During this lecture, Patrick Deneen envisioned the prospects for an ennobled aristoi and a more refined populace. He at once acknowledged the persistence of class and inequality even in a democratic age (denying a path forward lies in a growing sympathy for socialism), and proposed that only a well-formed elite can support a humane condition of the populace, and only a well-formed populace can fruitfully restrain the hubris of a liberal elite and even orient them toward virtue. Through such a mixed regime, practices supporting a common good might emerge, correcting the core weakness of a liberal order designed to forestall such a possibility.
Patrick Deneen is Professor of Political Science and holds the David A. Potenziani Memorial College Chair of Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His previous books include Why Liberalism Failed, The Odyssey of Political Theory, Democratic Faith, and a number of edited volumes. He lives in South Bend, IN.