John Templeton Foundation/Intercollegiate Studies Institute • 1997 • 193 pages • $3.95 paperback
William Peterson, Heritage Foundation adjunct scholar, is Distinguished Lundy Professor Emeritus in Business Philosophy at Campbell University in North Carolina.
Sir John Templeton, brilliant long-time international investor and co-publisher of this work, established the Templeton Honor Rolls to recognize the best individuals and institutions in American higher education. The recognition brings to mind a thought of Henry Adams: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”
The 1997–1998 Templeton honor roll of teachers features political scientists William B. Allen at Michigan State University and George W. Carey at Georgetown University, law professors Robert C. Clark at Harvard Law School and George Priest at Yale Law School, philosophers Mary Lefkowitz at Wellesley College and Christina Sommers at Clark University, and economists Julian Simon at the University of Maryland and Gordon Tullock at the University of Arizona.
Teachers comprise but one honor roll among the four in this admirable compendium of believers in liberty and order. The three other honor rolls cover scholarly books and textbooks, colleges and universities, and departments and special programs (such as Yale’s Center in Law, Economics and Public Policy).
The selection committee, headed by William E. Simon and including Gary Becker, Edwin Feulner, Jr., Forrest McDonald, George Roche, and David Theroux, named Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman as winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award for 1997 and Gertrude Himmelfarb’s The De-Moralization of Society America’s top contemporary book.
Why the Himmelfarb work? Says Mr. Simon, a former U.S. Treasury secretary, in the foreword: “Gertrude Himmelfarb has written a seminal work of scholarship that is at the same time relevant to the many political and cultural debates taking place in America today. Her book reminds us that the free enterprise system rests on moral principles—principles that are, in turn, rooted in a humble faith in God.”
Among the finalists for the top contemporary books are Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington by Richard Brookhiser, Simple Rules for a Complex World by Richard Epstein, The Sword of Imagination by Russell Kirk, Machiavelli’s Virtue by Harvey Mansfield, and The Road from Serfdom by Robert Skidelsky. Each title is perceptively annotated in this volume.
Similarly annotated are entries in the scholarly books and textbooks category, which includes The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom, In Defense of the Constitution by George Carey, Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman, the eighth edition of Economics: Private and Public Choice by James Gwartney and Richard Stroup, Crisis and Leviathan by Robert Higgs, The Economic Point of View by Israel Kirzner, the sixth edition of American Government by John Q. Wilson, and The Catholic Ethic & the Spirit of Capitalism by Michael Novak.
The John Templeton Foundation, founded in 1987, is an outgrowth of Sir John’s philosophy of love and charity that he once articulated in an article for the New York Times as follows: “The more we give away the more we have left.” The foundation funds some 40 projects, studies, publications, and award programs around the world, including the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion (worth around $1 million).
The Honor Rolls are a worthy part of the Templeton Foundation’s work. The insightful commentary on the winners make this a valuable reference work.