'Miss Manners' to lead Olin Center lecture seriesC. Everett Koop, James Webb also will speak this quarter A diverse set of public figures and academics -- including "Miss Manners," C. Everett Koop and George Will -- will discuss the moral condition of American life in "The Virtues of Modern Democracy," this year's lecture series organized by the John M. Olin Center for Inquiry Into the Theory and Practice of Democracy.
Leon Kass, the Addie Clark Harding Professor in the College and an organizer of the Olin Center lectures, said the series will examine the virtues most necessary to sustain modern liberal democracy in both public and private life. Speakers will consider such topics as character traits needed for political leadership, habits required for a stable marriage and strong family life and virtues that foster a flourishing civil society.
"There is an increasing recognition that, while a free society is devoted to securing the liberty of individuals, the exercise of liberty, even when constrained by laws protecting the liberties of others, does not necessarily lead to the virtues needed to preserve free institutions," Kass said.
Judith Martin, who writes the nationally syndicated "Miss Manners" column, will open the series with "The Oldest Virtue," at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, in Mandel Hall. Martin, who was a reporter and critic at the Washington Post before launching her syndicated column in 1978, is the author of several books, including Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (1982).
James Webb, novelist and former U.S. secretary of the Navy, will present the second lecture, a discussion of fairness in a multicultural society, at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, in Social Sciences 122. Webb, who was a rifle platoon and company commander with the Marines in Vietnam, was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star medal and two Bronze Star medals for heroism. He has written four novels, including Fields of Fire (1978), a book about the Vietnam War. Following the war, Webb served in a series of government appointments, including that of U.S. secretary of the Navy in 1987 and 1988. He is president of a film production company and has traveled extensively as a journalist, screenwriter and businessman in East Asia. He is currently making a movie about Vietnam.
C. Everett Koop, surgeon general of the United States from 1981 to 1989, will speak at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, in Social Sciences 122. Koop was surgeon-in-chief at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia from 1948 to 1981 and served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery. During his tenure as surgeon general, he brought public attention to the issues of smoking, diet and environmental health hazards, as well as to the importance of immunization. He is senior scholar of the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth.
The series will continue with lectures by syndicated columnist George Will, Feb 1.; historian Gertrude Himmelfarb, recipient of the National Endowment of the Humanities' 1991 Jefferson Lecturer award, the nation's highest award to a humanist, Feb. 22; Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, April 5; and James Q. Wilson, James Collins Professor of Management at UCLA, April 26.
In addition to presenting the 1994-95 series "The Virtues of Modern Democracy," the Olin Center will offer a concluding lecture this fall to its 1993-94 lecture series on the legacy of Leo Strauss. Heinrich Meier, director of the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung in Munich and editor of the German edition of Strauss' works, will present "The Intention of the Philosopher and the History of Philosophy" at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, in Social Sciences 122. r