ACTA mourns the sudden death of Peter Augustine Lawler, a true friend to the liberal arts. Dr. Lawler was a distinguished and prolific author and editor, and an outstanding teacher, public servant, and public intellectual.
Just this year, he had assumed the role of editor at Modern Age, the journal of conservative thought founded by Russell Kirk. He had long served as executive editor of Perspectives on Political Science, providing an essential forum for political scientists to write about political philosophy, popular culture, religion, and contemporary public policy. He was committed to keeping the field of political science connected to the real concerns of political and civic life.
Dr. Lawler himself wrote on an extremely wide range of topics. In addition to his many books, including Modern and American Dignity and Aliens in America: The Strange Truth About Our Souls, he was the author of well more than 100 articles, book chapters, and reviews on topics that ranged from the Shakespeare’s Tempest and Tocqueville’s Democracy in America to the Catholic intellectual tradition to films and disco. He was a prolific blogger, notably at Postmodern Conservative and most recently at the NRO Corner. He brought his deep learning on many topics to serve the public when President George W. Bush appointed him to the President’s Council on Bioethics, on which he served from 2004 until 2009.
Dr. Lawler, who was the Dana Professor in Government at Berry College, was a beloved undergraduate professor and a mentor to many young scholars. His friends remember his unflaggingly convivial and cheerful company.
The ACTA staff extends our deepest sympathy to his family, and we honor his many contributions to the liberal arts and public life.