Welcome to the Center for Western Civilization, a block from UC Berkeley.
Ignorance is the greatest threat to our civilization. Departments of Liberal Arts are shrinking in our major universities. Courses in the Western Tradition, history, literature, art, poetry, philosophy, and ethics are no longer required. Few students have enough understanding of the origins and principles of Western Civilization to maintain or advance our democratic institutions. The absence of this critical knowledge threatens the future of our personal freedoms.
It is our responsibility to support every effort to keep the lights of freedom burning before we descend into darkness.
Located near the University of California, Berkeley, the Center will host symposiums, retreats, lectures, meetings, and provide housing for interested students from home and abroad. It will be a place to research, discuss, and further our understanding of the institutions and moral values of Western Civilization.
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QUOTE FOR JANUARY 2023
“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely, according to conscience, above all liberties.”
John Milton, in “Areopagitica,” 1644
QUOTE FOR DECEMBER 2022
“A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both.”
James Madison, Jr., Founding Father and Fourth President of the United States, 1809-1817
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QUOTE FOR NOVEMBER 2022
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QUOTE FOR OCTOBER 2022
“Democratism can perhaps best be summed up as the belief that democracy is real or genuine only to the degree that it reflects an idealized conception of the popular will… This book argues that the modern Western world is enchanted with an imaginative vision of democracy that at times is almost indistinguishable from religious belief. And like religious belief, it has its apostles, who define the democratic orthodoxy, and also its heretics, who must be managed and censored.”
Emily B. Finley. The Ideology of Democratism (p. viii-ix). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
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QUOTE FOR SEPTEMBER 2022
“I… followed him onto the terrace of our [New York] twenty-fourth-floor apartment. Thick black smoke was boiling up from the North Tower of the World Trade Center, six blocks away. The column of smoke stretched as wide as the building itself and rose high in the bright blue sky before being swept away by the wind.” 8:56 a.m., September 11, 2001
Christina Ray Stanton, Out of the Shadow of 9/11: An Inspiring Tale of Escape and Transformation (p. 1). (New York: Loving All Nations Press, 2019)
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QUOTE FOR AUGUST 2022
“The First Amendment is dying under a purportedly well-meaning law to protect people from ‘harmful’ words and to make them feel safe. But what’s actually going on is that the ruling elite is using the law to silence criticism so it can keep its grip on power… The horrifying truth is that here in the U.S., we now have a powerful cadre of politicians, academics, and tech leaders who are just as hostile to freedom of speech as the Soviets were. In my long career in the law, I never thought I’d see a concerted attack on the First Amendment, but it’s gaining strength… Debate and the flow of information are being curtailed on the silly and transparently political pretext that words are equivalent to violence.”
Alexander Oistrakh, son of Russian immigrants, a character in George Leef’s compelling and extraordinary novel of ideas, The Awakening of Jennifer Van Arnsdale: A Political Fable for Our Time (New York/Nashville: Bombardier Books/Post Hill Press, 2022, 218-20).
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QUOTE FOR MAY 2022
“To defend a country you need an army. But to defend a free society you need schools. You need families and an educational system in which ideals are passed on from one generation to the next, and never lost, or despaired of, or obscured. There has never been a more profound understanding of freedom. It is not difficult, Moses was saying, to gain liberty, but to sustain it is the work of a hundred generations. Forget it and you lose it.”
Sacks, Rabbi Jonathan. Exodus: The Book of Redemption (Covenant & Conversation 2) (p. 78). Kindle Edition
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QUOTE FOR APRIL 2022
“But we must take solace and find strength in the sacrifice and bravery of our early revolutionaries—Joseph Warren, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Thomas Paine, to name a few; and become energized and inspirited by the wisdom and genius of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and many others. While they have been smeared and degraded by American Marxists and their ilk, we must continue to celebrate them, be invigorated by them, and remember that together they defeated the most powerful military force on earth and founded the greatest and most extraordinary nation in the history of mankind.”
Levin, Mark R. American Marxism (p. 243). Threshold Editions. Kindle Edition.
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QUOTE FOR MARCH 2022
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
The United States Declaration of Independence, 1776
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QUOTE FOR FEBRUARY 2022
“The real division today, the one that truly matters, is between those who welcome repudiation or negation and those who see it for what it is, the suicide of what is left of the West. Nihilism is the enemy, now more than ever. Against the regnant obfuscation of the essential and necessary ties between truth and liberty, we must recover a philosophical faith rooted in the clear distinction between truth and falsehood, good and evil. As Raymond Aron argued in 1978, it is a mistake to identify freedom with vulgar hedonism. In a free and decent society, all men and women should be given wide scope to choose their own way in life, but not to invent their own arbitrary tablets of good and evil. That is the path of political perdition and spiritual self-destruction. By recovering a sense that human beings are ensouled persons, we just might renew the understanding of freedom and responsibility passed on to us by an imperfect but morally estimable civilization.”
Daniel J. Mahoney in “Lead Us Not Out of Civilization” in National Review, December 27, 2021
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QUOTE FOR JANUARY 2022
“Since the founding of this great nation, a God-blessed America has offered the hope of liberty to the world. In more recent years, we have come to realize that should our experiment in self-governance fail, there would be no other nation on Earth that could fill the void left in its wake as the defender of such freedom. Never before had any nation been founded to safeguard the rights of the individual, which changed the course of human history from brute force dictating propriety to recognition that every individual has value…”
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QUOTE FOR DECEMBER 2021
“A free, legally equal, and politically independent citizenry, when translated to the modern American experience, means that citizens of the United States should not follow any laws other than those authorized by their own elected representatives. Unelected regulators can issue edicts galore, but they should not necessarily have the force of law. No college administrator should decide on Monday that the First Amendment no longer applies on his campus. No mayor can claim on Tuesday that federal immigration law no longer exists in her city.
No one American deserves greater deference under the law than any other — not on the basis of race, class, gender, birth, or money; not on the basis of historic claims to justify contemporary advantage. Police and prosecutors arrest and charge lawbreakers, but not, like the pigs in Animal Farm, some lawbreakers more than others.
No senator or president bestows anything on an American, because he is a servant, not a master, of the people. American citizens believe that they do not owe privileges such as freedom and consensual governance to any particular political party or Democratic or Republican leader. American citizens, bearing natural and inalienable rights bestowed by a supreme deity, are accountable only to themselves.
Citizens differ from visitors, aliens, and residents passing through who are not rooted inside borders where a constitution and its laws reign supreme. For citizenship to work, the vast majority of residents must be citizens. But to become citizens, residents must be invited in on the condition of giving up their own past loyalties for those of their new hosts.”
Victor Davis Hanson, The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America (New York: Basic Books, 2021, 3)
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QUOTE FOR NOVEMBER 2021:
“I have come to believe that the very modes of life and thinking that strike most people in the West as antiquated or “ limiting ” can liberate us, while the Western dream of autonomy and choice without limits is, in fact, a prison; that the quest to define ourselves on our own is a kind of El Dorado, driving to madness the many who seek after it; that for our best, highest selves to soar, other parts of us must be tied down, enclosed, limited, bound.”
Sohrab Ahmari, The Unbroken Thread, Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos (New York: Penguin Random House, 2021), 3. Sohrab Ahmari is the op-ed editor of the New York Post, a columnist for First Things, and a contributing editor of the Catholic Herald.
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QUOTE FOR OCTOBER 2021:
“America could be on the verge of collapse right now unless we collectively wake up to reality and take a stand to stop tyranny. The Hegelian dialectic is the framework for guiding people’s thoughts and actions into conflicts that lead them to a predetermined solution.”
—Michele R. Weslander Quaid, in the Epoch Times, September 21, 2021
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Michele R. Weslander Quaid, president of Sunesis Nexus, is a certified professional coach, consultant, and speaker with 25 years of career experience in the national security community. She was recruited into government to lead innovation and transformational change in defense and intelligence following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and served in various senior executive roles including the first deputy Chief Information Officer for the Director of National Intelligence.
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QUOTE FOR SEPTEMBER 2021
“Twenty years ago, America fought a brief and successful military campaign to oust from power the people who had enabled a terrorist organization to kill as many American citizens as have ever died at the hands of a foreign power in a single day in the nation’s history. A month shy of two decades later, the U.S. pleaded with that same power not to harm its soldiers, its citizens and their allies as it scrambled to complete a chaotic and humiliating retreat that left that former enemy—and American adversaries everywhere—immeasurably stronger.”
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QUOTE FOR AUGUST 2021
“The Founding Fathers of the United States saw in mob rule the greatest danger to their nascent system—and they put in place governmental checks and balances in order to protect individual rights from the frenzied whims of the riotous mass. The Constitution was designed to check ambition against ambition, passion against passion.”
Ben Shapiro, The Authoritarian Moment, Broadside e-books, 2021, Kindle Edition, 5.
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QUOTE FOR JULY 2021
“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”
President Calvin Coolidge (July 4,1872-1933, 30th President of the United States), Speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 5, 1926. Quoted in Land of Hope by Wilfred M. McClay, 292-3. (Encounter Books).
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QUOTE FOR JUNE 2021
“In one generation America has been bewitched by ideas and ideals that owe nothing to 1776 and the American Revolution, and everything to 1789 and the French Revolution. In short, partly through design and partly through drift, America appears to be abandoning the ideals of the American Revolution for ideas that are disastrous not only to America but to freedom and to the future of humanity.”
Os Guinness, THE MAGNA CARTA OF HUMANITY, p.3, InterVarsity Press, 2021.
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QUOTE FOR MAY 2021
“An advanced society functions by creating a series of institutions, telling them what it wants them to do, and funding them to do it. Institutions like the police, fire departments, courts and schools do the jobs society creates them to do. But one American institution—higher education—has decided to repurpose itself. It has set aside the job given to it by society and substituted a different one… a destructive and long since discredited political ideology is now using colleges and universities to gain a degree of influence over society that it could never have achieved at the ballot box. That’s election interference on a scale not remotely matched by anything that was alleged in the 2020 election.”
— John Ellis in the Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2021. John Ellis is professor emeritus of German literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz and author of “The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It happened, the Damage It Does, and What Can Be Done.”
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QUOTE FOR APRIL 2021
“No people will tamely surrender their liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and virtue is preserved.”
Samuel Adams (1722-1803), American Founding Father, 4th Governor of Massachusetts (1794-1797)
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QUOTE FOR MARCH 2021
“For most of its history, America was a nation characterized by reverence as much as by love of liberty. Like the Israelites at Sinai, the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower, seeking to serve God, covenantally entered into a civil body politic even before they hit land or had an economy. Our Constitution is not neutral as between religion and irreligion. Although, unlike other nations, we have no established religion, our most fundamental right, enshrined in the First Amendment, protects religion’s free exercise.”
Leon Kass, in an essay adapted from his new book, FOUNDING GOD’S NATION: READING EXODUS (Yale University Press, 2021), Wall Street Journal, Saturday Essay, January 9-10, 2021
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QUOTE FOR FEBRUARY 2021
“Neither America nor any other nation has perfectly lived up to the universal truths of equality, liberty, justice, and government by consent… But no nation before America ever dared state those truths as the formal basis for its politics, and none has strived harder, or done more, to achieve them… Historical revisionism that tramples honest scholarship and historical truth, shames Americans by highlighting only the sins of their ancestors, and teaches claims of systemic racism that can only be eliminated by more discrimination, is an ideology intended to manipulate opinions more than educate minds.”
The 1776 Commission Report, 2020, quoted in The Epoch Times.
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QUOTE FOR JANUARY 2021
“For the past four years, potted histories have warned about the rise of fascism in the U.S., but the real danger is the transformation of ‘tolerance’ into an ideology with its own courst, informers and punishments, all of them reminiscent of the Soviet Union… One of the pillars of the Soviet Union was a controlled press in which all coverage was organized to confirm a mendacious ideology.”
David Satter, author of Age of Delirium: the Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union and a member of the academic advisory board of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. This quote was taken from the Wall Street Journal’s article, “Soviet Politics, American Style”, December 23, 2020