Gerald R. Ford Leadership Forum

Reflection Essays

The Biggest Left/Right Division is Also the Smallest

by Jeff Polet Back when I was an undergraduate, one of my professors recommended to me a book by the psychologist Julian Jaynes. Jaynes’ book was my first introduction to the idea of a “bicameral mind,” identifying the distinctive functions of the two hemispheres of the brain. More importantly, it drew my attention to the …

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What Kind of Intellectual Diversity?

by Jeff Polet I’ll admit it: I’m biased. I attended a religiously-affiliated undergraduate college, and then went to a Catholic graduate school, and spent my career teaching at schools with religious missions. I’ve never studied or worked on a state university campus, although I’ve talked to friends who have. I have nothing against those schools, …

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Filial Piety

by Jeff Polet My friend James Matthew Wilson recently wrote an essay over at Public Discourse that highlights an essential issue we rarely spend time discussing: the need to belong. Sadly, our ideas about the importance of belonging, a deep engagement that satisfies a fundamental human need, get eclipsed by our comparatively thin and superficial …

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Whither Brexit?

by Jeff Polet In all the handwringing over so-called “populism,” much can be gleaned about our current politics when certain groups see their inferiors as exercising the franchise in the wrong way, meaning that the inferiors are pursuing their own interests rather than those of their more obviously enlightened counterparts. I haven’t watched television news …

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Is It Time to Panic About Civics and History Education?

by Jeff Polet This panic-inducing headline from a recent story in the NYTimes found analogues in most stories that reported on the recent release of national civics and history tests administered to 8th graders. An accompanying statement released by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona chalked up the decline to the ways in which the pandemic affected …

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Walker Percy and Southern Stoicism

by Jeff Polet Many of our cultural battles are intensified by our lack of imagination. We seldom display the sympathetic ability to put ourselves in our opponent’s shoes, meaning we typically don’t see them as moral actors but as immoral ones, forgetting that they don’t see themselves the same way. Surely there are persons whose …

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