Public Discourse Peter Lawler Retrospective
I think I am not alone in saying how much I appreciate the folks at Public Discourse for posting these Peter Lawler retrospective articles this week. It’s to commemorate his life, 5 years after he passed. They started off on Sunday with a piece Peter wrote himself, his introduction to John Courtney Murray’s We Hold These Truths (that was an interesting choice for the Public Discourse audience, no?).
Then on Monday we were treated to a new piece by the great Dan Mahoney on Peter’s work generally, but especially his contribution to the “liberalism wars.” I think I’m not alone in seeing Dan Mahoney as someone who can take up Peter's mantle as a leader of American Catholic political philosophers; he really has already in many ways. Here’s a clip:
unlike many Christians, [Peter] never denied the intrinsic dignity of the political vocation. He was never tempted to replace political reasoning with metaphysical or ideological abstractions. He was that rare thing: a Catholic political philosopher.
Peter was a rich, dialectical (in the original non-Marxist sense of the term), and irenic thinker who strove to prevent fruitful tensions from transforming into dangerously implacable oppositions
And now today, the funniest and cleverest of all of us, James Patterson, has written about Peter’s recommendations to save higher education.
As I told my students this semester, although America is way down the list of countries in terms of elementary and high school education (especially in math), we are still #1 when it comes to higher ed… and we need to keep it that way. Why else would people from so many foreign countries want to go to school in America? Aspects of our universities are still great, but not for want of attempts to screw them up. Our education is getting better and worse all the time- as Peter might say
UPDATE: Here’s Richard Reinsch’s contribution on Peter’s Constitutional ideas- and little “c” constitutional ideas too