fiction and thought. But education is also inherently imaginative. Author’s Note: I wish to dedicate this essay to a writer of books whose greatness is at [...]

The Declaration of Independence: Translucent Poetry

By |2019-07-03T21:24:51-05:00July 3rd, 2019|Categories: American Founding, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, James Madison, Samuel Adams, St. John's College, Thomas Jefferson|

The Declaration of Independence, intended as an expression of the common opinion, is truly a text of "right opinion," a benign practical text which also has a peculiarly sound relation to the realm of thought. Section I:  The Legacy of the Declaration When American schoolchildren first discover that they have a place in the world they [...]

The Roots of Political Correctness

By |2019-07-01T00:59:45-05:00June 30th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Liberal Learning, Politics, Ray Bradbury, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

Over the last thirty years, political correctness has metastasized. Today, so many politically-correct assumptions have become mainstream that, as Tocqueville once predicted, they have narrowed our questions and our ability to question, rather than actually tell us the exact answers to things. Over the last decade, it has become normal for students, professors, and the [...]

Chesterton the Crusader: Using Words as a Sword

By |2019-06-28T23:53:52-05:00June 28th, 2019|Categories: Books, Christian Humanism, Christianity, G.K. Chesterton, Joseph Pearce, Sainthood, Senior Contributors, Writing|

More than anyone, Dale Ahlquist has borne witness to the power of G.K. Chesterton and has witnessed the resurrection of Chesterton’s reputation. His book is therefore the fruit of much labour and tremendous knowledge, as well as being an act of unabashed homage to one whom Mr. Ahlquist considers to be not merely a [...]

The Importance of Learning to Argue: From Ancient Greece Through the Present

By |2019-06-26T22:48:36-05:00June 26th, 2019|Categories: Civilization, Education, Great Books, Liberal Learning, Socrates, St. John's College|

Perhaps more than ever, we have a need for education of a particular kind: an education that trains one in the habits of exchanging ideas. Not a forum for the debate of settled opinions, where victory is the end, but an education that is the forge and working house of thought itself. In order [...]