The Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy,
located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was founded in the fall of 2006
by a core group of Madison faculty members with a diversity of perspectives.
The Center's main objective is to probe the nature and prospects of liberal
democracy and its core principles, practices, and institutions. The Center
promotes the investigation of arguments for and against liberal principles and
institutions, as well as the study of texts written by exponents and critics of
the liberal tradition. Programs include speakers, conferences, colloquia, and
student opportunities designed to pursue these broader themes.
The Center has two primary missions. The first mission is to promote appreciation and critical understanding of the cardinal principles and
institutions of liberal democracy, including, but not limited to
constitutionalism and rule of law; the meaning and scope of freedom and free
markets in a democratic order; the place and role of religion in liberal
democracies; the relationship between liberty and equality; the balances among
security, liberty, and privacy in a dangerous world; the role of the military
in a free society; education and the state; and competition between liberal
democracy and competing ideologies, including various forms of autocracy and new political religions.
The second mission relates specifically to the University of
Wisconsin. It is to advance intellectual diversity at the University by taking
ideas seriously that we believe have not always enjoyed sufficient respect on
campus. Such ideas include the various strands of conservative political
thought and libertarian thought, in addition to thought addressing religious
liberty, foreign policy, and the role of the military in American society and
on campus. At the same time, our belief in the pedagogical benefits of
intellectual diversity means that we also support critical challenges to the
assumptions underlying these ideas. We aspire to be a model of intellectual
diversity in action for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.