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Patrick Deneen is David A. Potenziani Memorial Professor of Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His previous “On the Square” articles can be found here.

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Sticking It

From First Thoughts

Not to revisit a debate that, by internet standards, is now ancient history – having taken place as a result of my posting last week in criticism of the modern conservative commitment to profoundly anti-conservative philosophy of liberalism – but looking over what Peter wrote and others . . . . Continue Reading »

Richard John Neuhaus (1936-2009)

From First Thoughts

Especially in his classic 1984 work The Naked Public Square , Neuhaus tackled important and still timely issues regarding the religious underpinnings of American life, the proper division between church and state, and the real meaning of American secularism. Insofar as these studies forced him to . . . . Continue Reading »

Conserving Liberalism?

From First Thoughts

We enter a season in which the meaning of conservatism becomes the ping-pong ball du jour.  With not only an election, but the meaning of the “movement” in itself in the contention, people of various beliefs and commitments seek to lay claim to the word and thereby to the direction . . . . Continue Reading »


From First Thoughts

Since my name is now on the masthead, perhaps an introduction is in order. My name is Patrick Deneen, and - like a few other people who write here - I am by trade a political theorist. I teach at Georgetown University where I hold a chair in Hellenic studies and nearly three years ago founded a . . . . Continue Reading »

Postmodern Conservatism and Diversity

From First Thoughts

Genuine diversity depends, of course, on lives formed by different understandings of the self or soul. Our tradition of diversity has been largely of diverse religious communities. Now we talk so much about diversity because we’re anxiously aware that we’re losing it. Diversity has largely been . . . . Continue Reading »