In The Know

Is institutional renewal possible in a post-pandemic world? Yuval Levin discusses on Public Discourse

There is broad discontentment with our public and democratic institutions in the western world (and Canada is certainly no exception to this phenomenon).

But what will these institutions look like emerging from the pandemic where they have had to adapt, just the same as us, in order to survive? Yuval Levin, director of Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute and author of the recent book A Time to Build, speaks with Daniel E. Burns of Public Discourse to review the arguments of his book in light of all that has changed since it was released in January of 2020.

The discussion touches on the state of institutions, the difference between communion and communication, what conservative populism gets right (and more importantly what it gets wrong), and the deranging impact that social media has on not only ourselves but on society as a whole.

While his outlook is tempered with a good dose of gloom, Levin is sure to include a little bit of hopefulness for the future, hopefulness grounded in the sober recognition of where renewal is possible and how we can achieve it. Pessimism is permissible, despair is not. 

“I’m a conservative, and I’m not an optimist. But I am hopeful. And I do think that the hard work that it would take for us to renew ourselves — and I don’t mean a social revolution that changes everything, but renewal, in pockets of virtue that our society can absolutely enable and sustain — I think that work is achievable,” said Levin.

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