Andrew Kern

Andrew Kern is the founder and president of The CiRCE Institute and the co-author of the book, Classical Education: the Movement Sweeping America

Andrew Kern Feb 7, 2022

The Aeneid is permeated by images of raging fire, fury, storms, and chaos. The whole epic poem foregrounds this anti-element as the unavoidable cost of Roman authority and mission. Indeed, the Roman mission is essentially to overcome chaos, especially in society.

Thus Virgil has the shadow of Aeneas' father say to him (or rather, to their descendants), in the underworld:

But Romans, don't forget that world dominion
Is your great craft: peace, and then peaceful customs;
Sparing the conquered, striking down the haughty.

Andrew Kern Jan 28, 2022

In my previous two posts, I contended that human nature gives rise to three forms of education, which I then presented examples of in the US, Judea in the time of Christ, and ancient Greece. You can see the same pattern played out in China, India, the Muslim world, and any other civilization that lasted more than a couple of generations. 

I ended my last post by claiming that something happened to classical education such that today a renewal is needed. So what happened? 

Andrew Kern Jan 18, 2022

I ended part 1 of this series suggesting there are three forms of education in all but the most temporary societies. I added that without all three, a society can't survive.

In this post, I want to introduce the three to you and give three historical epochs when they can be seen rather vividly. 

Andrew Kern Dec 9, 2021

Starting a new year makes us particularly conscious of time. Time makes us conscious of limitations. And, contrary to the spirit of the age (at least prior to 2020), this is good, because limitations allow for definitions.

When we pretend we don't live on a calendar that comes to an end and has a beginning, we try to pretend in turn that we are immortal beings whose angelic imaginations can achieve any ends. That's how we fall.

Andrew Kern Dec 6, 2021

I once read somebody who called Elie Wiesel "a professional whiner." I remember thinking, "Wow, that is a disproportionate response." Or at least, "Man, that's not fair."

All my life, I have relied on people with more insight, skill, and wisdom than I have to help me maneuver my way through this confusing, over-informed, unprincipled world. I'm not ashamed of that because I have no choice. You do it too, and so does everybody else. It arises from that world-famous "human condition" you hear so much about. 

Andrew Kern Sep 21, 2021

If we read tribally, we short circuit the path to wisdom. 

If we read obsequiously, we enervate ourselves on that path. 

What I mean is this: if my first question when I read the quoted paragraph above is, "Who wrote it?", I am asking a perfectly natural question, one that is rooted in my desire to be secure with my tribe. I am not, please note, using the word tribe negatively. I am using it as a matter of unavoidable fact. Perhaps I should have used the words "as a member" or "communally," but I wanted to indicate different emphases. 

Andrew Kern Sep 17, 2021

There is in human beings a charming and naive desire to create new things ex nihilo, to go back to the garden as it were, to start again as though we have not already done anything good or bad. 

In part, this drive arises from the presence of the image of God in us. He creates ex nihilo. We are His image. So we want to be able to create ex nihilo. And who knows, maybe there will come a time when we can. Maybe there is even some relative sense in which we can now. 

Andrew Kern Sep 2, 2021

If, as I have argued, following Lewis, MacIntyre, and the Christian and classical traditions, what our children read and how is just as important as our global standing as a nation; and if it is true that we have been debunking our children/selves for generations, the inevitable question must be confronted:

What should our children read?

The follow-up question might be even more important:

How should our children read? 

Andrew Kern Aug 25, 2021

As I write, Afghanistan has fallen and Bernard Lewis's ghost is calling to us from Kabul, reminding us that he warned us as far back as 2002 that, in the eyes of the world,

 America is harmless as an enemy, treacherous as a friend.

We should be troubled. 

Would you care to guess who said the following and when? 

Andrew Kern Aug 23, 2021

In a previous article, Lewis's Accusation, I quoted C.S. Lewis from The Abolition of Man: