We are living in an age of unprecedented upheaval. The future of Western culture is uncertain. America’s economic and political vitality are more fragile than ever. The preservation of tradition is far from guaranteed.
Many have observed that we are living through a world historical moment of which Hegel spoke: a time when many of the traditional assumptions about the shape and future of culture are suddenly in play. As The New Criterion embarks on its fourth decade of publication, the magazine commemorates its commitment to the civilizing values of informed criticism with the publication of Future Tense: The Lessons of Culture in an Age of Upheaval.
Compiling the writings of some of the greatest essayists of our time, Future Tense examines this pivotal period through a variety of lenses. Beginning with a meditation on memorials after the 9/11 attacks (Michael J. Lewis), the essays address patriotism in relation to Pericles (Victor Davis Hanson), twenty-first century American pride and leadership (Andrew Roberts), the future of religion in America (David Bentley Hart), and the unwinding of the welfare state (Kevin D. Williamson). Continuing this arc, pieces examine self-knowledge and modern technology (Anthony Daniels), the cultural capital of museums (James Panero), and the difficulties of making law in the modern world (Andrew C. McCarthy). In its penultimate essay, the book explores the possibility of a forthcoming political revolution (James Piereson), then closes with a reflection of culture’s role in the economy of life and the fragility of civilization (Roger Kimball).
Taken together, these prominent writers demonstrate an acute understanding of the value of Western thought as well as the challenges it faces. Future Tense is an engaging discourse on the prospects of society and an important collection for anyone concerned with the longevity of traditional culture.