Lyceum: the Downfall of Ethics in American Politics

On Nov. 2-3, Dr. Robin Lovin, a Christian ethicist of Princeton University, was on campus to speak as a guest lecturer during a two part lyceum on the downfall of ethics in politics. On Wednesday night, Dr. Lovin spoke on how ethics have gradually become separated from politics. According to Lovin, this process began with the Protestant Reformation and culminated in the 2016 Election.
Lovin is a published author in the subject of political ethics. He’s traced the separation of politics and ethics through a system he described as the division of power and truth. In addition to this description of modern political life, Lovin asserted that this system was “a foundation of the American Revolution.”
However, Lovin also argued that “a lot of the reasons why we’re dissatisfied with our politics, are specifically because we’ve become so polarized.” The very thing that we were founded on has become what is apparently causing us the most dissatisfaction.
Lovin touched on key events about the history of ethics in politics and its downfall. Such events included the American and French Revolutions, the fall of the Soviet Union and the 2016 Election. Lovin framed the problem as a global democratic issue and not just an American one, “The problem with politics across the world: People don’t feel like they can discuss the things they care about.”
Lovin ended the first night with a final saying, “Ethics became impossible not in the sense that people were no longer able to believe in them, but in that they were unable to act on them.”
The second part of Lovin’s Lyceum was on Thursday night, wherein he presented proposed solutions to the problems that he’d presented Wednesday. In addition to his two Lyceums, Lovin spoke on two religion classes; Church and World and History of Christianity.
Lovin was brought to campus by the Thomas Staley Foundation which brings Christian scholars to campus to lecture, usually in conjunction with a course currently being taught according to Emory & Henry professor Dr. Joseph Reiff.

– Ethan King

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