Making Men Moral: 30th Anniversary Conference

Thursday, November 30, 2023 | 12:00 PM to 5:30 PM ET
Friday, December 1, 2023 | 9:00 AM to 5:15 PM ET

AEI, Auditorium
1789 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036

Thirty years ago, Robert P. George’s Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality (Clarendon Press, 1993) challenged the consensus that justice requires governmental neutrality on contested questions of morality. Dr. George argued that moral neutrality in politics is impossible, that a proper concern for public morality can be a legitimate basis for laws and policies, and that natural law offered a more secure foundation for civil liberties than “neutralist” liberalism did.

How did Making Men Moral shape decades of debates about civil liberties and public morality? As these debates have evolved, how is Making Men Moral relevant going forward?

Please join AEI, the Ethics & Public Policy Center, Pepperdine University, and the Project on Constitutional Originalism and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition at Catholic University for a conference to mark Making Men Moral’s enduring influence on public policy.


Thursday, November 30

12:00 p.m.—Lunch

12:45 p.m.—Opening Remarks:

J. Joel Alicea, Nonresident Fellow, AEI

12:50 p.m.—30 Years of Making Men Moral: A Conversation with Robert P. George

Ryan T. Anderson, President, Ethics & Public Policy Center
Robert P. George, Nonresident Senior Fellow, AEI

1:45 p.m.—Q&A

2:00 p.m.—Break

2:15 p.m.—Panel I: Making Men Moral’s Challenge to Liberalism

John Peter DiIulio, James N. Perry Scholar of Philosophy, Politics, and Society, University of Pennsylvania
Yuval Levin, Director, Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies, AEI
Micah Watson, Paul Henry Chair in Christianity and Politics, Calvin University

Ramesh Ponnuru, Nonresident Senior Fellow, AEI

3:30 p.m.—Q&A

3:45 p.m.—Break

4:00 p.m.—Panel II: Social Science and Public Morality

Mark Regnerus, Professor, University of Texas at Austin
Ian Rowe, Senior Fellow, AEI
W. Bradford Wilcox, Nonresident Senior Fellow, AEI

Byron Johnson, Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences, Baylor University

5:15 p.m.—Q&A

5:30 p.m.—Adjournment

Friday, December 1

9:00 a.m.—Opening Remarks:

Pete Peterson, Dean, Pepperdine School of Public Policy

9:05 a.m.—Panel III: Civil Society and Subsidiarity: Challenges to Making Men Moral

Timothy P. Carney, Senior Fellow, AEI
Eugene F. Rivers III, Founding Director, Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies
Ryan Streeter, Executive Director for Research, Civitas Institute

Alexandra DeSanctis, Fellow, Ethics & Public Policy Center

10:15 a.m.—Q&A

10:30 a.m.—Break

10:45 a.m.—Panel IV: “Liberalism”: Is There a Baby in the Bathwater?

Samuel Gregg, Distinguished Fellow in Political Economy, American Institute for Economic Research
V. Bradley Lewis, Associate Professor, Catholic University of America
Christopher O. Tollefsen, Professor, University of South Carolina

Christopher Wolfe, Distinguished Research Scholar, University of Dallas

12:00 p.m.—Q&A

12:15 p.m.—Break

12:30 p.m.—Lunchtime Conversation

Hadley Arkes, Director, James Wilson Institute
O. Carter Snead, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame
Andrew T. Walker, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics and Public Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Ryan T. Anderson, President, Ethics & Public Policy Center

2:00 p.m.—Panel V: Civil Liberties or Public Morality?

Sherif Girgis, Associate Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame
Daniel Mark, Assistant Professor, Villanova University
Melissa Moschella, Associate Professor, Catholic University of America

Elizabeth Kirk, Director, Center for Law & the Human Person

3:15 p.m.—Q&A

3:30 p.m.—Break

3:45 p.m.—Panel VI: Making Men Moral and Constitutional Interpretation

J. Joel Alicea, Nonresident Fellow, AEI
Marc O. DeGirolami, Cary Fields Professor of Law, St. John’s University School of Law
Steven D. Smith, Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, University of San Diego

Thomas B. Griffith, Former Circuit Judge, US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit

5:00 p.m.—Q&A

5:15 p.m.—Adjournment