In many intellectual and academic circles today, liberty is reflexively associated with moral relativism, a radical and exaggerated sense of individual autonomy, and a culture of repudiation that rejects the civic and moral inheritance of the past as mere instruments of repression and exploitation. That approach is increasingly tied to a self-hatred or self-loathing that makes the preservation of tradition and ordered liberty all but impossible.
In this seminar, we will explore an alternative understanding of liberty that Alexis de Tocqueville called “liberty under God and the law.” This conservative-minded liberalism aims to combine tradition and liberty, freedom and self-limitation, self-government and deference to a Higher Law. Our purpose is to explore an understanding of liberty and human dignity that does justice to the integrity of the human soul and the humanizing wisdom that has been passed on to us by our forbearers.
Dr. Flagg Taylor
Flagg Taylor is an associate professor of political science at Skidmore College and the director of the Periclean Honors Forum. His teaching ranges widely in the history of political philosophy. His scholarship has focused on totalitarianism and dissent, liberalism, and executive power. Taylor is editor most recently of The Long Night of the Watchman: Essays by Václav Benda, 1977-1989 (St. Augustine’s Press, 2018), and is currently writing a book on Czech dissent in the 1970s and 1980s. He serves on the academic council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Taylor is the host of Enduring Interest, a podcast on important yet neglected or forgotten books and essays.
Director, Tikvah Scholars Program