The conservative debate on the failure of liberalism, the art of writing satirically, and Stanford turns anti-science - Intercollegiate Studies Institute

The conservative debate on the failure of liberalism, the art of writing satirically, and Stanford turns anti-science

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What Conservative Critics of Liberalism Miss

We aim to keep you plugged into the biggest debates in conservative circles.

So let’s dive right into two new entries in the fast-growing “failure of liberalism” genre.

(That’s the liberalism that shaped the American Founding, not the liberalism of today’s political left.)

First up: author and theologian Peter Leithart takes on two of the most prominent thinkers in this field—Why Liberalism Failed author Patrick Deneen and First Things editor R. R. Reno.

But Leithart isn’t here to defend liberalism.

No, he says Deneen and Reno don’t do enough to challenge liberalism’s “imperialistic hubris.”

The Church of Liberalism?

Here’s the problem, Leithart argues:

Liberalism isn’t just a political system. It sets itself up as its own religion—to “dismantle and replace” Christianity.

No matter what your religious views are, read this thought-provoking essay to see why politics alone can’t solve our most pressing problems.




Reno’s Response: We Need Liberalism, but Not Only Liberalism

R. R. Reno isn’t used to being accused of not challenging liberalism strongly enough.

Most of his critics charge him with “illiberalism,” he says.

But in his response to Leithart, Reno warns against being too dogmatic in condemning liberalism.

Liberty is an enduring civic interest, he says. It’s just not the only one.

Read Reno’s response to see why he finds Leithart’s argument too cryptic to be completely accurate . . . 

. . . and why liberalism needs Christianity to save it from itself.

Do you agree with Reno that “we need a society that is at least liberal, but not merely liberal”?



Because our student editors and writers are bravely bringing conservative ideas to their campuses, we’re highlighting their efforts here.

New Student Govt Condemns Israel, Removes Elected Rep via the Cornell Review

Has Stanford U Gone Anti-Vax? via the Stanford Review


The Art of Good Satire

Have you ever wanted to write satire?

It’s one of the most compelling forms of writing . . . 

. . . if it’s done well.

Satire is one of the trickiest literary styles to develop. But pastor-author Douglas Wilson is here to show you how to do it—and more important, when.

In this article you’ll discover:

  • why humility is necessary to write good satire
  • how to use satire as a tool to promote truth, not subvert it
  • the satirical masters you need to read
  • how to avoid the trap of becoming a toxic writer instead of a pithy one
  • the type of person who should never try his hand at satire

Summer is a great time to learn new skills, so read this article, crack open some Jane Austen, and then start honing your satirical wit.



The Future of American Political Economy Conference, July 23–24

ISI has a long legacy of providing the space for conservatives of all stripes to debate how to apply enduring principles to current problems.

One of the biggest questions facing conservatives today is whether we need to rethink our approach to the economy.

That’s why ISI is hosting The Future of American Political Economy Conference July 23–24 in Alexandria, Virginia.

During this weekend conference, you’ll hear from an all-star roster of conservative thinkers as they discuss solutions to the threats of Big Tech censorship, our trade relationship with China, and a market economy that seems increasingly anti-family.

And if you’re currently a student, admission is free!

Reserve your spot now to hear prominent speakers like:

  • J. D. Vance, author of the #1 bestseller Hillbilly Elegy—who is considering a run for the U.S. Senate
  • Senator Marco Rubio
  • Amity Shlaes, bestselling author of The Forgotten Man and Coolidge
  • Jeff Sessions, former U.S. attorney general
  • Judge Neomi Rao
  • . . . and more than a dozen others!

It’s time to stop talking past each other and start doing the hard work of creating a new conservative consensus about how our economy can better advance the safety and happiness of the American people.


“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
―G. K. Chesterton


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