Patrick J. Deneen

Is Academic Freedom Inherently Good?

By |2015-03-21T17:34:55-05:00March 21st, 2015|Categories: Catholicism, Education, Freedom, John Stuart Mill|Tags: , |

Rarely do opinion pieces in college newspapers emerge as subjects of national controversy, but a recent essay by Harvard student Sandra Y.L. Korn has generated widespread denunciation among conservatives. Her essay—entitled “The Doctrine of Academic Freedom”*—argues for dispensing with longstanding commitments to “academic freedom” in favor of what she calls “academic justice.” Academic freedom [...]

Equality, Tyranny, and Despotism in Democracy: Remembering Alexis de Tocqueville

By |2019-07-23T11:17:37-05:00March 15th, 2015|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Equality|Tags: |

Among conservatives and liberals alike, the French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville is perhaps the most often quoted political theorist of democracy. In the words of Harvey Mansfield and Delba Winthrop, Tocqueville’s two-volume work Democracy in America (1835) remains “at once the best book ever written on democracy and the best book ever written on [...]

The Progressive Liberal Tradition

By |2019-10-10T13:08:12-05:00February 28th, 2015|Categories: Liberalism, Progressivism, Tradition|Tags: |

There is legitimate debate over whether “progressive liberalism” constitutes a radical departure from, and even betrayal of, the basic commitments of “classical liberalism,” or whether it represents the next logical step in liberalism’s development. Both positions have merit. Many of the original architects of “progressive liberalism” begin with an explicit rejection of several of [...]

The Case for “Serfdom,” Rightly Understood

By |2014-04-26T16:50:26-05:00April 26th, 2014|Categories: Conservatism, Robert Nisbet|Tags: , |

Last Saturday I had the honor of addressing the 50th anniversary meeting of the Philadelphia Society. The title of the meeting was “The Road Ahead—Serfdom or Liberty?” My remarks sought to suggest that conservatives should be more circumspect about their rote incantation of the word “liberty,” and that there may even be something to [...]

Tocqueville on the Individualist Roots of Progressivism

By |2019-04-11T10:35:41-05:00November 29th, 2013|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Conservatism, Progressivism|Tags: , |

A friend once described conservatives as people who agreed about one important thing–that at some point in the past, something went terribly wrong. After that, conservatives splinter into untold numbers of camps, since they disagree ferociously about the date of the catastrophe. Most conservatives today agree that America has taken a terrible turn–that something [...]

Counterfeiting Conservatism

By |2013-10-25T11:02:24-05:00October 19th, 2013|Categories: Conservatism, Michael Oakeshott|Tags: , |

Michael Oakeshott Conservatism is the “ism” that came into being to resist the existence of “isms.” This makes for potentially insurmountable challenges: How to evince a political belief that avoids the rigidity of ideology? Can one take a political position without becoming a political program? Can the principled stand against a politics based [...]

Homer and Political Philosophy

By |2019-05-17T23:06:22-05:00June 21st, 2013|Categories: Books, Classics, Homer, Iliad, Odyssey|Tags: , |

The Odyssey of Political Theory: The Politics of Departure and Return, by Patrick J. Deneen Patrick Deneen, an assistant professor of political science at Princeton University, sets out in this book to assess the contemporary relevance of the Homeric legacy, especially the Odyssey. He wishes to avoid both mere pious praise of Homer as [...]

Who Closed the American Mind?: Allan Bloom, Burke, Multiculturalism

By |2019-02-19T16:20:17-05:00May 29th, 2013|Categories: Books, Culture, Edmund Burke, Education|Tags: , , , |

One crisp morning 26 years ago I was walking across the campus of the University of Chicago, where I had just enrolled as a first-year Ph.D. candidate in the renowned Committee on Social Thought. While I had not yet met him, I had heard much about Allan Bloom, a legendary professor, teacher, and lecturer. [...]

Patriotic Vision: At Home in a World Made Strange

By |2019-04-18T12:21:22-05:00April 16th, 2012|Categories: Patriotism|Tags: , |

  Patriotism exhibits an unarticulated agreement with Aristotle’s great and challenging assertion that “all men are by nature political animals.” According to Aristotle, humanity in full flourishing requires the goods that a political community affords—the material goods of sustenance, shelter, protection by an organized defense, and the less quantifiable goods of education, the bonds [...]