Liberal Learning

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"Socrates is setting the bar for political rhetoric very high. He is demanding not only that a politician not pander to the crowd but that he go to the opposite extreme to discipline it....
Eva Brann
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This is a splendid day for you, the students of Mesa Preparatory Academy—a day, a moment, of passage. In all the ways of life (“cultures” as they are called) that I’ve seen or read about, such a...
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If we are to make any kind of case for the liberal arts, we must first have a reasonably coherent notion of what the liberal arts are, and what they are for. That means clearing away some...

Some years ago, I walked across the braes from Old Cumnock, in Ayrshire, to the village of Ochiltree. Now Ochiltree is the “Barbie” of George Douglas Brown’s grim realistic novel The House with the Green Shutters. And...
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Rev. James Schall Probably the most famous letter writer of the ancient world was Cicero. In 59 B.C., Cicero wrote to Gaius Scribonius: “There are many sorts of letters. But there is one unmistakable...

Alan Jacobs patiently explains why even the most scrupulous of scholars can’t understand the first thing about Flannery O’Connor’s stories without at least a good deal of biblical literacy.* Well, a real poet or a person with...

So there was a decent article in the WSJ calling upon conservatives to stop trashing the liberal arts. The argument: Conservatives respect the wisdom of our Founders, and Jefferson and the others really thought that liberal education...
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Milton’s Paradise Lost is a poem of such panoramic grandeur and such human acuteness as may wean one—and has even weaned me—from a lifelong exclusive Homerophilia. Partly its attraction is that it is...
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I am delighted to be with you this afternoon and to have a role in the Heritage Foundation's worthy project of commemorating Russell Kirk's many contributions to American intellectual life. My own task today is to explore...
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Physicists talk of two of the fundamental forces of nature as the strong and the weak forces. I am going to borrow these terms in an entirely metaphorical way to name the two fundamental forces in which...
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Any keen and realistic observer of our deplorable epoch will know that modern society seems to have lost its mind. In these disintegrating times it appears that anything goes because nobody knows the value of the permanent...

After more than a decade of “No Child Left Behind”* (NCLB)—the 2001 Act of Congress that was supposed “to close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice”—it has clearly failed. Congress is busily engaged in efforts to...
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"A debater treats the other speaker as someone who can only be right if he himself is wrong, whom he must defeat at all costs. In a conversation, though, we generally have the decency to accept...
Odyssey
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The Odyssey, by Homer. Translated by Joe Sachs, Paul Dry Books, 2014 An excerpt from the Introduction I have never met a translation of the Odyssey I didn’t like. There are verse translations that...