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UC-Berkeley: The Crisis of the Two Constitutions
March 10, 2022 @ 12:50 pm - 2:00 pm
On March 10, 2022, the Public Law and Policy Program at the University of California, Berkeley hosted JMC faculty partner Charles Kesler for a discussion of the Constitution and conflicting interpretations of it:
American politics grows embittered because it is increasingly torn between two rival constitutions, two opposed cultures, two contrary ways of life. American conservatives rally around the founders’ Constitution, as amended and as grounded in the natural and divine rights and duties of the Declaration of Independence. American liberals herald their “living Constitution,” a term that implies that the original is dead or superseded, and that the fundamental political imperative is constant change or transformation (as President Obama called it) toward a more and more perfect social democracy ruled by a Woke elite.
Crisis of the Two Constitutions details how we got to and what is at stake in our increasingly divided America. It takes controversial stands on matters political and scholarly, describing the political genius of America’s founders and their efforts to shape future generations through a constitutional culture that included immigration, citizenship, and educational policies. Then it turns to the attempted progressive refounding of America, tracing its accelerating radicalism from the New Deal to the 1960s’ New Left to today’s unhappy campus nihilists. Finally, the volume appraises American conservatives’ efforts, so far unavailing despite many famous victories, to revive the founders’ Constitution and moral common sense. From Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump, what have conservatives learned and where should they go from here?
Along the way, Charles R. Kesler argues with critics on the left and right, and refutes fashionable doctrines including relativism, multiculturalism, critical race theory, and radical traditionalism, providing in effect a one-volume guide to the increasingly influential Claremont school of conservative thought by one of its most engaged, and engaging, thinkers.
Thursday, March 10, 2022 • 12:50 PM PST
100 Law Building • University of California-Berkeley
Charles Kesler is a Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute, Editor of the Claremont Review of Books, host of Claremont’s The American Mind video series, and the Dengler-Dykema Distinguished Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College. He also teaches in the Claremont Institute’s Publius Fellows Program and Lincoln Fellows Program. From September 2000 to March 2001, he served as vice chairman of the Advisory Committee to the U.S. Congress’s James Madison Commemoration Commission and he is the recipient of the prestigious 2018 Bradley Prize, a high honor bestowed upon distinguished individuals who have influenced American scholarship and debate. Professor Kesler is the author of I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism (Broadside Books); the editor of Saving the Revolution: The Federalist Papers and the American Founding (Free Press); co-editor, with John B. Kienker, of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Ten Years of the Claremont Review of Books (Rowman & Littlefield); and co-editor, with William F. Buckley, Jr., of Keeping the Tablets: Modern American Conservative Thought (HarperCollins). He has written extensively on American constitutionalism and political thought, and his edition of The Federalist Papers (Signet Classics) is the best-selling edition in the country.
Professor Kesler is a JMC partner.
The School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley is one of 14 schools and colleges at the University of California, Berkeley. It is consistently ranked as one of the top law schools in the nation. The law school has produced leaders in law, government, and society, including Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren, Secretary of State of the United States Dean Rusk, American civil rights activist Pauli Murray, California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, president and founder of the Equal Justice Society Eva Paterson, United States Northern District of California Judge Thelton Henderson, and Attorney General of the United States Edwin Meese.
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