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Peter Augustine Lawler


Peter A. LawlerPeter Augustine Lawler was a New Atlantis contributing editor and Dana Professor of Government at Berry College. He was the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Allergic to Crazy: Quick Thoughts on Politics, Education, and Culture, Rightly Understood (St. Augustine, 2014) and Modern and American Dignity: Who We Are as Persons, and What That Means for Our Future (ISI, 2010).

Professor Lawler was a regular contributor to the Postmodern Conservative blog. He blogged for First Things and the Ashbrook Center’s No Left Turns, and wrote a column called Rightly Understood on

He was also the editor of the journal Perspectives on Political Science and the co-director of the Stuck with Virtue conference series. He served on the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2004 to 2009.

In a remembrace, New Atlantis senior editor Yuval Levin wrote that Lawler “shaped generations of students to take their country seriously, but to take their souls even more seriously.” Describing Lawler’s view, Levin wrote:

[A]ctual human beings can never really be quite happy while playing the role that modern free societies assign them. That means they will be restless, and eager for a different role. That restlessness is a source of endless anxiety, but also of hope — because it sends us searching for a way of life better suited to who we really are. It means modernity will always be producing its own critics and always live in a kind of creative tension with itself.

In The New Atlantis

Modernity and Our American Heresies

Number 43 ~ Summer/Fall 2014

Moderately Socially Conservative Darwinians

Number 38 ~ Winter/Spring 2013

Why We Need a ‘Stuck with Virtue’ Science

Number 32 ~ Summer 2011

Locke, Darwin, and America’s Future

Number 30 ~ Winter 2011

Human Dignity and Higher Education

Number 26 ~ Fall 2009 - Winter 2010

Nations, Liberalism, and Science

Number 23 ~ Winter 2009

Our Proud Human Future

Number 18 ~ Fall 2007

Is the Body Property?

Number 14 ~ Fall 2006

The Caregiving Society

Number 8 ~ Spring 2005

Restless Souls

Number 4 ~ Winter 2004

The Rise and Fall of Sociobiology

Number 1 ~ Spring 2003


  • Allergic to Crazy: Quick Thoughts on Politics, Education, and Culture, Rightly Understood (St. Augustine’s, 2014)
  • The Science of Modern Virtue: On Descartes, Darwin, and Locke, edited with Marc D. Guerra (Northern Illinois University, 2013)
  • Modern and American Dignity: Who We Are as Persons, and What That Means for Our Future (ISI, 2010)
  • Homeless and At Home in America: Evidence for the Dignity of the Human Soul in Our Time and Place (St. Augustine’s, 2007)
  • Stuck with Virtue: The American Individual and Our Biotechnological Future (ISI, 2005)
  • American Political Rhetoric: A Reader, edited with Robert Martin Schaefer (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005)
  • Democracy and Its Friendly Critics: Tocqueville and Political Life Today, edited (Lexington, 2004)
  • Faith, Morality, and Civil Society, edited with Dale McConkey (Lexington, 2003)
  • Aliens in America: The Strange Truth About Our Souls (ISI, 2002)
  • Faith, Reason, and Political Life Today, edited with Dale McConkey (Lexington, 2001)
  • Postmodernism Rightly Understood: The Return to Realism in American Thought (Rowman & Littlefield, 1999)
  • Community and Political Thought Today, edited with Dale McConkey (Praeger, 1998)
  • American Views of Liberty (Peter Lang, 1997)
  • The American Experiment (Rowman & Littlefield, 1994)
  • Under God with Liberty: The Religious Dimension of the American Idea of Liberty (Hollowbrook, 1994)
  • The Restless Mind (Rowman & Littlefield, 1993)
  • Tocqueville's Defense of Human Liberty: Current Essays, edited with Joseph Alulis (Routledge, 1992)

  • Other Publications

  • “Truly Higher Education,” National Affairs, Spring 2015
  • “Freedom and the Human Person,” National Affairs, Fall 2014
  • “Libertarians vs. Liberal Learning,” Intercollegiate Review, Winter 2014
  • “Locke, Darwin, and the American Science of Modern Virtue,” Society, October 2013
  • “Why Republicans Should Watch More TV,” The American Interest, January 8, 2013
  • “Judging Neoconservatism: Reading and Misreading the ‘Modern Cultural Situation’,” The Family in American, Summer 2012
  • “Putting Our Bourgeois-Bohemian Rulers in Their Place,” Liberty Forum, February 14, 2012
  • “Virtue and Politics: Alasdair MacIntyre's Revolutionary Aristotelianism,” Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, January 12, 2012
  • “The Change We Can Actually See (But Only Half Believe In),” Intercollegiate Review, Fall 2011
  • “Love, Death, and Personal Identity: The Cloned Soul”, The City Winter 2011
  • “Equally Not Nothing,” First Principles, November 12, 2010
  • “Thoughts on the Purpose of the President’s Bioethics Council: Expert Consensus vs. Dignified Conflict,” The Good Society, 2010
  • “Reflections on My Termination: Obama Dismisses Members of the President’s Council on Bioethics,” Weekly Standard, June 19, 2009
  • “Stuck With Virtue in Our Pro-Life Future,” Society, May 2009
  • “The Human Dignity Conspiracy,” Intercollegiate Review, Winter 2009
  • “Culture Wars,” First Principles, December 18, 2008
  • “1968 in Context: Scarcity and Decade Analysis,” Intercollegiate Review, Fall 2008
  • “The Young, Smart, Pretty, and Industrious (The Future that Awaits Them!),” Encyclopedia Britannica Blog, October 8, 2008
  • “Our Crisis of Self-Evidence,” Society, August 2008
  • “A Human Person, Actually,” City Journal, April 18, 2008
  • “Manliness, Religion, and Our Manly Scientists,” Society, April 2008
  • “The Warrior and the Preacher,” Ashbrook Center Editorial, February 2008
  • “The Candidate’s Religion,” Ashbrook Center Editorial, January 2008
  • “Saving Liberalism from Itself,” Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2007
  • “Reason, Sentiments, and Personal Significance,” Society, May 2007
  • “The Socratic Philosopher and the American Individual,” Intercollegiate Review, Spring 2007
  • “Against the Lobotomites,” The Good Society, November 3, 2006
  • “McWilliams and the Problem of American Political Education,” Perspectives on Political Science, Fall 2006
  • “Real Men Prove Darwin Wrong (Again),” Intercollegiate Review, Fall 2006
  • “Toward a Consistent Ethic of Judicial Restraint,” Society, July 2006
  • “Where’s the Love?,” Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2006
  • “Our Friend Mr. Darwin?,” Modern Age, Summer 2006
  • “Tocqueville at 200,” Perspectives on Political Science, Spring 2006
  • “Homeless on 'Paradise Drive',” Intercollegiate Review, Fall—Winter 2005
  • “Crisis of Caring,” The Dallas Morning News, October 23, 2005
  • “Bennett's Point: Babies are Good!,” Ashbrook Center Guest Commentary, October 2005
  • “The Problem of Technology,” Perspectives on Political Science, Summer 2005
  • “The Limits of American Utopianism,” Society, July 2005
  • “Filibuster Fallacy,” National Review Online, May 6, 2005
  • “Virtue Voters,” Society, May 2005
  • “Enhancement Technologies,” Modern Age, Spring 2005
  • “Individual Limits,” The Good Society, November 3, 2004
  • “The Last Puritans,” Public Interest, Fall 2004
  • “Back to Nature,” National Review Online, October 13, 2004
  • “More Than a Contract,” National Review, June 28, 2004
  • “‘Under God’ and Meaning It,” National Review Online, June 21, 2004
  • “Communism Today,” Society, May 2004
  • “Pursuing Happiness,”National Review Online, December 22, 2003
  • “Liberal Conservatism, Not Conservative Liberalism,” Intercollegiate Review, Fall 2003—Spring 2004
  • “Supreme Mocking,” National Review Online, October 22, 2003
  • “Epic Historian,” The Weekly Standard, June 14, 2003
  • “Last Man Standing,” Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2003
  • “Orestes Brownson and the Truth About America,” First Things, December 2002
  • “Conservative Postmodernism, Postmodern Conservatism,” Intercollegiate Review, Fall 2002
  • “The Right Choice,” The Weekly Standard, November 16, 2002
  • “Libertarian Fantasy and Statist Reality,” Society, November 2002
  • “A Conservative Conservationist,” Modern Age, Summer 2002
  • “The Libertarian Threat to Human Liberty,” Ashbrook Center Guest Commentary, May 2002
  • “Religion, Conservatism, and Liberationsim,” Modern Age, Winter 2002
  • “Does Human Nature Have a Future?,” The Weekly Standard, February 4, 2002
  • “Compassionate Conservatism,” Ashbrook Center Guest Commentary, November 2001
  • “Bobo Virtue and the Future of Human Liberty,” Human Events, May 28, 2001
  • “The End of History Again,” Society, March 2001
  • “Francis Fukuyama as Teacher of Evil,” Modern Age, Winter 2000
  • “Nature, Grace, and the Last Days of Disco,” Intercollegiate Review, Spring 2000
  • “The Dissident Professor,” Intercollegiate Review, Spring 1999
  • “Sex, Drugs, Politics, Love, and Death,” Political Science Reviewer, Fall 1998
  • “Walker Percy, Catholic Socratic?,” Modern Age, Spring 1998
  • “Democratic Therapy and the End of Community,” Intercollegiate Review, Spring 1997
  • “De Gaulle’s Greatness,” Weekly Standard, July 22, 1996
  • “Tocqueville on the Doctrine of Interest,” Government and Opposition, April 1995
  • “Havel on Political Responsibility,” Political Science Reviewer, Fall 1993
  • “The Problem of Order,” Modern Age, Spring 1993
  • “Tocqueville and Revolution in His Souvenirs,” Intercollegiate Review, Spring 1991
  • “Relativism, American Education, and Democracy,” Southeastern Political Review, 1989
  • “Bloom on Socrates and America,” Modern Age, Winter 1988
  • “Thoughts on America’s "Catholic Moment",” Political Science Reviewer, Fall 1988
  • “Theology and America’s Liberal Democracy,” Modern Age, Spring 1987
  • “Tocqueville on Religion and Human Excellence,” Southeastern Political Review, 1983