Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism

Overview

“Many in elite circles yield to the temptation to believe that anyone who disagrees with them is a bigot or a religious fundamentalist. Reason and science, they confidently believe, are on their side. With this book, I aim to expose the emptiness of that belief.” —From the introduction

Assaults on religious liberty and traditional morality are growing fiercer. Here, at last, is the counterattack.

Showcasing the talents that have made him one of...

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Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism

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Overview

“Many in elite circles yield to the temptation to believe that anyone who disagrees with them is a bigot or a religious fundamentalist. Reason and science, they confidently believe, are on their side. With this book, I aim to expose the emptiness of that belief.” —From the introduction

Assaults on religious liberty and traditional morality are growing fiercer. Here, at last, is the counterattack.

Showcasing the talents that have made him one of America’s most acclaimed and influential thinkers, Robert P. George explodes the myth that the secular elite represents the voice of reason. In fact, George shows, it is on the elite side of the cultural divide where the prevailing views frequently are nothing but articles of faith. Conscience and Its Enemies reveals the bankruptcy of these too often smugly held orthodoxies while presenting powerfully reasoned arguments for classical virtues.

In defending what James Madison called the “sacred rights of conscience”—rights for which government shows frightening contempt—George grapples with today’s most controversial issues: abortion and infanticide, same-sex marriage, genetic manipulation, euthanasia and assisted suicide, religion in politics, judicial activism, and more. His brilliantly argued essays rely not on theological claims or religious authority but on established scientific facts and a philosophical tradition that extends back to Plato and Aristotle.

Conscience and Its Enemies elevates our national debates. It sets forth powerful arguments that secular liberals are unaccustomed to hearing—and that embattled defenders of traditional morality so often fail to marshal. It also lays out the principles and arguments for rebuilding a moral order.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Kay S. Hymowitz
[George's] newest book, Conscience and Its Enemies…bring[s] together an accessible group of essays that put his highly burnished philosophical and constitutional learning on full display. They should, at the very least, unsettle those whose only experiences of social conservatism are the blunderings of Todd Akin and the theatrics of Rush Limbaugh, and perhaps even lead to some reflection that rises above the media brawl.
From the Publisher

“Puts [George’s] highly burnished philosophical and constitutional learning on full display. . . . George is exceptionally nimble when he spars with conventional contemporary political and social thought. . . . [George] speaks for a sizable number of conscientious objectors to America’s ruling liberal secularism.”
New York Times Book Review

“There’s not a dull or insignificant page in the whole volume. . . . I don’t think we get better, or more consequential, commentary on the modern crisis than Mr. George affords us.”
Washington Times

“Brilliant theoretical argument . . . Should be required reading in colleges across the nation.” —Commentary

“George’s claim to that title [‘This country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker’] is made abundantly clear in this collection of incisive, accessible essays, which seek to expose and confront the dogmas of liberal secularism while also directing and deepening modern conservatism. . . . Intended for a wide audience, the book deserves one.” —Claremont Review of Books

“A primer in civics and a guide to addressing the cultural  Leviathan . . . George’s incomparable expertise will give even the most seasoned reader new insights.” —Catholic World Report

Praise for Robert P. George

“A fascinating mind at work: brilliant, of course, and learned, but, above all, tenacious. Robert George is the bulldog of American intellectuals—grasping hold of a topic and refusing to let it go until he’s gotten to the bone.” —Weekly Standard

“This country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker.” —New York Times Magazine

“One of the nation’s most respected legal theorists . . . Even people who profoundly disagree with some of his conclusions [respect] his sheer brilliance, the analytic power of his arguments, the range of his knowledge . . . [and] a deeply principled conviction, a profound and enduring integrity.” —Elena Kagan, Supreme Court justice

“One of the most incisive legal and moral thinkers working today.” —First Things

“One of contemporary conservatism’s intellectual pinups.” —George F. Will

“George has done a great service in demonstrating that traditional morality still has an authoritative role to play in modern life, and in showing how a person of faith can enter the public square fearlessly, unashamedly, intelligently, and, above all, reasonably.” —National Review

“An indispensable man.” —Touchstone

“Professor George has helped strengthen our nation’s system of ordered liberty by exploring enduring questions of American constitutional law and Western political theory.” —President George W. Bush, in awarding the Presidential Citizens Medal
 

From the Publisher

“A fascinating mind at work: brilliant, of course, and learned, but, above all, tenacious. Robert George is the bulldog of American intellectuals—grasping hold of a topic and refusing to let it go until he’s gotten to the bone.” —Weekly Standard

“This country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker.” —New York Times Magazine

“One of the nation’s most respected legal theorists . . . Even people who profoundly disagree with some of his conclusions [respect] his sheer brilliance, the analytic power of his arguments, the range of his knowledge . . . [and] a deeply principled conviction, a profound and enduring integrity.” —Elena Kagan, Supreme Court justice

“One of the most incisive legal and moral thinkers working today.” —First Things

“One of contemporary conservatism’s intellectual pinups.” —George F. Will

“George has done a great service in demonstrating that traditional morality still has an authoritative role to play in modern life, and in showing how a person of faith can enter the public square fearlessly, unashamedly, intelligently, and, above all, reasonably.” —National Review

“An indispensable man.” —Touchstone

“Professor George has helped strengthen our nation’s system of ordered liberty by exploring enduring questions of American constitutional law and Western political theory.” —President George W. Bush, in awarding the Presidential Citizens Medal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610170703
  • Publisher: ISI Books
  • Publication date: 6/3/2013
  • Series: American Ideals & Institutions Series , #1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 190,102
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. He has received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Bradley Prize for Intellectual and Civic Achievement, and the Canterbury Medal of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He is a member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and has served on the President’s Council on Bioethics and the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Professor George holds degrees from Swarthmore, Harvard, and Oxford, as well as many honorary degrees. A regular guest on television and radio and a frequent contributor to popular and scholarly publications, he is the author of The Clash of Orthodoxies and coauthor of What Is Marriage? and Embryo: A Defense of Human Life.
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