Build Them Up, Don’t Let Them Down
Philip A. Wallach
Institutions, writes Yuval Levin in A Time to Build, are “something in our society is in need of . . . but isn’t asking for.” In an age of populist anger and performative outrage, Levin argues that institutions, properly understood as molds that shape their members rather than as mere platforms for self-expression, hold the key to renewal.
Considering examples like Congress, the elite university, and journalism, Levin argues that crucial institutions in American life have lost their way, abandoning their formative purposes in favor of a performative ethos that exacerbates the culture war and erodes civic trust. He also explains why Americans have long been anti-institutional in theory but have been active institution-builders in practice.
Yuval Levin is the founding editor of National Affairs and the director of Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Tune in this week as he joins Richard Aldous to discuss the book, and don’t forget to subscribe to the show on your podcast provider and follow @aminterest on Twitter.