Burke to Buckley Summer Course 2020

National Review Institute is pleased to announce that registration is now open for a NEW virtual Burke to Buckley Summer Course!

NRI runs several programs, one of which is the Burke to Buckley program, teaching the foundations of conservative thought. Formerly known as the Regional Fellowship Program, this program takes place in six cities and is an eight-session dinner series designed for mid-career professionals to gain a deeper understanding of founding principles and to build a network of talented, like-minded individuals who can assist one another professionally and personally for years to come.

Because the demand for intellectual content and community is high, we feel this is an opportune time to launch a new Burke to Buckley Summer Course. While this program is normally designed for mid-career professionals who live within the six cities where the Spring and Fall programs are offered, the Summer Course will give all individuals around the nation the opportunity to participate in deep discussions about the ideas of conservative thought.

Participants will meet via Zoom meeting for a series of six weeknight seminars. These will take place on Wednesdays between May 27th and July 1st from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. ET. Participants are expected to attend all six sessions and complete a 25 to 30-page reading assignment, which they will discuss with a leading conservative thinker. Prior to the first session there will be a 15-minute orientation and a class photo. Sessions involve spirited discussions around each of the topics listed above. Discussion leaders are all leaders in their field and consist of popular writers/speakers at National Review or faculty/leading thinkers at universities or policy groups.

There is a suggested contribution of $250 in order to cover program costs. For our 1955 Society Full Members ($2,500+ supporters) we invite you to join us complimentary

Summer Course Syllabus

Session 1: William F. Buckley Jr. and American Conservatism
Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Guest Discussion Leader: Lee Edwards, PhD, Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at The Heritage Foundation

For almost sixty years, William F. Buckley Jr. was the voice of a conservatism that managed to be both sober and combative, committed to permanent verities, and dismissive of a corrupt liberal orthodoxy. He brought style and intellectual penetration to conservatism as it emerged as a coherent movement after World War II. National Review, founded by Buckley and a cohort of friends in 1955, was—and remains—the flagship journal of a thoughtful American conservatism. This first session is dedicated to the thought and journalism of WFB and his role in shaping modern American conservatism.

READINGS: Six WFB columns from the anthology Athwart History, Lee Edwards’ What is Conservatism?, Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind, Friedrich Hayek’s Political Economy

Session 2: Burke, Prudence & the Spirit of Conservatism
Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Guest Discussion Leader: Brian C. Anderson, PhD, Editor, City Journal at the Manhattan Institute

The great eighteenth-century Anglo-Irish statesman and political philosopher Edmund Burke was in important respects the father of modern conservatism. A champion of the American cause and a panegyrist to English liberty, he saw the great evils at work in the French Revolution and in modern ideology more generally. An evocative writer and rhetorician, he defended reform, not revolution, and what can be called a “politics of prudence.” He was the enemy par excellence of abstraction in politics, of an appeal to abstract ideas that ignores circumstances, the wisdom of the ages, and settled tradition.

READINGS: Selections from Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, Yuval Levin’s The Great Debate, and Friedrich Hayek’s Political Economy.

Session 3: The Founders’ Constitution
Date: Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Guest Discussion Leader: John Yoo, JD, Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley; Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution

The United States is that rare country whose nationhood is coextensive with her constitutional arrangements. The “philosophy” of the American Constitution is laid out with remarkable learning, penetration, and insight in the Federalist Papers (1787–1788), written by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay. Any thoughtful American conservatism will aim to “conserve” the constitutional heritage bequeathed by our constitutional Founders.

READINGS: Federalist #10, 51, and 84; Charles Kesler’s Introduction to the Signet Classic edition of The Federalist Papers; and Richard Brookhiser’s Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington, his James Madison, and his Alexander Hamilton, American.

Session 4: Economic Freedom & Political Freedom
Date: Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Guest Discussion Leader: Bobbi Herzberg, PhD, Distinguished Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program in Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center

“Economic arrangements play a dual role in the promotion of a free society. On the one hand, freedom in economic arrangements is itself a component of freedom broadly understood, so economic freedom is an end in itself. In the second place, economic freedom is also an indispensable means toward the achievement of political freedom” (Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom).

READINGS: Selections from The Essence of Hayek and Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom.

Session 5: Conservatism, Democracy & Foreign Policy
Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Guest Discussion Leader: John Hillen, PhD, CEO at EverWatch

Americans have grown war-weary and tired of military engagements abroad. Yet America has vital interests in and an abiding commitment to the survival of Western civilization. The readings in this session explore the necessity for American foreign policy to combine spiritedness and moderation and to avoid the twin pitfalls of democratic crusadism and escape from our responsibilities in the world.

READINGS: Selections from John Fonte’s Sovereignty or Submission, Henry Nau’s Conservative Internationalism, and Nathan Tarcov’s Principle and Prudence in Foreign Policy

Session 6: Mediating Structures between the State & the Individual
Date: Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Guest Discussion Leader: Daniel J. Mahoney, PhD, Professor of Political Science and Augustinian Boulanger Chair at Assumption College

The best conservative thought opposes radical individualism (which erodes the “mediating structures” between the state and the individual) in the name of those associations and groupings that give shape and form to human liberty. Alexis de Tocqueville famously praised Americans for their prodigious “art of association,” their remarkable capacity to form voluntary associations between the state and the individual. Contemporary conservative thinkers such as Robert Nisbet, Richard John Neuhaus, and Peter Berger have drawn on Tocqueville’s wisdom to show how “mediating structures” can renew community and “empower people,” and in the process act as a check on state power.

READINGS: “To Empower People: The Role of Mediating Structures in Public Policy” by Peter L. Berger and Richard John Neuhaus and “On the Use that Americans Make of Association in Civil Life” by Alexis de Tocqueville.