A distinguished group of contributors examines the role of the American civil service under the Constitution. The common concern that unites the otherwise diverse approaches of the authors is the conception of public administration as a particular form of political activity. The contributors relate administrative issues to the broader questions of political life, such as political judgment and responsibility, the Constitution and constitutionalism, and the promotion of human liberty and the common good. They aim to encourage the administrator to become a democratic statesman.
"Does human history have a future? In his latest work, Aliens in America, political philosopher Peter Augustine Lawler argues that the advent of the new biotechnology - cloning, gene therapy, Prozac, Ritalin, and the like - means that we must consider anew the possibility that Americans are living near the end of history, a time when full equality will be achieved through the elimination of all that is distinctively human about us: the ability to passionately love and hate, to strive nobly for truth and wisdom, to search for God. For the elimination of human distinctiveness is now being systematically pursued through the biochemical transformation of human nature."
A stunningly diverse array of brief reflections by one of America's leading public intellectuals. Each of these short, pointed, and witty essays applies the wisdom of postmodern conservatism to the issues that rightly occupy so much of life these days. Want to know a bit more about how to watch films, think about TV from American Idol to Mad Men, reflect on the charm of eating at Waffle House, understand why we're all so obsessed with celebrities, muse for a moment or more on why happiness is such a problem for us, be reminded why in this era of biotechnology we actually believe we can be more than human, and be attentive to the real significance of what we remember on Christmas and 9/11? Then this is the self-help book for you. Many of these reflections were written for a basically unfriendly audience, for left libertarian techno-enthusiasts who are contemptuous of religion, tradition, and all that. They have an evangelical spirit; they were written to gently enlarge hearts. Some of these little essays were written, in a way, to preach to the converted, to explain to conservatives why they should lighten up, be less angry, and be more open to the good in the world around them. You can be sure you'll find much that provokes you, and much to share with your friends.
Dissatisfied with existing textbooks, the editors of The American Experiment have assembled 29 lectures from outstanding teachers of American politics to offer a comprehensive overview of American government, from the founding to the role of public opinion and mass media in contemporary American society. Written at a level accessible to beginning students, The American Experiment can be used in place of a main or supplemental text in introductory courses as well as a layperson's guide to American government.
Book jacket: Peter Lawler is one of our most intelligent observers of higher education in America, and these essays demonstrate why. They range from ancient thinkers to today's 'futurists,' from the Puritan colonies to the 21st-century liberal arts college. Along the way, Lawler offers bits of wisdom worth saving, such as this: "The preference for diversity over truth and the common good depends on the detached attitude of the tourist." His work is a sweet and potent antidote to the deterioration of humanitas in the classroom-I've read it for many years. It is also a welcome change from the flaccid and predictable commentary on the university that tumbles forth daily. Mark Bauerlein, Senior Editor of First Things. Professor of Literature at Emory University, and author of The Dumbest Generation. Peter Augustine Lawler is our best national commentator today on higher education, a wise and deft essayist of the abiding importance of liberal education for souls in society. American Heresies and Higher Education overflows with truth, clarity, provocation, and humor. My wild yet sincere hope is that every reader might buy a second copy and send it gift-wrapped to Bill Gates, with the persistent message that the Gates Foundation should be funding and founding, all across America, new Lawler-inspired small residential liberal arts colleges. John Seery, George Irving Thompson Memorial Professor of Government and Professor of Politics, Pomona College, and author of America Goes to College among many other books.
American Political Rhetoric is the only reader designed for introductory classes in American politics and government that is both focused on fundamental political principles and includes nothing but classic examples of our nation's political rhetoric. The fourth edition of this book is completely reorganized, with material both contemporary and classic added to each chapter. The most noteworthy innovations include a separate chapter on gender and the latest Supreme Court opinions on school prayer and abortion.
Presents diverse views of the American understanding of human liberty. This book begins rather traditionally with the Declaration of Independence, but with the un-Jeffersonian view that the Declaration's defense of liberty is not free from Christian presuppositions. That public defense differs from Jefferson's private mixture of Epicureanism and secularized Christianity, which is untenable. Attention is then given to the criticisms of American liberty found in four penetrating bestsellers by Bloom, Bellah, D'Souza, and Fukuyama. Liberty as political liberty is examined in The Federalist and George Bush's failed constitutionalism. The noble defense of human liberty against liberalism is displayed through an overview of contemporary conservative factionalism and through Alexis de Tocqueville's criticism of the therapeutic despotism of the administrative state. The guiding intention of this book is to oppose the therapeutic project to put death to death, and so to bring history or human liberty to an end.
There is a crisis in America revolving around social and political life, and the contributors to this essay collection believe it has provoked a renewed attention to the issue of community in political thought. The 14 essays approach the question of community and political thought from a variety of perspectives, ranging from political philosophy to social theory. All the essays, however, share the concern of the opening essay by Hertzke and McRorie about moral ecology, or determining what is required for a vital and free social and political life and preserving it from erosion by individualism in its various forms. Two of the essays, by Jardine and Stier, deal with understanding the communitarian impulse. Three, by Frohnen, Stone, and Woolfolk, evaluate perhaps the first major contribution to the communitarian movement, Habits of the Heart. While McClay's chapter seeks to restore the connection between federalism and communitarianism, Sharpe's essay connects the liberal-communitarian debate to the classic works of de Tocqueville and Arendt. Two essays, by Knippenberg and Lawler, criticize the quirky communitarianism of America's leading professor of philosophy, Richard Rorty. Lawler also criticizes Bloom for his similarity to Rorty, joining Nichols in her discussion of Bloom's excessive debt to Rousseau. McDaniel and Mahoney present unfashionable appreciations, not without criticism, of the achievement of Leo Strauss's illiberal if not exactly communitarian thought. Finally, Anderson discusses Raymond Aron's prudent opposition to the oxymoronic global community.
Addresses a variety of modern political and social concerns, such as the moral dimension of democracy, the theoretical challenges to democracy in our time, the religious dimension of liberty, and the meaning of work in contemporary American life. Taking innovative and unexpected approaches toward familiar topics, the essays present engaging insights into a democratic society, and the contributors include some of today's leading figures in political philosophy.
An enlightening study of democracy in America's post-modern context. Elizabeth Kaufer Busch and Peter Augustine Lawler explore some of the foundational principles of democracy as they have been borne out in American society. The essays included in this volume examine the lessons that novelists, philosophers, and political theorists have for democratic societies as they progress towards postmodern skepticism or even disbelief in the absolute principles that form the foundation of democracies.
In this rich collection of essays, editors Dale McConkey and Peter Augustine Lawler explore the contributions that religious faith and morality can make to a civil society. Though the level of religious expression has remained high in the United States, the shift from traditional religious beliefs to a far more individualized style of faith has led many to contend that no faith commitment, collective or personal, should contribute to the vibrancy of a civil democratic society. Challenging those who believe that the private realm is the only appropriate locus of religious belief, the contributors to this volume believe that religion can inform and invigorate the secular institutions of society such as education, economics, and politics. Drawn from a wide variety of religious and moral traditions, these diverse essays show, from many perspectives, the important contribution religion has to make in the public square that is civil society.
This rich and varied collection of essays addresses some of the most fundamental human questions through the lenses of philosophy, literature, religion, politics, and theology. Peter Augustine Lawler and Dale McConkey have fashioned an interdisciplinary consideration of such perennial and enduring issues as the relationship between nature and history, nature and grace, reason and revelation, classical philosophy and Christianity, modernity and postmodernity, repentance and self-limitation, and philosophy and politics.
Liberal Education, once the central and defining feature of American Higher Education, has been displaced by technical training and career-oriented majors. But it has also suffered from the decline in genuine liberal learning found in humanities disciplines, owing to specialization, politicization, and the adoption of new literary and psychological theories. The social sciences, too, have arguably abandoned the kind of relentless and sometimes disturbing questioning that used to constitute the core of education. In this compelling volume, thirteen college educators describe in sparkling prose what liberal education is, its place in a liberal democracy, the very serious challenges it faces in the 21st century--even from some of its alleged friends--and why it is important to sustain and expand liberal education's place in American colleges and universities. Originally published as a special issue of Perspectives on Political Science.
A broad and deep exploration of the many ways that today’s Americans are the most and least homeless of the people of the contemporary West. Contemporary Europeans may largely be in the thrall of a postpolitical, postreligious, and postfamilial fantasy, or so alienated that they no longer recognize their alienation. But we Americans are relatively at home with our homelessness, and so comparatively capable of experiencing ourselves not primarily as rootless individuals but as at home as family members, citizens, and creatures still capable of exercising truthfully our familial, political, and religious responsibilities. But the moral and religious practice of Americans is progressively more endangered by their individualistic theory, and even pious, evangelical Americans have trouble explaining themselves to themselves, much less to their fellow citizens. Our democratic concern with the genuine significance of particular individuals – and so with genuinely liberal education – is threatened by the self-denial that produces the theory that human morality can be captured by the theory of selfinterest rightly understood, and even more so by theories that deny the very existence of the self with interests. Lawler takes on contemporary critics such as David Brooks, Tom Wolfe, Harvey Mansfield, Carey McWilliams, and Bernard-Henri Levy, contentious issues such as judicial review, organ markets, evolutionism, and the future of manliness, classic American films such as Casablanca and The Last Days of Disco, and the most profound commentators on our country such as Alexis de Tocqueville and Flannery O’Connor. Throughout, he shows that evolutionism and other forms of impersonal theory don’t even begin to comprehend our continuing concern for our rights, our nobility, and our dignity, not to mention our love of particular persons that point in the direction of love of a personal God. The main purpose of this book is to aid in the recovery of the words that genuinely account for our human experiences and longings.
Winner of "Author of the Year Award for Essay" from the Georgia Writers Association. As political philosopher Peter Augustine Lawler shows in this illuminating book, rights are insecure without some deeper notion of human dignity. The threats to human dignity remain potent today--all the more so for being less obvious. Our anxious and aging society has embraced advances in science, technology, and especially biotechnology--from abortion and embryonic stem-cell research to psychopharmacology, cosmetic surgery and neurology, genetic manipulation, and the detachment of sex from reproduction. But such technical advances can come at the expense of our natural and creaturely dignity, of what we display when we know who we are and what we're supposed to do. Our lives will only become more miserably confused if we cannot speak confidently about human dignity. In Modern and American Dignity, Lawler, who served on President George W. Bush's Council on Bioethics, reveals the intellectual and cultural trends that threaten our confidence in human dignity. The "modern" view of dignity, as he calls it, denies what''s good about who we are by nature, understanding human dignity to mean moral autonomy (freedom from nature) or productivity (asserting our mastery over nature by devising ingenious transformations). This new understanding of dignity stands at odds with the "American" view, which depends on the self-evidence of the truth that we are all created equally unique and irreplaceable. The American view, which is indebted to classical, Christian, and modern sources, understands that free persons are more than merely autonomous or productive beings--or, for that matter, clever chimps. It sees what's good in our personal freedom and our technical mastery over nature, but only in balance with the rest of what makes us whole persons--our dignified performance of our "relational" duties as familial, political, and religious beings. Modern and American Dignity explores these topics with wit and elegance. To make sense of contemporary political and moral debates, Lawler draws on a wide range of thinkers--from Socrates to Solzhenitsyn, from Tocqueville to Chesterton, from John Courtney Murray to our philosopher-pope Benedict XVI. In revealing the full dimensions of these debates, he exposes the emptiness of glib pronouncements--such as President Obama's--that our bioethical conflicts can be resolved by a consensus of scientific experts. As the experience of the Bush Bioethics Council demonstrated, there is no scientific consensus about who a human being is. Lawler has provided an indispensable guide to today''s complex political, bioethical, and cultural debates.
This collection of essays was written by teachers seeking to restore literature as a powerful teaching tool in the undergraduate classroom. The essays focus on fundamental questions, such as what is justice and what does it mean to be a good human being?
Call Number: ebook available to Berry College students, faculty & staff only
Publication Date: 2013
In 1962, Walker Percy (1916--1990) made a dramatic entrance onto the American literary scene when he won the National Book Award for fiction with his first novel, The Moviegoer. A physician, philosopher, and devout Catholic, Percy dedicated his life to understanding the mixed and somewhat contradictory foundations of American life as a situation faced by the wandering and won-dering human soul. His controversial works combined existential questioning, scientific investigation, the insight of the southern stoic, and authentic religious faith to produce a singular view of humanity's place in the cosmos that ranks among the best American political thinking. An authoritative guide to the political thought of this celebrated yet complex American author, A Political Companion to Walker Percy includes seminal essays by Ralph C. Wood, Richard Reinsch II, and James V. Schall, S.J., as well as new analyses of Percy's view of Thomistic realism and his reaction to the American pursuit of happiness. Editors Peter Augustine Lawler and Brian A. Smith have assembled scholars of diverse perspectives who provide a necessary lens for interpreting Percy's works. This comprehensive introduction to Percy's "American Thomism" is an indispensable resource for students of American literature, culture, and politics.
Postmodernism Rightly Understood is a dramatic return to realism--a poetic attempt to attain a true understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the postmodern predicament. Prominent political theorist Peter Augustine Lawler reflects on the flaws of postmodern thought, the futility of pragmatism, and the spiritual emptiness of existentialism.
This book offers the most comprehensive account yet published of Alexis de Tocqueville's extraordinary thought and life. Peter Augustine Lawler makes clear the understanding of the human condition that is at the foundation of Tocqueville's mixed and elusive view of human liberty.
Science, Virtue, and the Future of Humanity addresses each of the key public policy issues of our techno-future from the perspective of deeply informed and philosophically inclined public intellectuals. Among the issues addressed are the detachment of our idea of justice from any credible foundation; Tocqueville's prescience on how a "cognitive elite" might be the aristocracy to be most feared in our time; robotization and the possibility of being ruled by morally challenged robots; organ markets; the degradation of liberal education by obsessive techno-enthusiasm; biotechnology and biological determinism; the birth dearth and the inevitable erosion of our entitlements; the possibility that our techno-domination is basically an unfolding of the Lockean logic of our foundation; and the future of the free exercise of religion in an aggressively libertarian time. All in all, this book should provoke widespread discussion about the relationship between scientific/technological progress and the one true moral/spiritual progress that takes place over the course of every particular human life.
Examines the influence that the philosopher Rene Descartes, the political theorist John Locke, and the biologist Charles Darwin have had on our modern understanding of human beings and human virtue. Written by leading thinkers from a variety of fields, the volume is a study of the complex relation between modern science and modern virtue, between a kind of modern thought and a kind of modern action. Offering more than a series of substantive introductions to Descartes', Locke's, and Darwin's accounts of who we are and the kind of virtue to which we can aspire, the book invites readers to think about the ways in which the writings of these seminal thinkers shaped the democratic and technological world in which modern human beings live. Thirteen scholars in this volume learnedly explore questions drawn from the diverse disciplines of political science, philosophy, theology, biology, and metaphysics. Let the reader be warned: The authors of these essays are anything but consensual in their analysis. Considered together, the chapters in this volume carry on a lively internal debate that mirrors theoretical modernity's ongoing discussion about the true nature of human beings and the science of virtue. Some authors powerfully argue that Locke's and Darwin's thought is amenable to the claims made about human beings and human virtue by classical philosophers such as Aristotle and classical Christian theologians such as Thomas Aquinas. Others make the opposite case, drawing attention to the ways in which Descartes, Locke, and Darwin knowingly and dialectically depart from central teachings of both classical philosophy and classical Christian theology.
1. Driving Alone? Residential Mobility, Political Mobilization, and the Decline of Social Capital; 2. Reconceiving Community: Pedaling and Peddling Democracy Among Japanese Housewives; 3. Points of Light: Building Social Capital?; 4. The Sources of Social Capital Reconsidered: Voluntary Associations, Advocacy, and the State; 5. Religion, Social Capital, and the Significance of Community; 6. The Promise Keepers as Social Capitalists and Architects of Civil Society; 7. Communitarianism and Teacher Education.
Cloning, gene therapy, stem-cell harvesting—are we on the path to a Huxley-like Brave New World? Not really, argues political philosopher and Kass Commission member Peter Augustine Lawler in Stuck with Virtue: The American Individual and Our Biotechnological Future,even as he admits that we will likely become more obsessive and anxious and will be subjected to new forms of tyranny. Rather, he contends, human nature is such that the biotechnological world to come, despite the best efforts of its proponents, will still fail to make it possible to feel good without being good. It will be harder, Lawler warns, to be virtuous in the future, because we will be more detached than ever from the natural sources of happiness. But we may take some solace in the fact that virtue will still be the best way to live well with what we really know. With irony and wit, Lawler delivers the good news about the future of the American individual: We’re going to remain free, because the modern effort to make increasingly individualistic human beings at home with themselves and their environments through technological progress cannot succeed. That is the truth and promise, concludes Lawler, of a genuinely postmodern conservatism.
A collection of 18 original essays by political scientists, applying Tocqueville's political analysis to the great questions of social and political life: liberty, equality, ethnicity, education, rights, despotism, and religion.
Brings together 20 articles on Tocqueville by political scientists, published originally in 15 different journals. These articles are informed, in one way or another, by the perception that Tocqueville opens the way toward an appreciation of the limits of specifically modern modes of analysis. Hence he helps to open the way for the recovery of those aspects of premodern or classical political science that can contribute to the new political science.
Here's how to make the move from mediocrity to greatness following the footsteps of Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, and others. In their sequel to the popular How to Get a Life, Vol. I, college professors Lawrence Baines and Daniel McBrayer offer more thought-provoking morsels from some of the world s greatest minds.
The 1960 publication of We Hold These Truths marked a significant event in the history of modern American thought. Since that time, Sheed & Ward has kept the book in print and has published several studies of John Courtney Murray's life and work. A new edition of this classic text features a comprehensive introduction by Peter Lawler that places Murray in the context of Catholic and American history and thought while revealing his relevance today.