Thomas Jefferson and academic freedom

Thomas Jefferson’s Conception of ‘Academic Freedom’ and Its Current Condition in American Higher Education

Garrett Ward Sheldon
The John Morton Beaty Professor of Political and Social Sciences, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

‘Here we are not afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error, so long as reason is left free to combat it.’ -Thomas Jefferson

THOMAS JEFFERSON’S CONCEPTION OF ‘Academic Freedom’ became the standard of modern intellectual progress in America and the world. Its components of both individual freedom of inquiry in expression and debate along with lively, free and tolerant academic community were seen as essential to all other forms of progress: political, economic, social and ethical. This Jeffersonian ideal of Academic Freedom in the university and all its positive effects on the rest of American Society has come under assault throughout history from religious bigotry, social intolerance, and political ideology, most recently from the federal government’s expansion of the Title IX law during the past six years. It almost destroyed university knowledge and learning, the lively academic community as well as their attendant social and personal benefits. Continue reading “Thomas Jefferson and academic freedom”

Burke’s Catholic conservatism

An unbiased reader of Burke’s writings, one familiar with the history of Catholic theology and philosophy, could not help thinking that Edmund Burke was as close to being Catholic as one could be without officially belonging to the Church. Garrett Ward Sheldon in his essay in Modern Age Summer 2014 marshals such compelling evidence and argument that there seems hardly any doubt left about where Burke had his religious allegiance. Professor Sheldon’s essay is one of the most important in recent years about one of the crucial influences that operated on Edmund Burke, an influence that has not until now received the full attention it demands.

BURKE’S CATHOLIC CONSERVATISM
by Garrett Ward Sheldon

Garrett Ward Sheldon is the John Morton Beaty Professor of Political Science at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, and author of ten books on political theory and political theology.

In perhaps his most famous observation, Edmund Burke said that the social con­tract is not something made in a moment in time but rather is between the past, the present, and the future. Continue reading “Burke’s Catholic conservatism”