The Corner

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‘The Lost History of Western Civilization’ on Video

Visitors look at the statue of George Washington at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., November 10, 2019. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

My new book, The Lost History of Western Civilization, falsifies “deconstructionist” take-downs of the Western tradition and shows how the postmodern academy’s troubling agenda is at the root of our polarized politics. (You can download the entire report as a free pdf here.)

The book was debuted at a conference at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy at the end of January. Video of that conference is available here.

Several esteemed academics participated. Many readers will know Wilfred McClay, University of Oklahoma historian and author of Land of Hope, now the best treatment of American history for those dissatisfied with typically left-biased and unreadable textbooks, not to mention materials based on the misguided 1619 Project. McClay’s conference keynote address is here.

The conference also featured a panel of academics anchored by Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize winning American historian and Emeritus Professor of American history at Oxford University. Howe is a dean of the history profession and is celebrated by academics across-the-board. By no means is he a conservative. I’m honored that Howe was willing to participate in the conference, and to provide a blurb for the book. Frankly, I hope I haven’t gotten him into too much trouble with his colleagues.

Also participating on the Lost History conference panel were Susan Hanssen, Chair of the History Department at the University of Dallas, and Mark Bauerlein, Professor of English at Emory University, senior editor at First Things, and a prolific commentator on politics and culture. Bauerlein’s passionate remarks were a highlight of the conference. The panel ran overtime and many hands in the audience remained raised when the proceedings were finally called to a halt. You can see video of the panel with Howe, Hanssen, and Bauerlein here.

For a quick summary of my core argument in the book, you can watch my 36-minute talk here. (My talk, sans introduction and Q&A, runs from 19:06–54:54.)

It’s no coincidence that a conference on “The Lost History of Western Civilization” was held at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. PSPP is one of those rare institutions that takes its commitment to viewpoint diversity seriously. If you graduate from Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy, you will know your own political perspective, but also that of its critics. PSPP’s curriculum and overall approach were shaped by the great James Q. Wilson, whose legacy is very much alive today at Pepperdine. Pepperdine School of Public Policy is swiftly becoming the go-to venue for academic conservatives. They know they’ll get both access and a fair shake at PSPP. Pete Peterson, Dean of the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, talks about the school’s curriculum, philosophy, and how those relate to Western Civilization, in the first five minutes of this video.

Peterson is followed by Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars, organizer of the conference and publisher of The Lost History of Western Civilization.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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