Sara Israelsen-Hartley, Deseret News, September 11, 2010.
PROVO — In his dialogue “Gorgias,” the philosopher Plato questions the motives for debate, asking if individuals argue in order to find and advance the truth or simply to boost their own social standing by winning the argument.
For 19-year-old Robert P. George, contemplating those questions for the first time in college was like “having a bucket of ice water thrown in my face, and I woke up,” he said.
“I realized I should be asking a much more important question than about how to win debates, but I should be asking the question, ‘What side am I on?’ ” said George, the man the New York Times Magazine would later christen as the “most influential Christian conservative thinker.”
“For the first time in my life … I had to think my way to where I would stand, rather than just standing where I stood because it was what the ambient culture told me.” That introductory political philosophy class at Swarthmore College changed the entire trajectory of young George’s life…