American Heresies and Higher Education

By |2020-04-17T10:16:08-05:00April 17th, 2020|Categories: Christianity, Culture, Liberal Learning, Peter A. Lawler, Timeless Essays|

Modern higher education tacitly accepts that any values pertaining to the intangible aspects of our experience, such as the humble appreciation of beauty or a passion for justice, are not real on account of being non-quantifiable; Socratic ignorance or wonder at life’s mysteries are lost, as are the moments of silence and grace during [...]

A Restless Tocqueville

By |2020-04-15T12:15:29-05:00April 15th, 2020|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Books, Bruce Frohnen, Liberalism, Peter A. Lawler, Philosophy, Politics|

Alexis de Tocqueville distanced himself from the liberal view that men by nature spontaneously would form lives of blissful contentment, were they not “corrupted” by political society. Nonetheless, at the heart of this liberal Tocqueville lies the “restless mind”—a mind that sees the essence of humanity in the realization that each of us “dies [...]

Our Hero: Socrates in the Underworld

By |2020-05-13T15:58:07-05:00March 24th, 2020|Categories: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Books, Essential, Peter A. Lawler, Senior Contributors, Socrates, Timeless Essays, Truth|

Socrates in the Underworld: On Plato’s Gorgias, by Nalin Ranasinghe (192 pages, St. Augustine Press, 2009) Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Peter Augustine Lawler as he reflects on how Socrates models both rightly-ordered eros and logos, in contrast to the Stoics and Sophists. —W. Winston Elliott III, [...]

What Is Human Dignity?

By |2019-09-17T14:09:48-05:00July 8th, 2017|Categories: American Republic, Immanuel Kant, Peter A. Lawler, Philosophy, Rights|

We display our dignity by imposing our will on nature to create a world where we can live as dignified beings—or not as miserably self-conscious and utterly precarious accidents… As we remember our friend Peter Augustine Lawler (1951–2017), we are proud to publish this selection from his insightful book Modern and American Dignity (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, [...]

Peter Lawler, Rest in Peace

By |2019-12-26T23:20:33-06:00May 23rd, 2017|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Liberal Learning, Peter A. Lawler|

Rather gruff and rumpled-looking, Peter Lawler was absolutely and always his own man. Not from an elite or Ivy League background, Peter nevertheless could have, and often did, run complete circles around his intellectual opponents, many of whom thought themselves superior. An American original and an anti-individualist individual, he was the very personification of a healthy [...]

American Heresies and Higher Education

By |2020-03-18T22:17:12-05:00May 4th, 2017|Categories: Christianity, Featured, Liberal Learning, Peter A. Lawler|

Modern higher education tacitly accepts that any values pertaining to the intangible aspects of our experience, such as the humble appreciation of beauty or a passion for justice, are not real on account of being non-quantifiable; Socratic ignorance or wonder at life’s mysteries are lost, as are the moments of silence and grace during [...]

What Can the Puritans Teach Us About Philanthropy?

By |2020-01-09T11:11:34-06:00January 10th, 2017|Categories: American Founding, Peter A. Lawler, Social Institutions|

Our Puritans were the most serious of philanthropists. They became pilgrims not in the service of some get-rich-quick scheme, but to make an idea real. They developed unprecedented political institutions grounded in heartfelt democratic civic duty, and they provided for the education of everyone as creatures not only born to work, but to share [...]

Should the Constitution Be Venerated?

By |2016-11-15T09:20:38-06:00October 21st, 2016|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Constitution, Featured, Federalist Papers, History, Liberty, Peter A. Lawler|

The instinctive conservative response is to reject the idea of the living constitution for various and conflicting reasons. One such reason is the conservative recognition that even a free country depends on tradition. Federalist 49 says the Constitution should be very hard to change in order that it pick up “the veneration that time [...]

Our Hero: Socrates in the Underworld

By |2020-05-13T15:58:59-05:00June 26th, 2016|Categories: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Books, Featured, Peter A. Lawler, Senior Contributors, Socrates, Timeless Essays, Truth|

Socrates in the Underworld: On Plato’s Gorgia, by Nalin Ranasinghe (192 pages, St. Augustine Press, 2009) Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Peter Augustine Lawler as he reflects on how Socrates models both rightly-ordered eros and logos, in contrast to the Stoics and Sophists. —W. Winston Elliott III, [...]

Funding the Forecasting Failures of Political Science

By |2015-11-06T16:55:36-06:00November 6th, 2015|Categories: Economics, Peter A. Lawler, Politics, Science|

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 [...]

The Darwinism of Amazon

By |2015-09-30T17:08:47-05:00September 30th, 2015|Categories: Economics, Peter A. Lawler, Technology|

Here is what I learned from the article* about Amazon in the New York Times: Amazon is the place where your performance is constantly monitored with the latest metrics and you better not have a baby or get cancer. And where you embrace the “purposeful Darwinism” that encourages you to rat out your fellow [...]

Manliness: Proving Darwin Wrong

By |2019-09-10T16:35:11-05:00September 27th, 2015|Categories: Culture, Featured, Peter A. Lawler, Religion, Science|

America’s two most astute social commentators, the political philosopher Harvey Mansfield and the novelist Tom Wolfe, have weighed in on the debate over the neo-Darwinian view of evolution. They agree that the real controversy in our country is not between rationalists who preach evolutionism and fundamentalists who live in Darwin-denial, but between those who [...]

What is the Role of Leo Strauss in Conservative Thought?

By |2015-07-31T12:03:41-05:00July 23rd, 2015|Categories: Conservatism, Featured, Leo Strauss, Peter A. Lawler|Tags: |

One difference between postmodern conservatives and other contributors to First Thoughts has to do with being influenced by Leo Strauss. Each pomoncon can speak for himself (or herself). But I would say that we all regard that influence as making us better and especially more astute thinkers and readers of first-rate books than we would otherwise be. [...]