The Center for Political and Economic Thought is an interdisciplinary public affairs institution of Saint Vincent College. It sponsors research and education programs, primarily in the fields of politics, economics and moral-cultural affairs. The Center seeks to advance scholarship on philosophical and policy concerns related to freedom and Western civilization with particular regard to the American experience. The Center was founded in 1991 as an outgrowth of the Alex G. McKenna Economic Education Series, which was launched in 1986.
The Center’s programs include: The Alex G. McKenna Economic Education Series, the Government and Political Education Series, the Civitas Forum on Principles and Policies for Public Life, Culture and Policy Conferences and Scholarships and Fellowships. In addition, the Center supports research and educational activities through its staff and it produces numerous publications.
The Center is part of the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government.
Morris P. Fiorina, Ph.D., Wendt Family Professor of Political Science, Standford University, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
Robert P. George, D.Phil., McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Professor of Politics, Princeton University
Charles R. Kesler, Ph.D., Dengler-Dykema Distinguished Professor of Government, Claremont McKenna College
Bennett T. McCallum, Ph.D., H.J. Heinz Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University
Wilfred M. McClay, Ph.D., G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty, University of Oklahoma
E.S. Savas, Ph.D., Presidential Professor, School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, City University of New York
Announcing the Ninth Annual Douglas B. Rogers Conditions of a Free Society Essay Competition
Honoring the memory of Doug Rogers, a young scholar of great promise who died tragically in 2011, the competition is meant to encourage undergraduate students to join the Center in discussing themes of Western Civilization such as individual freedom, limited constitutional government, free market economics, and the philosophical and moral foundations of America and the West.
This year students are asked to consider the following passage from Ludwig von Mises’s Liberalism and comment on the intellectual origins of the quotation and its enduring significance for cultivating the virtues necessary to sustain a free society.
“…But the root of the opposition to liberalism cannot be reached by resort to the method of reason. This opposition does not stem from the reason, but from a pathological mental attitude—from resentment and from a neurasthenic condition that one might call a Fourier complex, after the French socialist of that name. Concerning resentment and envious malevolence little need be said. Resentment is at work when one so hates somebody for his more favorable circumstances that one is prepared to bear heavy losses if only the hated one might also come to harm. Many of those who attack capitalism know very well that their situation under any other economic system will be less favorable. Nevertheless, with full knowledge of this fact, they advocate a reform, e.g. socialism, because they hope that the rich, whom they envy, will also suffer under it. Time and again one hears socialists say that even material want will be easier to bear in a socialist society because people will realize that no one is better off than his neighbor.”
The competition is open to all full-time undergraduate students currently registered at the time of submission in any field of study at a college or university in the United States or Canada. The Center will appoint a committee of judges to select the winning essays. Prizes will not be awarded if, in the exclusive opinion of the judges, submitted essays are of insufficient quality. Essays that are, in the exclusive opinion of the judges, of publishable quality will, with the consent of the author, be eligible for publication in the Center’s journal, Citizens and Statesmen: An Annual Review of Political Theory and Public Life. Cash prizes will be as follows: first place: $2,000; second place: $1,000; third place: $500. Prior to the awarding of prizes, winners will be required to verify their eligibility and to attest to the fact that the winning essay is wholly their own. Any amount of plagiarism will result in disqualification.
Although there is no minimum word requirement, we expect high quality writing and serious analysis. Submissions should be sent in Microsoft Word format to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 15, 2021. Winners will be notified in February.
George Washington Fellowship
The Center for Political and Economic Thought sponsors this fellowship program founded in the 1998-1999 academic year. The program provides a stipend, support for attending academic conferences, and books for each fellow. Fellows must engage in a year-long scholarly project with a faculty member from the Center, which is designed to be a broad learning experience for the fellow in a non-classroom atmosphere.
The George Washington Fellowship Program is named after our nation's first president in order to focus on the theme of citizenship. Washington emphasized in his writings and addresses that the success of the new American republic would depend upon the nation's ability to become a sacred union of citizens. The Program seeks to attract students interested in scholarly inquiry into the key questions of American citizenship, paying careful attention to the duties and responsibilities of individuals in a free, well ordered society.
Applications for projects in the following areas will be accepted: American political thought, American economic thought, political or economic thought generally, American culture and religion, and American constitutionalism.
Successful fellowship applicants will have outstanding records of academic achievement and a demonstrated interest in scholarly inquiry. Students majoring in Political Science or Public Policy are eligible to participate during their sophomore, junior, or senior year. Particular emphasis will be placed on those applying for fellowships for the junior or senior year, but truly superior sophomore applications will also merit consideration.
Fellowship proposals must focus on a key question or issue suggested by one of the themes mentioned in the section on Background.
Fellowships are not designed to be an independent study, nor are they intended to require the same type of work that would be involved in taking a regular college course. Rather, fellowships will support a scholarly relationship or conversation between the student and faculty member on the issue or question posed in the application. Once a proposal has been awarded a fellowship, a faculty member will be assigned and the student and faculty member will determine a set of readings appropriate to fostering an in-depth discussion of the question at hand.
Fellows are expected to read and think seriously about the selected works, to meet regularly with the faculty member to discuss the works, and to produce a piece of work at the end of the fellowship period that reflects what has been learned in the reading and discussions. This final product is not intended to be a thesis-type major research project, but instead a thoughtful and tangible reflection on the learning experience.
Stipend - Fellows will receive a stipend totaling $1,000. The stipend will be paid in installments of $500 at the beginning of each semester. Payment of the stipend in the Spring semester is contingent upon satisfactory progress during the Fall semester. Normally, the stipend should not affect a student's financial aid package, but students are encouraged to verify this with the Office of Admission and Financial Aid.
Books - A modest budget will be available to purchase the books that a fellow will need to read for his or her project. The assigned faculty member will determine which books are necessary and the books will be purchased directly by the Center.
Academic Conference Support - It is often the case that there will be a scholarly conference going on that will bear directly on a fellow's academic interest. Beyond this, it is worthwhile for students to have the experience of attending an academic conference. Accordingly, the Fellows Program will provide a modest amount of financial support for participants to attend scholarly conferences that both the student and faculty member agree are of particular merit.
Year-EndDinner and Other Events - The Center will sponsor a culminating social event for its George Washington Fellows, where each fellow will share his or her thoughts on what has been learned from the fellowship experience. The Center may also sponsor occasional "get togethers" for those participating in the George Washington Fellowship Program.
Academic Credit - Completion of the Fellowship Program will be noted on the student's academic transcript as a zero-credit entry.
How to Apply
Contact Dr. Bradley C. S. Watson for more information on how to apply.
Dr. Rogers graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Economics in 2007 from West Virginia University. He was the recipient of graduate fellowships from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center and the E.B. Earhart Foundation. He received his Ph.D. in Economics in 2011 from George Mason University, where he was awarded the Israel M. Kirzner Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Austrian Economics for his “Organizing Crime: Towards a Theory of the Criminal Firm.”
Douglas was a research scholar of great insight, with working affiliations that included the Foundation for Economic Education, the Koch Foundation, Citizens Against Government Waste, The Freeman, and the Cato Institute. As a Ph.D. candidate, he served as research assistant for Dr. Peter Leeson’s award winning book, The Invisible Hook. Doug’s publications include: his contribution for the Adam Smith Institute’s The Beginner’s Guide to Liberty, entitled, “Why Government Fails,” written in conjunction with Dr. Peter Boettke; his online book review of Peter Ubel’s Free Market Madness: Why Human Nature Is At Odds with Economics And Why It Matters; and his collaborative experimental economics investigation written with Dr. Adam Smith of Johnson and Wales University and Dr. Bart Wilson of the Economic Science Institute at Chapman University, entitled “Violence, Access, and Competition in the Market for Protection,” published in the European Journal of Political Economics. Dr. Rogers’s “Organizing Crime,” published posthumously with Peter Leeson, appeared in Supreme Court Economic Review in 2012 and grew out of his dissertation research.
Doug Rogers was an extremely gifted and passionate economist who loved life and lived his with inspirational enthusiasm, humor, honesty, and humility.