The April-June edition of America’s leading journal of political science–PERSPECTIVES ON POLITICAL SCIENCE–is out.
There’s a symposium on the retirement of Father James Schall (who was America’s best teacher of political science) and articles on Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City, Tocqueville, Suarez, and Jefferson. Plus reviews of books by Scuton and Pangle! What other journal can pack all that into a single issue?
Scott Walter’s tribute to Schall is mainly about friendship. Only a true friend and teacher is “brave enough to talk to his students honestly about suffering, death, and even hell.”
And Cynthia Searcy observes with wonderful appreciation: “In good priestly fashion, Fr. Schall has never sought to draw attention to himself or to cultivate a cult of personality. His goals were at once very modest and hopelessly lofty. He wanted to converse with the young, talking about the things that are. He wanted to pursue the truth together.”
It is Father Schall’s determination to stick to the things that are–to be genuinely and deeply empirical–that has made him such a great teacher of political science.
I have only time to add that Michael Kochin’s article on Rossellini’s film as a way of thinking about “the triumph and tragedy of Christian Democratic Europe” also can’t be missed. Here’s a taste:
The tragedy of Christian Democatic Europe lies in the collapse of Christian personalism into liberal individualism. Personalism stressed living well as a person in family, Church, and community; individualism stressed living autonomously as an individual freed of the repressive norms fostered by family, Church, and community. The distinctive program of Christian Democracy from its earliest inception was defense of the family against state-sponsored efforts to free the individual from family bonds through welfare schemes, state education, and divorce reform. The tragedy of Christian Democracy is the tragedy of European civilization as a whole because the triumph of individualism has undermined commitment to family and thus discouraged menn and women from becoming parents.
I hope to get around to revieweing the rest of the issue soon.