First Things RSS Feed - Peter Lawler
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60The Tool of Selective Nostalgiahttps://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/10/the-tool-of-selective-nostalgia
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:41:00 -firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Lawler)Yuval Levin has done a great service by showing
how nostalgia blinds
. And that malady affects both the left and the right in America today.
The Conservative Road to Serfdom?https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/04/the-conservative-road-to-serfdom
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -email@example.com (Peter Lawler) George Will
that American politics is divided between conservatives, “who take their bearings from the individual’s right to a capacious, indeed indefinite, realm of freedom” and progressives “whose fundamental value is the right of the majority to have its way in making rules about which specified liberties shall be respected.” For Will, real conservatives favor an activist judiciary that will aggressively defend our “capacious, indeed indefinite realm of freedom” from the majority.
]]>The Voracious Noughthttps://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/04/the-voracious-nought
Tue, 08 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Lawler)I just got back from
giving a lecture at a small liberal-arts college. The tenured professors were
complaining. (That, after all, is allegedly what tenure gives professors the
unlimited right to do). Their main complaint: Students are no longer doing the
reading for “core texts” or “real books” courses.
]]>(Academic) Freedom Is Not Another Word for Nothing Left to Losehttps://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/03/academic-freedom-is-not-another-word-for-nothing-left-to-lose
Thu, 20 Mar 2014 15:15:00 -email@example.com (Peter Lawler)An
author in the Harvard Crimson
has sparked a controversy by arguing that academic freedom should give way to academic justice. We shouldn’t tolerate professors, visiting speakers, or even students defending opinions we
to be unjust. As far as I can tell, she means opinions that contradict fundamentally what the late Harvard professor John Rawls described in
A Theory of Justice
. Rawls’ theory isn’t just
theory. Inquiry about the perennial question of what justice isthe kind of inquiry we see displayed in Plato’s
has come to an end. The question has been answered! Now’s the time to make justice reign in the academic community and soon all of America by casting out those who are too obstinate or stupid or evil to see what we can all now see with own eyes, what well-intentioned people can’t help but know.
]]>Matthew McConaughey and American Manlinesshttps://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/03/the-oscars-on-the-past-and-future-of-american-men
Mon, 03 Mar 2014 11:41:00 -firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Lawler)
Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar acceptance speech began, to the
uncomfortable astonishment of the audience, with his looking heavenward to
acknowledge God and his dad, a working-class southern guy who is still drinking
Miller Lite in heaven. He thanks his father for teaching him how to be a man
and his mother for teaching him how to respect himself and others. It was an
audacious effort to forever brand himself as a Christian-stoic son of Texas.
]]>Among the Snake Handlershttps://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/02/among-the-snake-handlers
Thu, 27 Feb 2014 00:04:00 -email@example.com (Peter Lawler)
Years ago, I went twice to the snake-handling Church of the Lord
Jesus Christ in Kingston, Georgiaabout twenty miles from where I live. It wasn’t my
unbounded personal curiosity that led me to that church the first time. I went
with a group of Christian sociologists who were meeting at Berry College, where
I teach. I had given them their keynote address, and so it seemed rude
not to see their party through to its conclusion.
]]>A Defense of Downton’s Nostalgiahttps://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/02/selective-nostalgia-downton-abeey-george-will-and-me
Wed, 12 Feb 2014 09:39:00 -firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Lawler)I wrote a
using nostalgia astutely as a way of showing us the strengths and weaknesses of
aristocracy. Aristocrats had relational virtuesa clear sense of the connection
between privileges and responsibilitiesthat we don’t. When it comes to money
and justice, however, we middle-class democrats know better. Astute nostalgia is
always self-consciously selective. The model of that kind of analytic use
of nostalgia is Alexis de Tocqueville’s
Democracy in America
, which is full of
aristocratic criticisms of democracy and democratic criticisms of
]]>Catholic and American (and Quirky About It)https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/02/catholic-and-ambiguous-pro-american-and-quirky-about-it
Sat, 08 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -email@example.com (Peter Lawler)Now I’ve
gotten several emails, two from leading Catholic American thinkers, telling me,
in the words of one, that Patrick Deneen “hit me below the belt” in some essay
. I checked it out. I may have been hit below the belt,
but it didn’t hurt. But I guess I can’t leave it at that, for fear you’d have
the wrong idea about what I have or don’t have below the belt.
]]>Students Do Not Live By MOOC Alonehttps://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/02/postmodern-conservatism-and-higher-education
Thu, 06 Feb 2014 14:55:00 -firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Lawler)Over the last year or so, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to critics of American higher education. The best ones are from a “disruptive” or libertarian point of view, a kind of libertarianism that’s found in Democratic Silicon Valley as much as among economists and Republican governors. Those criticisms are all about “bubbles.” There’s the higher educational bubble in cost, which is very similar to the bubble that burst not so long ago in the housing market. Tuitions and total costs are rising much more rapidly than the rate of inflation; meanwhile, the product, especially in the social sciences and the humanities, is getting increasingly shoddy.
]]>Postmodern Conservatism and Libertarianismhttps://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/01/postmodern-conservatism-and-libertarianism
Fri, 31 Jan 2014 15:28:00 -email@example.com (Peter Lawler)Many conservatives say that those darn progressives are making our country more collectivist. And one result is the growing culture of dependency. We’re getting further and further down that “road to serfdom.”