I’ll be in The City of the Big Shoulders this Thursday and Friday, October 13-14, both to attend and to participate in a conference at the University of Chicago honoring and reflecting on the work of Jean Bethke Elshtain. While I greatly admire Jean, I will be offering a critique of her effort to defend the liberal order with just enough pre- and non-liberal institutions to keep the creaky structure from falling apart (finally not enough for so inherently creaky a structure). My title: “Defending the Indefensible: Jean Bethke Elshtain’s Tragic Defense of the Liberal Consensus.”
From Chicago I’ll make pilgrimage to the University of Notre Dame, where I’ll be a participant at the annual meeting of the Association of Political Theory. I’ll be appearing on Saturday, October 15th at 11 a.m. on a roundtable that will consider the merits (or lack thereof) of Martha Nussbaum’s most recent book, Not For Profit. While I’m still formulating thoughts, I can say with confidence that while I agree with Nussbaum that the humanities are deserving of defense, I will disagree almost entirely with grounds on which she seeks to defend them.
So, into the heartland, God’s country. Come by and say hello if you’re in the neighborhood, and so inclined.