Liberal Learning

Welcome to the Class of 2018. Welcome to their families and friends. Welcome Back to the rest of the College community! There is nothing in the world like the energy in this room as we open...

Webster's defines “intelligent” as “endowed with intelligence or intellect; possessed of, or exhibiting, a high or fitting degree of intelligence or understanding.” This modern understanding of “intelligence” as an innate disposition or propensity differs from earlier understandings...
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I have been absent from the pages of The Imaginative Conservative these last several weeks, a place that I consider to be my literary home. The diversity of topics that The Imaginative Conservative publishes helped to foster a...
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I. Principles and Parts of the Program Every plan of education, whether borne up by a passing trend or bound into a long tradition, is fraught with implicit philosophical principle. Since the program...

The teaching and inculcating of virtue—rooted in and derived from the Judeo-Christian understanding of the Natural Law—should be the purpose of a liberal arts education. Virtue remains a difficult concept for the modern mind to grasp, as the...

At an earlier session I spoke about Socrates as a model for imitating heroes, because he shows us how to use the lives of extraordinary people to help us make and remake a life...
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In 1990 the American philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre published Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopedia, Genealogy, Tradition. The last chapter of this book is titled “Reconceiving the university and the lecture,” and it ends with a proposition: in...
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If, on your next trip to Vienna, you set out to understand the personality of this lovely world-capital-that-is-not-a-city, there are three must-sees during your time here that will give you the proper sense of a Durrellian spirit of...
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It is our tradition that the first lecture of the year should be dedicated to our freshmen.* They have newly joined a community whose program of learning centers on the scheduled reading of a preset...

Imitation, like so many time-tested educational activities, took a big hit during the twentieth century. The history of the desire to create autonomously is long, but early in the last century, this desire became an out-and-out obsession. The...
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Legislation pertaining to sexual orientation is often justified by the claim that it protects citizens’ liberty. Advocates of this type of legislation do so with the intent of using the state to enforce the belief that...
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First, I want to say how honored I feel at receiving this prize named after Russell Kirk, an admirable writer, and Paideia, a noble practice. Even those of you who have not studied Greek may recognize what paideia...
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Public education in the last sixty years has become increasingly meaningless because standards revolve around empty skill sets worked out through bankrupt curricular materials and are driven by a fatally flawed pedagogy. Not only have the public...

Recent stories concerning the sorry state of American education have focused on problems with the new "Common Core" public school curriculum and retention of clearly incompetent teachers. As a parent who long ago rejected our public school...