Bipartisan Policy Center: Jonathan Marks’ Let’s Be Reasonable – A Conservative Case for Liberal Education

Liberal Arts

Bipartisan Policy Center: Jonathan Marks’ Let’s Be Reasonable: A Conservative Case for Liberal Education


On February 11, 2021, the Bipartisan Policy Center will be hosting JMC fellow Jonathan Marks to speak on his forthcoming book, Let’s Be Reasonable: A Conservative Case for Liberal Education:

Colleges and universities were once among our nation’s most esteemed institutions. But an increasing number of parents and the wider public worry if college is worth the cost, if universities are true homes to open inquiry, and if the liberal arts are outmoded in the 21st century.

Jonathan Marks responds to concerns in his forthcoming book, Let’s Be Reasonable: A Conservative Case for Liberal Education. He suggests that higher education’s story has been poorly told. From his perspective as a conservative professor, he makes the case for the enduring relevance of the liberal arts and the reasons why colleges and universities are worthy of renewed confidence in this fractious time.

Please join us for a discussion of Professor Marks’ book and the questions it raises about the future of the liberal arts, campus free expression, and the role of higher education in a pluralistic democracy.

Thursday, February 11, 2021
A virtual event • 2:00 PM EST

Free and open to the public, registration required.

Click here to learn more >>



Let’s Be Reasonable: A Conservative Case for Liberal Education

By Jonathan Marks


JMC fellow Jonathan Marks has recently written a book, Let’s Be Reasonable: A Conservative Case for Liberal Education. The book is due for release in February 2021 and Professor Marks will be virtually speaking on its topics for the Bipartisan Policy Center on February 11, 2021.

Not so long ago, conservative intellectuals such as William F. Buckley Jr. believed universities were worth fighting for. Today, conservatives seem more inclined to burn them down. In Let’s Be Reasonable, conservative political theorist and professor Jonathan Marks finds in liberal education an antidote to this despair, arguing that the true purpose of college is to encourage people to be reasonable―and revealing why the health of our democracy is at stake.

Drawing on the ideas of John Locke and other thinkers, Marks presents the case for why, now more than ever, conservatives must not give up on higher education. He recognizes that professors and administrators frequently adopt the language and priorities of the left, but he explains why conservative nightmare visions of liberal persecution and indoctrination bear little resemblance to what actually goes on in college classrooms. Marks examines why advocates for liberal education struggle to offer a coherent defense of themselves against their conservative critics, and demonstrates why such a defense must rest on the cultivation of reason and of pride in being reasonable.

More than just a campus battlefield guide, Let’s Be Reasonable recovers what is truly liberal about liberal education―the ability to reason for oneself and with others―and shows why the liberally educated person considers reason to be more than just a tool for scoring political points.

Preorder from Princeton University Press or Amazon >>



Jonathan Marks is a Professor of Politics and the Chair of Politics and International Relations at Ursinus College. He teaches political philosophy and has published on modern and contemporary political philosophy in journals like the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, the Journal of American Political Science, and the Review of Politics. Besides Let’s Be Reasonable, he is the author of Perfection and Disharmony in the Thought of Jean Jacques Rousseau. He co-edited and contributed to Principle and Prudence in Western Political Thought. Professor Marks also has written on higher education for InsideHigherEd, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Weekly Standard, and the Wall Street Journal. He is a constributor to the Commentary Magazine blog.

Professor Marks is a JMC fellow.

Learn more about Jonathan Marks >>



About the Center:

The Bipartisan Policy Center is a Washington, DC-based think tank that actively fosters bipartisanship by combining the best ideas from both parties to promote health, security, and opportunity for all Americans. Our policy solutions are the product of informed deliberations by former elected and appointed officials, business and labor leaders, and academics and advocates who represent both sides of the political spectrum. BPC prioritizes one thing above all else: getting things done.”

Learn more about the Bipartisan Policy Center >>



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