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The Soul of the American University

Our subject is one of those peculiar phenomena taken for granted in the contemporary world but which from an historical perspective seem anomalous. The phenomenon is that the huge numbers of Protestants in the United States support almost no distinctively Christian program in higher education other . . . . Continue Reading »

When Families Fail

Perhaps the most striking feature of our contemporary political landscape is the failure of the tattered labels “liberal” and “conservative” any longer to convey useful distinctions. In my own field of education policy, for example, those who get called conservative are in fact deeply . . . . Continue Reading »

Capitalism and the Disorders of Modernity

For most people in America, all those not familiar with the complicated ideological positioning on the right end of the political spectrum, the term “conservative” evokes images of the board room, the country club, and the Episcopal church located not far from the latter. In other words, the . . . . Continue Reading »

David Byrne and the Curse of Lifestyle

Lately I’ve been noting an interesting linguistic phenomenon: the all-purpose word. You come across it most often in slang, especially the slang of children and adolescents. Take “narly,” for instance—a word which, in my limited acquaintance, seems capable of an almost infinite range of . . . . Continue Reading »

The Death of Religious Higher Education

From time to time, a set of concerns reaches something like a critical mass. Familiar discontents vaguely felt turn into more focused anxieties, and then, all of a sudden it seems, a passel of scholars arrives at a similar analysis of what has gone so thoroughly wrong—and some similar ideas of . . . . Continue Reading »

Notes on the Culture Wars

Almost nobody wants to be called a prude and reactionary, a bluenose puritan and spoilsport. It would not be accurate to say that nobody wants to be perceived that way. Some, when they have been called reactionary once too often, embrace the epithet and exult in it. When he launched National . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

Edmund Burke: Appraisals and Applicationsedited by daniel ritchietransaction books, 291 pages, $29.95 An excellent collection of essays on a political philosopher of timeless value and enduring interest. Burke, the prototype and progenitor of modern conservatism, is considered from various . . . . Continue Reading »

Office Plaza, Sunday Morning

The blue garage can be itself again.The cars have gonedown roads no live things dareto run. Machines aloneare working in the mountainall of glass, in the wasted bloomof day.                  No weather enters there.          . . . . Continue Reading »

Root Cellar

Moving in the cool cellar gloom Among the dusty bulbs and withered tubers Of last year’s old dispensation, I marveled at their mummy masquerade: Dry as death, their brittle skin flaking Under my curious fingers, there they lay. Half-burnt embers of a secret . . . . Continue Reading »

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