What do we teach our citizens? This great Platonic question is as crucial today as it has ever been. America and the West come to terms with this question in the context of their richly diverse, technologically sophisticated, fundamentally individualistic societies. Virtually all would agree that such diversity, sophistication, and freedom are positive political and cultural goods, but many would also argue that they militate against the coherence that all regimes and civilizations must, in some way, demand. The nature, extent, and coherence of civic education are perhaps the greatest determinants of a regime’s politics and culture, and the regime can in turn do much to foster the right kind of civic education. This book presents the insights of renowned scholars and writers, including Stephen H. Balch, Timothy Fuller, and Roger Kimball, who have thought broadly and deeply about the role that education at all levels plays in promoting, maintaining, or undermining our politics, culture, and society.
What They're Saying...
"This book is filled with brilliant reflections on the way the human soul finds its natural completion through its acquisition of moral virtue. Against the libertarian grain of our time, the authors rightly defend civic piety as inevitable and indispensable. Together, they provide a thoughtful antidote to the postpolitical and postreligious fantasies of our intellectuals."
— Peter Augustine Lawler Dana Professor and Chair of the Department of Government and International Studies Berry College
"Civic education is not a luxury nice to have, but a necessity required for our survival. That is particularly so at a time that education properly understood—knowledge for a life to be well lived, is under assault by vociferous proponents of ‘professional learning’ on the one hand and disguised ideologies on the other. The sad exclusion of philosophy—love of wisdom—from teaching, thinking and learning is as tragic as self-inflicted cultural lobotomy. This book and I hope a series of such books addressing students of all ages will be welcome safeguards against abandonment of education and wisdom for the sake of speedy training ‘to do things.'"
— Fariborz (Fred) Mokhtari Professor Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies National Defense University
"Readers will not find in this book a ten-part master plan for revivifying American civic education and culture. They ought not strive for one, for as Watson writes in his thoughtful introduction, 'civic education does not reduce to civics.' The contributors to this superb and remarkably cohesive volume exhort their fellow citizens to reflect with philosophical clarity and to act with patriotic probity, offering the measured counsel that civic education should resist politicized reductionism and elevate the gaze of its citizens."
— The Claremont Institute