We are “born as crooked creatures prone to waywardness and sin,” Yuval Levin writes in his new book, A Time to Build, originally delivered as the Charles E. Test Lectures at Princeton. As a result we continuously “require moral and social formation” to refine and develop our defective characters. What we have largely forgotten, Levin argues, is that institutions play a part in these processes of soul formation: They “structure our perceptions and interactions, and as a result they structure us. They form our habits, our expectations, and ultimately our character.”
But our institutions are breaking down. In an age that …
This article appears as “Twilight of the Institutions” in the February 24, 2020, print edition of National Review.
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