Announcement: Me @ University of San Diego

For Power Line readers in the San Diego area, have I got the deal for you! And it’s free.

Next Tuesday I’ll be delivering the annual Joan E. Bowles-James Madison Distinguished Lecture at the University of San Diego, at 6 pm. And as suggested above, it is free and open to the public. You can get all of the location details and such at this link (which you should pass along to your curious and interested friends).

I’ll be speaking on the topic, “Justice Without Hyphens: The Eroding Foundations of Law.” It has some overlap with the lecture I am delivering at Yale today, but I doubt there are many bicoastal Power Line readers who would have a chance to attend both. And in any case, I am modifying it a bit for Tuesday, to apply the main line of argument to the domain of law and legal education. Here’s the summary description:

Hyphenated versions of justice abound these days. “Social justice” is now finds parallel variations such as “climate justice,” “racial justice,” and “gender justice.” To the extent these categories ground themselves in subjective critiques of language and “power structures,” they represent a serious challenge to the foundation and practice of law and politics. This lecture will argue for a return to the idea of plain, unhyphenated justice, without the obfuscations of today’s “critical theory.”

In case you’re wondering—yes, I am pondering making my next book about this subject, and both of these lectures are unveiling all new material. And for readers who aren’t able to come, not to worry: I’ll likely be able to offer one or both lectures are podcasts down the road.

As a teaser, here’s another sample from the text that I’m still refining:

Whenever I take on a large body of controversial doctrine [like “postmodernism”], especially one toward which I might be ill-disposed, I try to begin with the disposition Ronald Reagan once used to define an optimist. An optimist, Reagan said, is the person who, when seeing a large pile of manure, says, “There just has to be a pony in there somewhere.” . . .

And without giving away too much of the plot twists and surprises, the conclusion is that after shoveling away huge piles of postmodernist manure, you find only an invisible unicorn.


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