Western Civilization

NAS

A citizen's guide on the necessity of studying Western Civilization.

Hannah Arendt, Between Future and Past

Edward R. Dougherty

Hannah Arendt envisioned the collapse of Western civilization. Are we living through it? How near to truth was her prediction?

Western Civilization's Ticking Clock

Ashley Thorne

A new documentary, The Fight for Our Lives, details the ideological war against the West. 

Modern vs. Western Thought: The Return of Bacon's Idols

William H. Young

William Young examines the return of idols which Francis Bacon had sought to banish

When Students Kill Important College Courses

Carol Iannone

Carol Iannone writes on the effect of the destruction of Western Civilization courses.

Modern vs. Western Thought: Relativism vs. Virtue

William H. Young

William Young examines the dominance of relativism in contemporary moral thinking.

Disrupting Campus Speakers is Not Just a Free-Speech Problem

Peter Wood

Interrupting speakers represents not just an assualt on free-speech, but a breakdown in civility. 

Modern vs. Western Thought: Power vs Achievement

William H. Young

William Young discusses the decline of the traditional American work ethic and its replacement by identity-group entitlement.

Supporting Western Civilization Education: NAS Interviews James Piereson

NAS

William E. Simon Foundation President James Piereson talks to NAS about setting up and donating to programs dedicated to the study of Western Civilization.

Harvard Prepares to Host All Black Graduation

Dion J. Pierre

Is Harvard's all black graduation a benign trend or a step backwards? 

Modern versus Western Thought: Feelings or Reason?

William H. Young

William Young examines the extent to which subjective feelings have replaced reason in the American academy.

How Canon Change Should Happen

Carol Iannone

Carol Iannone argues for the traditional method of canon formation.

Modern Versus Western Thought: Thinking From The Founding

William H. Young

William Young examines the Constitution's origins in the Western philosophical tradition.

Modern Versus Western Thought: An Overview

William H. Young

William Young commences a new series of articles examining the impact of modern thought on the Western intellectual tradition

No Regrets

Peter Wood

NAS president Peter Wood reflects on laments and satisfaction in life. 

How Diversity Came to Mean 'Downgrade the West'

Are students gaining anything by replacing the universalism of the West with the particularism of diversity?

Civil Rights in the Republic

George Seaver

The latent causes of faction are sown in the nature of man.

How Anthropology Was Corrupted and Killed

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood writes on how the American Anthropology Association's bandwagon vote to boycott Israeli academic institutions is a step toward toward the death of another academic discipline.

Update on the State of Western Civilization at Stanford

Stanford Review Editorial Board

Earlier this year the Stanford Review petitioned for a Western Civilization course requirement in the University's core curriculum. Their Editorial Board provides an update on the initiative.

Stanford Students: Offering Western Civilization Classes Destroys Diversity

Rachelle Peterson

A pro-Western civilization petition at Stanford was met with stiff resistance.

The Drive to Put Western Civ Back in the College Curriculum

Ashley Thorne

Ashley Thorne writes for the New York Post about some Stanford students' push for a Western civilization course.

Western Civilization Isn’t Dead Yet

Editors-in-Chief of the Stanford Review, 2013-16

The Editors-in-Chief of the Stanford Review write on the lack of a proper foundation at Stanford University.

Dear Future Philosopher

Robert Koons

NAS member Robert Koons gives advice to those pursuing philosophy.

Campus Centers Sowing the Seeds of Important Ideas

Ashley Thorne

Campus-based programs are helping to restore rising generations’ attention to important but increasingly neglected ideas.

Winter 2014 Academic Questions Features Special Section, "God and Guns"

NAS

The special section of the winter 2014 Academic Questions highlights campus attitudes toward guns and religion.

After the Interregnum

Patrick J. Deneen

In "God's and Guns," a special section of the Winter 2014 Academic Questions, Patrick J. Deneen finds that both sides in the latest stage of the Culture Wars "represent a betrayal of the proper mission of higher education."

Academic Social Science and our Capitalist Economy

William H. Young

William Young assesses the impact of contemporary social science on the economy.

Fall 2014 Academic Questions Highlights Western Culture and Tradition

NAS

The fall 2014 issue of Academic Questions offers special essays, poetry, and reviews that illimune the foundations of Western tradition.

Small Latin, and Less Greek

Bruce S. Thornton

Bruce Thornton, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and professor at California State University, Fresno, reviews Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations by Mary Beard.

Saving Civilization, K-5 Edition: An Address at Great Hearts Academy

Peter Wood

Peter Wood addresses elementary school teachers on the grammar school as the "engine of civilization" at Great Hearts Academy in Phoeniz, Arizona.

How Beauteous Mankind Isn't: Reflections on Today's Brave New World

Ashley Thorne

Ashley Thorne sees in today’s world elements from Huxley’s dystopia: birth control as environmentalism, world citizenship, slogans, indifference to “old things,” and abiding adolescence. 

Test Your Knowledge: The Deaths of Western Civ

Rachelle Peterson

This grave quiz unearths the ends of Western civ's greats. 

Test Your Knowledge: Doubting Thomas

Michael Toscano

How well do you know the Thomases of Western Civilization?

Reproaching the Rich

William H. Young

William Young examines public perceptions of wealth distribution in present-day America.

Lingua Latina Manet in Aeternum

Glenn Ricketts

A suppposedly "dead" language actually seems pretty lively.

Democratic Engagement and Governance: Part I

William H. Young

William Young compares traditional republican governmental principles with the current democratic engagement initiatives promoted on college campuses.

Capitalism and Governance

William H. Young

William Young discusses the relationship between governmental regulation and economic growth.

Jacques Barzun Remembered

Steve Balch

NAS founder Steve Balch remembers legendary scholar of Western civilization Jacques Barzun, who died at age 104.

Equality and Governance

William H. Young

William Young discusses some current theories of justice and wealth distribution.

Advocate of Western Civilization Finds a Home for His Ideas at Texas Tech's Honors College

Peter Monaghan

Stephen H. Balch, a longtime leader at the National Association of Scholars, has found a university where he can apply what he believes.

The Middle Class and Governance

William H. Young

William Young discusses the economic straitening of the middle class.

Generations and Governance

William H. Young

William Young discusses the unexpected clash of generations over government entitlements and tax burdens.

Factions and Governance

William H. Young

William Young analyzes the impact of factions and special interests on public policy.

Growth and Governance

William H. Young

William Young examines the relationship between economic policy and economic growth.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Immaterial Resources

William H. Young

William Young examines the vital role of immaterial resources in the educational process.

Unfashionable Ideas

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews the National Association of Scholars’ changing approach to reforming higher education.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Liberal Education

William H. Young

William Young discusses the need for liberal educatrion for today's workforce.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Critical Thinking

William H. Young

William Young describes the kind of critical thinking skills needed in modern business enterprises.

The Trouble with Multiculturalism

Clifford D. May

A new book by Salim Mansur, born an Indian Muslim, argues that multiculturalism propagates the false notion that all cultures are equally good.

Elegies, Part 2

Peter Wood

Regretting cultural loss is valuable when it shows us the way forward. 

Elegies, Part 1

Peter Wood

Reforming higher education is not just about nostalgia for the past.

Epic Battles

Peter Wood

Peter Wood weighs the cost of higher education’s turn away from Western civilization survey courses.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Knowledge Workers

William H. Young

William Young examines the increasing shortage of highly skilled wokers and considers some possible solutions.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Human Capital

William H. Young

William Young discusses the growing shortage of skilled workforce personnel, and its implications for economic recovery.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Schumpeter

William H. Young

William Young discusses the ideas and insights of the Austrian economist.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Compensation

William H. Young

William Young examines corporate compensation policies and related controversies

How the West Was Won

Steve Balch

Steve Balch reviews two new books on Western civilization, finding one world-weary and the other more constructive.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Taxation

William H. Young

William Young examines the impact of corporate and business tax policies on the economy.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Corporatism

William H. Young

William Young discusses the contrasts between corporatism and free market capitalism.

A Crisis of Competence: Update, Comment, and Criticism

Steve Balch

NAS chairman Steve Balch answers responses to the new report by the California Association of Scholars on politicization in the University of California.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Equal Pay

William H. Young

William Young analyzes the current push for "pay equity" in the work force.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Democracy

William H. Young

William Young discusses contemporary notions of democracy and social progress.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Community Colleges

William H. Young

William Young examines the role of Community Colleges in American higher education.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Opportunity

William H. Young

William Young discusses current problems and prospects of opportunities in the workforce.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Social Darwinism

William H. Young

William Young discusses the reputation and reality of Social Darwinism's influence on business practices.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Inequality

William H. Young

William Young analyzes the current controversy over wealth inequalities.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Education

William H. Young

William Young examines the state of contemporary education and finds it wanting

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Independence

William H. Young

William Young examines the idea of the independent economic individual and his return to the workplace.

Comments on "The Razor's Edge"

Daniel Asia

A brief look at Fox's article on Western Civilization.

The Razor's Edge

Robin Fox

Professor Fox emphasizes the importance of teaching Western culture, given the fragility of today's liberal democratic societies, which exist "on a razor's edge." This article appears in the spring 2012 "Why Study the West?" issue of Academic Questions, volume 25, number 1. 

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Growth

William H. Young

William Young describes the process of economic growth in modern capitialist economies.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Finance

William H. Young

William Young discusses aspects and issues in modern financial capitalism.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Productivity

William H. Young

William Young analyzes the development of increased productivity in modern capitalism.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Corporations

William H. Young

William Young explains the role corporations in the development of modern capitalism.

Capitalism and Western Civilization - Metamorphosis

William H. Young

William Young describes the development of modern capitalism's productive capacity.

Capitalism and Western Civilization - The Founding

William H. Young

William Young discusses the founding of the American commercial republic in the context of Western Civilization.

Capitalism and Western Civilization - Human Nature

William H. Young

William Young examines the role of human nature in shaping modern capitalism.

Capitalism and Western Civilization - Exchange

William H. Young

William Young begins a new series on Capitalism and Western Civilization with an analysis of its philosophical and moral basis.

Nowhere But the West

Steve Balch

Steve Balch reviews The Uniqueness of Western Civilization by Ricardo Duchesne. This review appears in the winter 2011 issue of Academic Questions, volume 24, number 4.

Voluptuousness and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William Young examines the traditional Western view of voluptuousness in light of contemporary hedonism and self-gratification.

Thomas Lindsay On Why the Humanities Are Really in Trouble

Glenn Ricketts

Thomas Lindsay explains that the humanities long ago sold out to ideology and "critical thinking," and haven't been worth the money for some time. 

Virtue and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William Young discusses the decline of virtue, once integral to the educational process in the Western tradition.

Leaf-Taking

Peter Wood

Peter Wood argues that the contemporary university should dethrone “critical thinking.”

Steve Balch on WTGD Radio: The Importance of Teaching Western Civilization

Kate Hamilton

NAS Chairman Steve Balch appeared on a local Wisconsin public radio program to discuss the reasons why classes on Western Civilization should be a required component of the undergraduate curriculum.

Civic Virtue and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William Young examines the tradition of civic virtue in the Western tradition, and ponders the consequences of its decline.

Science and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William Young discusses the development of science in the Western intellectual tradition, noting that it has unfortunately become loosed from its original moorings.

Postmodern Science and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William Young assesses the impact of postmodern ideology on the natural sciences.

STEM and Western Civilization

William H. Young

Education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is indeed lagging badly. William Young argues that a misguided preoccupation with "gender parity" in the sciences can only obstruct the path to improvement.

Postmodern Mesmerists and Western Civilization

William H. Young

Although the American Founders were not seduced by fashionable pseudo-science from France, William Young notes that contemporary academics have eagerly embraced it.

Identity Group Factions and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William Young concludes a two-part examination of factions with a discussion of contemporary identity-group politics.

Factions and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William Young continues his series with an examination of factions, the "mortal diseases" which have plagued republican governments since antiquity.

Individual Responsibility and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William Young examines the concept of individual responsibility in Western Civilization, and argues for its revival in contemporary America.

Reciprocity and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William Young continues his series with this dicussion of reciprocity in the Western social tradition.

Milestones for the NAS

Peter Wood

NAS's two signal events in 2011 pointed college students back to the core principles of the liberal arts and sciences.

Competency and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William Young examines the decline of the competency that is vital to a skilled workforce.

Postmodern Philodoxers and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William Young examines the replacement of philosophy's pursuit of truth with philodoxy's denial of it.

Marriage and Family in Western Civilization

William H. Young

William H. Young examines the present dysfunctional state of the family in light of its traditional role in Western Civilization.

Multiculturalism and Western Civilization

William H. Young

Multiculturalism and its accompanying ideal of tolerance have debased standards of knowledge and excellence and led American education down a path of mediocrity, writes William H. Young.

The Protestant Ethic and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William H. Young argues that the academy should renew an emphasis on hard work if America is to redeem its unmotivated generation.

Diversity and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William H. Young examines the impact of "diversity" policies on the American polity.

Teaching National History in the Age of Globalization

Glenn Ricketts

At some schools, you can get through without taking a single history course and still collect your bachelor's degree.

Human Nature and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William H. Young begins a new occasional series of articles focused on Western Civilization and current academic issues with a discussion of human nature.

Video: J. Budziszewski on a Primer on Natural Law

Professor J. Budziszewski discusses classical Natural Law with Inside Academia's Andy Nash.

Video: The Triumph of Judicial Conservatism

Ed Whelan joins Andy Nash for a conversation on “judicial conservatism” and the state of law school education, civics, and the relationship between the law, Western Civilization, and the Christian tradition.

The Reverse Metamorphosis of Sustainability: Governance

William H. Young

William Young concludes his series on the goals of the sustainability movement, and considers its implications for the constitutional order.

The Reverse Metamorphsis of Sustainability: Economy

William H. Young

In the third of his four-part series on the goals of the sustainability movement, William Young ponders its probable economic impact.

The Reverse Metamorphosis of Sustainability: Nature

William H. Young

In the second of four articles on the goals of the sustainability movement, William Young examines its impulse to return to a pre-rational, mystical experience of Nature.

The Reverse Metamorphosis of Sustainability: Science

William H. Young

William Young begins a four-part series examining the "reverse metamorphosis" sought by proponents of sustainability in American academic institutions. Today, he examines its effects on the natural sciences.

Metamorphosis, or Why We Should Study the West

Steve Balch

NAS board chairman Steve Balch argues that generations detached from their culture's legacy will be less likely to defend it now, or in the future.

Multiculturalism in a Different Key

Glenn Ricketts

A look at multiculturalism through a different lens.

Steve Balch on Why We Should Study the West

Generations detached from their culture's legacy will be less likely to defend it now, or in the future.

Vanishing Act

Peter Wood

Peter Wood discusses NAS's new research report on what has happened to Western-history survey courses in the last half-century.

Hey Hey Ho Ho

Ashley Thorne

Where did Western study go? NAS traces the decline of Western Civilization courses from 1964 to today in our report “The Vanishing West.”

Is Our Civilization a Bubble? Part II

Steve Balch

One remedy Steve Balch recommends to prevent us from forgetting the value of our civilization's principles and freedoms is to fortify our education system.

Is Our Civilization a Bubble? Part I

Steve Balch

Steve Balch describes characteristics of well-known bubbles such as the tech bubble and the housing bubble, and he suggests that American society itself could be headed for a bubble if we take our freedoms for granted.

Taking Our Civilization for Granted

Ashley Thorne

At Pajamas Media, Steve Balch has a two-part series, "Is Our Civilization a Bubble?"

Ashes

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reflects on the intellectual vacancy at the heart of the contemporary college curriculum.

Western Culture By Bits And Pieces

Glenn Ricketts

If the general education requirements at your school slight the traditional aspects of western culture, why not use your own courses to compensate?

Eight Students Provide a Glimpse Inside Real Campus Life

Ashley Thorne

How does traditional American culture and Western civilization fare on your campus? What are some of the obstacles or difficulties a traditionalist, conservative, or libertarian might find on your campus? What can you tell us about the aesthetics of everyday life on your campus, from dating and sex, to dress and tastes, to behavior and mores? NAS asked 8 undergraduate college students these questions for a student symposium in the forthcoming "Student Culture " issue of Academic Questions (vol. 23, no. 2). We left it up to each respondent to choose which question to answer and how to answer it. The students' essays are the following: Beneath the Rungs: Locating the Liberal Arts at Harvard by Brian Bolduc From Raging to Engaging at Vanderbilt by Mary Frances Boyle Catholic or Bust? The Spirit of Inclusion at Notre Dame by Mary K. Daly Generation A at Fordham by Amanda Fiscina Debate Denied: Conservatives Stifled at Stanford by Gregory Hirshman Intolerant Tolerance at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by Nash Keune Conservatives and Libertarians Face Challenges at the University of Michigan by Adam Pascarella Pursuing Truth and Virtue: The Great Tradition at Hillsdale College by Julie Robison

Center for the Study of American Ideals and Culture

Daniel Asia

A project I have been imaging for a long time is now actually a reality. The Center for the Study of American Ideals and Culture has received its first funding, from the new Apgar Foundation. With this first seed money, we can now get this enterprise off the ground. I must admit I am quite proud, as they said that of the forty or so applications they requested, ours was the best. Here is the mission statement: The Center for the Study of American Ideals and Culture at the University of Arizona will provide the leaders of the future with an ennobling vision, a sense of a larger purpose and a higher calling, through an understanding of the theoretical foundations of American institutions and culture. With the management and direction of a new undergraduate major, the development of curricular and pedagogical innovation, research, performance, and public outreach, the Center will restore balance in the dialogue over the value of the heritage of Western civilization, the development of the American polity, and the expression of the American soul through the arts. Founded and directed by composer Daniel Asia, the new program will combat the rising ignorance of the American intellectual experience, especially of the philosophical principles of the founding of America, science and religion and its interaction with social policy, and of high culture, especially the rich legacy of high art and music." Comments, as well as million dollar gifts, are appreciated.

Why Texas Should Revive Western Civ Study

Steve Balch

NAS Chairman Steve Balch urged the Texas House Higher Education Committee to take the lead in reviving the study of Western civilization.

"Death to Moby Dick!"

David Clemens

 The Chronicle of Higher Education jobs list includes this gem: “The Department of English at UCLA invites applications for the position of Assistant Professor in Residence, in the area of 19th-century American literature . . . .” “Candidates should demonstrate engagement with the changing dynamics of the field, which is now characterized by disparate approaches and new configurations of interests, including (but not limited to) transatlantic studies, hemispheric studies, print culture and material textuality studies, gender and sexuality studies, visual culture studies, comparative race and ethnicity studies, geographical studies, disability studies, and other innovative frameworks.” Literature?  The mind boggles.  Disability studies should have a field day with Captain Ahab.

Popper on Plato, Social Justice and Political Correctness

Mitchell Langbert

I have been reading Karl Popper's Open Society and Its Enemies, Volume I and am awestruck with Popper's scholarship and its relevance to currently percolating issues such as social justice education, political correctness and climate change research.  Popper shows that Plato is at the root of totalitarianism.  Plato re-defined justice to mean the individual's existence for the good of the state; conceived of a ruling elite given politically correct indoctrination; and advocated total social control of day-to-day life.  Popper argues that Plato bases all of this on his tribalist and naturalist morality, that is, his belief that morals are rooted in nature.   Much like today's environmentalists, Plato favored a return to primitive olden times before the innovation that had occurred in Athens. Plato defined justice just as social justice educators do, namely, that the just is what is socially good.  The guardians, the ruling elite, were to receive a social justice-based education.   Plato intensely disliked Athenian democracy and the steps that Pericles and others  had made to define justice as equality before the law.  Rather, public morality would be defined by the politically correct guardian class. Morality,  moderation and justice would mean adherence to one's place and obedience to authority. Like Plato, today's environmentalists believe that the primitive is best and that human innovation is evil.  Much as the cap and trade bill attempts to assert nationally centralized authority over day-day-life, overseen by a Platonic "administrator" or philosopher king, so  Plato believed that the greatest virtues were to be obedient or to lead others.

An Example of Educational Entrepreneurship

George Leef

In this week's Pope Center Clarion Call, Professor Tim Mosteller writes about his efforts at establishing a new college that will focus on great books and liberal learning. I'm wholeheartedly in favor of ventures like this that offer students a better option than they find at most colleges and universities. Trying to change higher education is only a bit less difficult than turning lead into gold. Let's give students who really want education -- rather than just a bunch of course credits -- the kind of experience Tim Mosteller has in mind.

Deacon Garb at UNC

Ashley Thorne

Wild West killer-for-hire "Deacon" Jim Miller dressed the part of a church-going citizen.  Why does UNC Chapel Hill lecture series  on "Renewing the Western Tradition" come to mind? Peter Wood writes at NAS.org:

As Jane Shaw explains, the speakers that the committee did choose seem to interpret “renewing Western civilization” as mainly a matter of debunking, de-centering, and otherwise expressing irritation with Western civilization.  The subtext seems to be: Renew it?  Why would anyone bother?  Let’s just get on with replacing it.  For this UNC spends $15,000 per lecture, from money given by a donor who explicitly sought a positive approach to the study of Western civilization.

For the full story, check out Jane Shaw's report at the Clarion Call, "The Culture Chasm at UNC."

(Wild) Western Civilization

Peter Wood

Wild West killer-for-hire "Deacon" Jim Miller dressed the part of a church-going citizen. Why does UNC Chapel Hill lecture series on "Renewing the Western Tradition" come to mind?

Academic Freedom and Discontent

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood delivered this presentation at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization in February.

Thursday Theatrics

Ashley Thorne

Inside: Fighting feminist falsehoods, Merit-al bliss, UT Austin quashes Western civ curriculum, Clinton and the climate, AP exam-graders and 'Kool-Aid," and a new AQ issue.

Oases of Excellence

Ashley Thorne

NAS highlights new programs in American studies or Western civilization.

Election 2008: The University's Long Shadow

Peter Wood

The Diverse University: The Victory of the Adjective Over the Noun?

Tom Martin

NAS member Tom Martin ponders, "What does it mean to be 'committed to a diverse university community'?"