Prof. Lorraine Pangle on the Founders, Education, and Civics

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This week on The Learning Curve, Cara and guest cohost Jonathan Greenberg discuss the legacy of the Founding Fathers and the future of civics education with Lorraine Pangle, professor of political philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. They discuss how Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and others were steeped in the classics and how ancient authors and thinkers, along with figures from the Enlightenment, helped shape America’s Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and our nation’s understanding of the role of public education as a wellspring of republican self-government. Prof. Pangle concludes with a reading from her book, The Learning of Liberty: The Educational Ideas of the American Founders.
Stories of the Week: Cara discussed a story from Newschannel 6 in Wichita Falls, Texas, about Texas lawmakers pushing to expand school choice through an Education Savings Account program and the pushback from some Wichita Falls education officials who believe it amounts to taking taxpayer public funds for use by private schools. Jonathan discussed a column by Max Eden of the American Enterprise Institute in Newsweek that ascribes much of the credit for the recent gains in the school choice movement to—ironically—Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.


Lorraine Pangle is a professor of political philosophy in the Department of Government and co-director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas at the University of Texas at Austin. She studies and teaches ancient, early modern, and American political philosophy, with special interests in ethics, the philosophy of education, and problems of justice and moral responsibility. Her publications include Reason and Character: The Moral Foundations of Aristotelian Political Philosophy (2020), Virtue Is Knowledge: The Moral Foundations of Socratic Political Philosophy (2014), The Political Philosophy of Benjamin Franklin (2007), Aristotle and the Philosophy of Friendship(2003), and The Learning of Liberty: The Educational Ideas of the American Founders, co-authored with Thomas L. Pangle (1993). She has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Earhart Foundation. Pangle received her B.A. in history from Yale, a B.Ed. from the University of Toronto, and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

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Cara Candal: Learning Curve listeners, it is April. The sun is shining. His flowers are maybe starting to bloom here in Boston. I don’t know, we could still be waiting on a winter storm as, as sometimes happens here in early April. I am without my intrepid co-host the wonderful Gerard Robinson this week, but we are so lucky to have with us a pinch hitter a guest co-host, Mr. Jonathan Greenberg. Jonathan, are you. I am so nice to have you. Thank you so much for helping me co-host the learning curve this week. I’m really looking forward to the conversation. Before we get started, Jonathan, tell us a little bit about yourself. I know the, listeners want to know.

[00:01:15] Jonathan Greenberg: My name’s Jonathan Greenberg. I’m the director of research and strategy at the Jack Miller Family Foundation, and I’m glad the weather’s nice there. We just had an enormous hail storm here in Chicago, which is appropriate for Holy Week, I think for the week of Passover. Yes. Um, I’ve been with Jack Miller. For about five years, Jack is the founder and retired CEO of Quill, the office supply company.

[00:01:34] So I tell people, sure. Jack made a billion dollars one paperclip at a time. And since he retired, since he sold Quill to Staples in the late nineties, he’s dedicated most of his time and energy to working on civic education, first in America’s universities and in the last several years in our K through 12 educational system.

[00:01:51] So, that’s a, passion of his and, and it’s something that I spent a lot of time working. Before that I actually was a vice president at one of Pioneer Institute’s sister [00:02:00] organizations here in Illinois, the Illinois Policy Institute. And yes, before that I was at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the big pro-Israel lobby in Washington. I started out in the D.C. office and then they moved me here. I have a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Indiana University and a master’s degree in public administration from Indiana. And then I actually went to seminary. I’m an ordained rabbi. And that didn’t stick, although I do still reference biblical.

[00:02:22] Cara: What a background. So family, foundations, SPNs, all that I have to say. So, I also graduated Indiana University as an undergraduate. Oh, right. Go Hoosiers. Yeah, go Hoosiers. I haven’t been back there in more years than I care to count. And I lived in Chicago for a very long time because that’s where I went to graduate school at the University of Chicago. Lived in Hyde Park, Oak Park, all of the parks before coming out here to Boston about 20 years ago. I have such a soft spot in my heart for Chicago and my brother, who I know listens to this show is still there. So he lives right near Wrigleyville, which is such a wonderful area. So that’s a great area. Go Hoosiers and Chi-town. It’s the best, man. Miss the food every day. And, and you know, the weather’s not much different than Boston. I miss the lake. I’m definitely a Lake Michigan girl, so lovely, lovely to have you. Well, I know that as we always do, we open the learning curve with a couple of stories of the week, and both of us are getting school choicey this week. But I would love to have you tell us first what you’re thinking about.

[00:03:22] Jonathan: There was a piece by Max Eden who’s a fellow at the American Enterprise. I. And called the School Choice Movement’s Greatest Saleswoman. It was in Newsweek. He’s talking about your favorite teacher, union president and mine, Randy Weingarten. The gist of the piece is that Randy Weingarten is driving a lot of the school choice movement now because she’s eroding parents’ trust in public education. I think that’s largely true. And you really don’t have to look any further than the political impact that she’s had on races, which is to say an entirely negative one. Inexplicably, they had her out to stump in the Virginia governor’s race and her side lost that one. They’ve had her here in Chicago to stump on behalf of the further left of the two Democrats who are running for mayor and the runoff for mayor, which is today. And Brandon Johnson, and he’s likely to lose. So, I think that Max Eden makes a really good point that you don’t need to have parents who dislike their individual teachers. I, we love our kids’ teachers. What you do have to have is distrust in the system as a whole. And people like Randy Weingarten, I think, really drive that. So I thought, I thought this was a great piece.

[00:04:26] Cara: Yeah, it’s really interesting. You know, as we were talking just before we started recording, I think a lot about these issues too. And I saw the piece and I think there’s a point there, although I have to say I wouldn’t give Ms. Weingarten as much credit. I think that there’s a lot that’s happened in not just because of the pandemic to erode trust in our public schools, but I think we should also recognize that, there are a lot of folks who really love their local public schools, and one of the things that. Sort of worries me, and you said it too, like, right, we love our teachers and I think that that goes for, parents in all schools.

One of the things that worries me, and this actually gets to my story the week too, is the school choice narrative. That it always has to be an either or, right? That it’s like, I’m choosing this private school, or I want this ESA because I wanna get away from the public schools. Or we have this narrative about charter schools for the longest time too, and surprise, surprise not working.

[00:05:19] If we look at the state of the charter school movement now, And it’s been. I struggle with this one quite a bit. That we have to have this sort of false dichotomy between you’re in or you’re out and it’s public or private. And I think instead that if we’re really for choice, we should be for all of it.

[00:05:36] We should be really not saying folks are leaving the public schools because they’re terrible or they’re alienating. And the teachers unions are responsible for that. Although the teachers unions certainly are responsible for a lot of things. I think your point. Putting our thumb on the scale in terms of elections and stuff like that, that I couldn’t agree more. But we should be for really strong public schools as well as really strong private school choice and public school choice and all of the things. And I personally long for the day when, when we get there. And so I’m wary of the narrative. I will say to my own story of the week, which is one out of Texas, I’m always drawn to stories out of Texas because Texas is fascinating to me. Plays it like second to New Hampshire and sort of like, don’t tread on me ethos yet. Boy, anti school choice fervor runs really high in Texas, right? And this article is just fascinating. Slanted. It’s is, the title is Texas. Lawmakers are Pushing to Expand School Choice, and of course it’s talking about an ESA that’s been working its way through the legislator.

[00:06:40] An ESA bill. Texas has been here before and hasn’t been successful. I think they’re closer than they ever were. But The facts in here are so, non-factual. It’s, astounding to me. they’re quoting it length. The superintendent who is basically from Wichita Falls ISD who’s basically saying that if kids choose an ESA under this plan, that they’re gonna get double the money of everybody else. Because this superintendent, as well as the author of the article, seemed to fail to realize that when you choose a voucher or an ESA or something like this, you actually give up your spot in the public system. And that it’s just an allocation of public monies that would be equal to what you would’ve gotten in the public system that would follow you. And then again, this narrative of, oh, this is the demise of public education, it’s gonna ruin our rural schools, right? The same old refrains that we hear all the. It’s fascinating one to me, and I think it’s, it’s the other part of the coin, right? It’s this narrative from the other side of saying like, school choice is the devil.

[00:07:37] It’s gonna ruin everything. And sometimes I think we get a little too far. Ahead of our skis when we’re talking about the fact that you know, public schools are terrible in driving people away. I found this one really interesting. and just one more thing on this, folks, if you’re not paying attention to what’s going on in Texas with regard to its micro grant, which I have probably [00:08:00] talked about on this show before, they have.

Supplemental Ed, special Education Services Micro grant, which is a one-time award for students who have IEPs and parents families get, I think it’s like a $2,500 allocation to spend on special services. So essentially this is an e s A without having to leave the public school system. Waiting lists are huge. The legislature has had to appropriate more money for this, even though it was started with ESSA funds. It’s an amazing hit. So in a state that is so wary of school choice, the extent to which it’s already happening and which parents are loving it is fascinating to me, and that’s how I think we get these things to really take hold. So, Jonathan, I gave a little bit of critique of your article. I wonder if you’d like to weigh in on any of what I’ve just talked.

[00:08:49] Jonathan: I will go back to of the broader issue of, of school choice though, to say that one of my frustrations working in civic education is the extent to which the Liberty movement is focused on school choice and getting kids out of government schools, which I think a laudable goal. But the fact of the matter is most kids are still going to be in public schools for the foreseeable future. The overwhelming majority of them are right now, and we ignore. What’s going on in, public schools? I think, not just to our movement’s detriment, but to the detriment of all those kids. Getting them out of public schools is not really the answer for a lot of people. For overwhelming majority now, and probably for the majority, for the foreseeable future. Fixing those schools should be something that we also focus on. We’ve gotta learn to walk and chew gum at the same time.


Cara: Yeah. Okay. We’re, totally aligned on that one, my friend. I mean, that is boy, if I haven’t had a whole career dedicated to trying to think about how we should walk and shoot gum at the same time. I don’t know. There, there are days when it feels like banging one’s head against a wall, but really, really interesting stuff. Now, really quick before we bring in our guest, I wanna know, so you think Valis has this one in Chicago? Is that what we’re gonna.


Jonathan: Well, I would never say that, you know, there’s a lot the, the majority of the people who haven’t voted yet are dead. So we, you know, yes, in Chicago, you never can say that it’s a, a done deal, but not only was he up a few points in the last polling that I saw, but the word that I have from people who know what they’re talking about is that he was pulling away. So, we’ll see. He ran a really effective commercial these last couple of days with Dick Durbin and Bobby Rush and Jesse White, some really prominent Illinois Democrats saying how great he is and how he’s a real Democrat, all that stuff, and so hopefully that seals the deal and, we end up with a competent mayor, which will be a nice change of pace.

[00:10:30] Cara: Yeah. Wow. Oh, sweet Home Chicago. It’s, I have to say one of the most frightening experiences in my life was as a 20, what, four year old voting. in Chicago and realizing what it, it was an intimidating experience being sort of told how I was supposed to vote. So very, very interesting. And some of the stories are true, they don’t call it the windy city for nothing. It’s about the politics. Folks it is about the politics.

Jonathan: That’s right.

Cara: All right. Well we have a wonderful guest waiting for us in the wing. We are gonna be speaking in just a moment with Lorraine Pangle. She is a professor of political philosophy in the Department of Government and co-director of the Thomas Jefferson Center at the University of Texas, Austin. So, as Texas Story, a Texan guest, we’re all about Texas today. We’ll be back right after this.

Learning curve, as promised, we are back. We are with Lorraine Pangle, who is a professor of political philosophy in the Department of Government and co-director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas at the University of Texas at Austin. That is a mouthful of important words.

She studies and teaches ancient, early modern and American political philosophy with special interest in ethics, the philosophy of education and problems of justice and moral responsibility. Her publications include Reason and Character: The Moral Foundations of Aristotelian Political Philosophy. Virtue Is Knowledge:

The Moral Foundations of Socratic Political Philosophy and the Political Philosophy of Benjamin Franklin, as well as Aristotle in the philosophy of friendship in the learning of Liberty, the educational ideas of the American founders. She has head fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Earhart Foundation. Pangle received her B.A. in history from Yale. B.Ed. from the University of Toronto—I love Toronto—and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. I too an alum of the University of Chicago. Lorraine Pangle, welcome to the show. Thanks for being with us today.

[00:13:24] Lorraine Pangle: Thank you so much for having me.

[00:13:27] Cara: Yeah, we’re really eager to talk to you. I mean, such a wide ranging body of work you have here. I’d like to start out in a topic. I know many of our listeners are very interested in your book, the Learning of Liberty. Is a, a wonderful one. Volume treatment of the educational views of the founding fathers. Something that I think we don’t talk a lot about unless we are education policy wonk. it’s fascinating stuff. Could you share with our listeners how the founders drew from the example of Judeo-Christianancient and modern sources to support education based on ordered liberty and self-government?

Lorraine: Thank you for that. The founders were all liberally educated. Whether that happened at school or they were self-taught, they all read very widely and they all gained from their reading a love of liberty, a sense of what a precious thing it is in the sense of how hard it is to win it and to keep it. They all agreed that our prosperity and our liberty as a country would depend on keeping our democracy healthy. And that democracy as a government of the people, by the people and for the people depends ultimately on the political wisdom and civic spirit of the people. They also agreed that prudence and patriotism and mutual respect and fairness and dedication to public service are not naturally innate to human beings.

[00:14:54] They’re civic virtues that require careful cultivation in every generation. I think [00:15:00] that’s the core lesson that the founders writing on education has for us that we need to recover. And in their readings of all of these sources that you mentioned, they were always especially looking to see what lessons they could draw in support of freedom and civic virtue.

[00:15:18] So this included reading, general history, looking at classical models, looking at our own history. Religion. Looking also to consider ways that teaching practical skills could foster civic virtue. And just to start with their classical sources. Here are a couple of examples of the way the founders drew on them.

[00:15:42] Ben Franklin as a young man in his self-education read among other things, Xenophon’s recollections of Socrates, the memorabilia, and he reports that he learned to model his mode of discourse on Socrates. A more modest, but also wildly an effective mode of conversing and persuading. More importantly, he learned a lot about human nature from Socrates, about the complicated mixed motives of human beings.

[00:16:11] And he learned a different way of thinking about virtue and vice from what he had gotten from the Puritan Divines in New England. A way of understanding vice not fundamentally a sin, but as foolishness and virtue, not fundamentally as righteousness that requires grace, but as practical wisdom that you can. And put into and make habitual Franklin became an effective teacher of American versions of the classical virtues by reading Zen and American View, for example, of honesty is the best policy and virtue altogether as self-interest, rightly understood, which Tocqueville describes as the American in a very different spirit, Washington drew on the classics he was, as he was leading the continental Army through the dark days of the Revolutionary War, he appealed to the classical model, the Roman hero Cato, who died defending the republic against Caesar worked hard to give his democratic army a stronger sense of honor.

[00:17:16] And one of the things he did in that vein was to have Addison’s play Cato, Performed at Valley Forge to inspire this sense in this.

[00:17:26] Cara: Wonderful information that I never would’ve known about Ben Franklin. Can you talk to us a little bit about some of their other founding figures? So Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, their own formative educations were grounded in Greek and Roman sources. Can you talk about, though, how ancient and enlightenment thinkers differed in how to educate for civic virtue?

[00:17:47] Lorraine: Mm-hmm. And as you say, Jefferson and Adams were very well read in both the classics and enlightenment thinkers. So with the classics, the original meaning of liberal education comes to us from the Greeks who talked about an education suited for free citizens, equipping them for liberty. And this consisted in an education in athletics and hunting and military arts to train the body to forge courage and education in music and poetry and stories to shape the heart, to instill a love of beauty and nobility and other moral virtues, and in order to instill practical wisdom in the company and conversation of, and examples of men of affairs, a Roman. Thinkers and writers, citizenship and leadership were considered the focus of the best life for free men.

[00:18:44] So Rome prided itself on the patriotic dedication of its citizens, on keeping the republic rich and the citizens poor and warlike enlightenment thinkers went in a very different direction. Locke, especially with his treatise on education. [00:19:00] Puts the focus on education for private life and managing your own affairs and writing in Monarchic England his goal was not so much to train men for self-government, but to cultivate capable, reasonable, independent minded individuals and our founders above all. Jefferson, I think were intent on weaving these models together. In crafting an education suitable to modern representative democratic liberty, they put the balance much more than the ancients had on equipping citizens to live independent lives as individuals and family, men and women to exercise individual freedoms and rights. And they put less emphasis on freedom understood as active self-government. Although that was important as well, and this reflected the fact that by the time of the founding, there was a different view of government from in the ancient republics, a view of government as a kind of necessary evil and not the arena for the best life.

[00:20:08] And even the Federalists wanted to put some distance between the people and government by studying up a large, diverse representative democracy. Direct more attention towards a vibrant civil and private sphere. So Jefferson weaves these goals together. He makes it the first name of education to equip citizens individually for self-sufficiency. By giving them the information and skills they need to manage their own affairs. He then adds to that in education for citizenship, grounded in a knowledge of their rights and duties. And including the knowledge of history so that citizens, as he says, can be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes.

And then third, he says, school should provide that those people that nature has endowed with genius and virtue should be made by liberal education worthy to receive and able to guard the sacred deposit. Of the rights and liberties of the fellow citizens. Washington also drawing on these sources was especially concerned to establish a national university to train leaders, which never came about, but also a military academy, which did at West Point.

But all of them agreed on the importance of civic virtue as the goal of this complex education. Consisting in qualities of character that we need both for happy private lives and to become good citizens and leaders. And I think that today the effort to teach something like Civic virtue in the schools has become very contentious.

It’s tempting to think we should just leave all these fraught moral questions to parents. But the Founders would say that’s a big mistake, that serious civic education requires teaching facts, but also cultivating virtues.

[00:22:03] And by virtues, they understood not stances, not policy positions on controversial issues, but qualities of character rooted in self-control, fairness, humanity, generosity. Respect towards everyone cultivated through good models and reason, discussion and habitual practice, and that those virtues are something that we all need and all can sharing.

[00:22:28] Cara: Yeah, the recent discussion is something that I think is missing from society generally today. Not just um, the conversation a around our schools. Indeed. Professor, really quickly, really briefly, before I invite our co-host Jonathan in because I know he’s got some great questions for you too, I wanted to ask you about, How Jefferson drew upon Enlightenment thinkers like Bacon, Newton and Locke. Could you say a little bit more about how these thinkers in particular shaped his understanding of liberal arts?

Lorraine: So from Locke Jefferson drew the powerful ideas of natural rights, including religious liberty and the idea of the social compact, legitimate government resting on consent, which involves also the right of revolution. The idea of property rights the idea of the separation of powers from Newton, I think he drew, especially the thought that the world is rational and orderly and knowable, and that science is a noble undertaking and not a threat to true faith from bacon. The idea that science should be practical and should come to the relief of man’s estate and promote prosperity in commerce.

In setting up the University of Virginia, which was the first great research university in the United States, Jefferson introduced these subjects to a more restricted classical curriculum that had been traditional and argued that everyone should have the freedom to pursue the studies that are most interesting to them. That’s a real revolution in the university that I think those three especially.

Jonathan: Dr. Pangle, thanks for joining us and for taking a couple questions. You talked a little bit about some of the classic texts and great thinkers that formed the thinking of many of our founders, but other founders like Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Rush. Were in favor of a more vocationally centered practical education and the trades.

[00:24:21] So could you talk about the important lessons that educators and students today can learn by reading Great Books or by learning a practical trade and how those two differing approaches to education support our shared civic ideals?

Lorraine: So I would argue that and I think the Founders thought also that all of our young citizens need to read the great books. They need works of political philosophy to learn principles of government and justice. They need history and biographies to see important examples of leaders and the dangers that republics face, they mean poetry and drama to understand the human heart and religious works, to understand their faith in one another, and maybe most importantly, moral philosophy to become thoughtful about what matters in life and why moral virtue is important.

These kinds of books should be studied in depth in college, but the Founders argued that all citizens should begin reading them at least in middle school and certainly in high school. These things were the mainstay of colonial education in the existing academies and colleges before the revolution.

[00:25:31] What Americans, beginning with Franklin subtracted, was the heavy emphasis on learning Latin and Franklin began his work on education by the proposal for an academy, which said we should have an English education that reads English classics and then teaches school students to become effective speakers and writers in the public life of their own country.

So that was the first practical thing that he did, and the new stress on vocational education went along with that and with a new model of citizen. As grounded much more in individual self-reliance. Unlike the European aristocrats that had a certain contempt for labor, the founders embraced it and argued that in learning the trade or a profession, you learn virtues of honesty and civility and hard work and self-respect, and a sense of responsibility that can be the absolute foundation of a healthy society.

And Franklin, especially promoted learning a skill. He says he who has a trade has an office of profit and honor because he does not hold it during any other man’s pleasure and has affords him honest, subsistence with independence. So I think he’d say we need to focus on that just as much as on college preparatory schooling, and not only for economic reasons, but in order to have a more healthy citizenry.

[00:26:56] Jonathan: Jefferson and Adams both played significant roles in the drafting of their state’s constitutions. And they were forceful proponents of state-driven, locally controlled, public and private education. So could you talk about how they viewed education as an expression of constitutional federalism and the role that they intended public education to play as a wellspring of modern republican self-government?

[00:27:18] Lorraine: They, and I think all the other founders argued that education at the primary and secondary level is a responsibility of the states as part of that federalism. And given the stakes for education, they thought that funding schools shouldn’t be just on the shoulders of parents but should be supported by the state.

[00:27:38] Jefferson had an interesting proposal to bring, not educational funding, but responsibility for running the schools down to the local level. He proposed dividing the counties into wards or hundred. Which would each be large enough to provide them in for one company in the militia and the children for one elementary school.

[00:27:58] And he said each ward should be a little republic within the republic of the county. Responsible, first of all for schools, but then for other tasks like the police and jury selection and providing for the poor. And so at the same time, the children would be given an academic education. Parents would be given a kind of education in self-organization and self-government.

[00:28:20] And he argued that this kind of local control was essential to maintaining liberty. He said, what’s destroyed Liberty? Everywhere has always been central. Where every man is a sharer in the direction of his ward republic, or someone of the higher ones, not just on election day, but every day of the year. Then he’ll be prepared to defend his liberty against every Caesar and every Bonaparte. And Noah Webster supported the same idea with the argument that in having local schools, we need to have a common American education grounded in civic and American history. Benjamin Rush, going in a somewhat different direction, thought that religion was so crucial as a foundation for civic virtue that schools should be mainly denominational. But here too, with lessons in our shared civic principal civic history, having a central place.

Jonathan: Great. That’s fascinating. Thank you. Can you discuss what James Madison learned about toleration and religious liberty from Enlightenment thinkers like Locke and how that later influenced his role as founder of the Constitution, drafter of the Bill of Rights?

[00:29:28] Lorraine: So Madison has a curious place in shaping America’s understanding of the proper role of church and state at the time of the founding. He and most of the Founders agreed strongly on the value of toleration and religious liberty as they learned it from Locke as a fundamental inalienable right. But they actually disagreed about establishment. Madison thought that liberty was only safe when government completely kept out of religion, and there was a high wall of separation between church and state. Jefferson followed that, but they were outliers in this few, and most of the others, like Benjamin Rush and George Washington, that religion was so essential to support morality that it needed public support.

So they were divided, and as Michael Melvin has argued, the establishment clause of the First Amendment actually represents a compromise with its peculiar wording. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. If you look at the debates, they were trying to make sure that it didn’t set up a national religion, but also that it didn’t interfere with the state’s existing provisions for multi-denominational support for religion and especially religious.

And they expressed, I think, their common sense of the importance of religion in the Northwest Ordinance, which says that religion and morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. But the thought I think was clearly both church sponsored and public non-sectarian schools deserve support.

[00:31:06] And that’s important for us today, I think, as we consider expanding school choice, which I believe we should. Both religious schools and non and local par non schools have an important place to play in our civic education.

[00:31:20] Jonathan: Dr. Pangle, thank you for taking a few minutes to answer our questions. If you’d like to now regald with just a paragraph of your, book we’d love to hear it.

Lorraine: Well, this is on the theme of vigilance Against Government and its need, and its dangers. And I start here with Thomas Jefferson who makes the argument that if once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and congress and assemblies, judges, and governors shall all become wolves.

[00:31:51] Madison was critical of Jefferson’s extreme focus on vigilance and frequent appeals to the people. And he argues that, for example, repeated constitutional conventions will deprive government and law of the veneration that time bestows on everything and that law especially needs and. Hamilton also was concerned about too much vigilance, too much passion in the people. He says the same state of the passions, which fits the multitude, who have not a sufficient stock of reason and knowledge to guide them for opposition to tyranny and oppression very naturally leads them to a contempt in disregard of all authority. And so here’s my paragraph, which is mostly Washington.

[00:32:37] Characteristically, it’s George Washington who harmonizes the Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian views on the proper place of public vigilance. In his first annual message to Congress, he gives an admirably, brief and incisive summary of the civic goal of popular education in a republic, focusing on the problem of balancing vigilance, self-control, and forbearance.

[00:32:59] There is nothing which can better deserve your patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country, the surest basis of public happiness in one in which the measures of government receive their impression so immediately from the sense of the community, as in ours, it is proportion essential to the security of a free constitution it contributes in various ways. By convincing those who are entrusted with the public administration that every valuable end of government is best answered by the enlightened confidence of the people, and by teaching the people themselves to know and devalue their own rights, to discern and provide against invasions of them, to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority between burdens, proceeding from a disregard to the convenience, and those resulting from the inevitable exigencies of society. To discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness, cherishing the first, avoiding the last, and uniting a speedy but temperate vigilance against encroachments with an inviable. Respect to the laws. The spirit I think we especially need today.

Cara: Couldn’t agree more. Dr. Lorraine Pangle, thank you so much for your time today, for sharing your wonderful work with us and with our listeners, and we hope you take good care and maybe you’ll come back and spend time with us another time soon.

Lorraine: It was my pleasure. Thank you so much. Thank you.

Cara: Jonathan, we always end this show with a tweet of the week, and this one goes right to your hometown, which we were talking about at the top of the show is from Kevin Mankhen. And it says, new from me. This race offers the sharpest contrast on K to 12 issues of any recent democratic contest. Paul Valis, an Unreconstructed reformer narrowly leads Brandon Johnson.

[00:35:32] A teacher’s union organizer that of course, from the 74 I’m gonna be watching this one. Gonna be an interesting one. We’ll see if your prediction that wasn’t a prediction comes out. Right. And learning curve. Listeners, next week we will be back. We’ll be speaking with Frank Dikötter. He’s the chair, professor of humanities at the University of Hong Kong and the author of the People’s Trilogy.

[00:35:58] Jonathan, thanks so much for co-hosting with me this week. It was a whole load of fun. We had a great guest and some great conversation and hope you’ll come back soon. Thanks.

Jonathan: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Awesome. You take care.

Tweet of the Week: