The 2019 Jack Miller Center’s Summit on Higher Education: “Should America’s Colleges Teach Patriotism?”
Can a free nation survive without patriotic citizens? A country that is not loved by its own people is unlikely to endure. Patriotism is taught by families, places of worship, communities, and through public service. But what is the role of the the university in forming the next generation of citizens? And what part, if any, should it play in fostering patriotism?
These questions were considered on October 3, 2019, when the Jack Miller Center held its 2019 Summit on Higher Education at the Chicago Athletic Association. This year’s theme was “Should America’s Colleges Teach Patriotism?”
The evening featured an all-star panel, moderated by JMC board member Bill Kristol, including public intellectual Peter Berkowitz (The Hoover Institution), Professor Elizabeth Kaufer Busch (Christopher Newport University), and Professor Robert Ingram (Ohio University):
JMC board member and former president of St. John’s College John Agresto delivered the keynote address:
“…If patriotism is built on love of one’s own, what exactly is our own, what do we, as diverse Americans, have in common, hold in common, that could claim our loyalty and to which we might be devoted? In other words, what is our singular American identity?
From the Declaration of Independence to the Federalist Papers to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, what our Fathers hoped we would grow in devotion to – what we would make our own – was something hardly tangible. It was the idea of the equality of all men in their possession of equal rights and equal liberty. It would be this devotion to an idea that would lead us to attach ourselves to this country…”
William Kristol is the founder of The Weekly Standard, which he edited until it closed its doors in 2018. As a prominent political analyst and commentator, he is a frequent guest of televised news shows on such networks as ABC, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. His podcast and video series, Conversations with Bill Kristol, features a host of impressive guests and he has published widely in areas ranging from foreign policy to constitutional law and political philosophy. He is the coauthor of The War Over Iraq: Saddam’s Tyranny and America’s Mission (Encounter, 2003), and the editor of The Weekly Standard – A Reader: 1995-2005 (Harper, 2005) and The United States in the Post-Cold War World (Council on Foreign Relations, 2001). Early in his career, he served on the faculty at Harvard University and University of Pennsylvania and occupied senior positions in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. Dr. Kristol currently serves on the boards of the Manhattan Institute and the Foundation for Constitutional Government.
Dr. Kristol is a JMC board member.
Peter Berkowitz is the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. During 2019, he is serving on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff in the office of the secretary. He studies and writes about, among other things, constitutional government, conservatism and progressivism in the United States, liberal education, national security and law, and Middle East politics. He is the author of Constitutional Conservatism: Liberty, Self-Government, and Political Moderation (Hoover Institution Press, 2013); Israel and the Struggle over the International Laws of War (Hoover Institution Press, 2012); Virtue and the Making of Modern Liberalism (Princeton University Press, 1999); and Nietzsche: The Ethics of an Immoralist (Harvard University Press, 1995). He is a 2017 winner of the Bradley Prize. In addition, he serves as dean of studies for the Public Interest Fellowship, and teaches for the Tikvah Fund in the United States and in Israel.
Elizabeth Kaufer Busch is the Laura and Pete Walker Professor of American Studies at Christopher Newport University. In addition, she is the Director of the University’s American Studies Program and Co-Director of the Center for American Studies. Dr. Kaufer Busch’s research focuses on the evolving conceptions of sex, gender, and equality, and the role those concepts have on public policy. Dr. Kaufer Busch is the coauthor of Title IX: The Transformation of Sex Discrimination in Education (Routledge, 2018), which explores the non-legislative processes by which the 37-word law has been transformed over four decades, and was an editor of Civic Education and the Future of American Citizenship (Lexington, 2012) and Democracy Reconsidered (Lexington, 2009). In 2012, she was the recipient of Christopher Newport University’s Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring, the University’s most prestigious award given to one faculty member annually.
Dr. Kaufer Busch is a JMC board member.
Robert Ingram is a Professor of History and Director of the George Washington Forum at Ohio University. His research concerns religion and society in post-revolutionary Britain and its empire. Dr. Ingram is the author of Reformation Without End: Religion, Politics and the Past in Post-Revolutionary England (Manchester, 2018) and Religion, Reform and Modernity in the Eighteenth Century: Thomas Secker and the Church of England (Boydell, 2007), and is currently working on Hobbes’s Century: England, Ireland and Religious Establishment, 1689–1742, a study of the state’s sacralization in post-revolutionary Britain. He has been selected for Ohio University’s Outstanding Faculty Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Award for 2018-19, which recognizes “a major contribution to research, scholarship, and/or creative activity in a relevant field at the national or international level.”
Dr. Ingram is a JMC faculty partner.
John Agresto is the former President of St. John’s College and former Chancellor and Provost of the American University of Iraq. While acting President of St. John’s, which has been praised as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country, Professor Agresto actively worked in designing and supporting its Great Books Program. He has been a leading proponent of the value of a liberal arts education, lecturing and writing on its nature and benefits for many years. Before assuming his position at St. John’s College, Professor Agresto served as President at the Madison Center in Washington, D.C. and as Assistant Chairman, Deputy Chairman, and Acting Chairman to the National Endowment for the Humanities for seven years. Widely published in the areas of politics, law, and education, he is the author or editor of several books, including Rediscovering America: Liberty, Equality, and the Crisis of Democracy (Asahina & Wallace, 2015), Mugged by Reality: The Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions (Encounter, 2007), The Supreme Court and Constitutional Democracy (Cornell, 1984), and The Humanist as Citizen: Essays on the Uses of the Humanities (National Humanities Center, 1981).
Dr. Agresto is a JMC board member.
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