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This issue of Religion & Liberty focuses on higher education in all its fulness.

Two statistics throw the college tuition crisis into stark relief: Since 1978 – the year the federal government offered subsidized loans to all students – the cost of college tuition has risen by 1,375 percent. And another 1,400 students default on those loans every day.

The cover story by Anne Rathbone Bradley unravels the crisis of student debt. “The essential problem of student loan debt and high tuition fees is not the loans themselves,” Bradley writes, “but the skyrocketing costs that are due to heavy government interference in higher education.” She explains the process that created our modern-day predicament and points the way to a solution.

Trey Dimsdale complements her essay with an article describing why proposals to “erase” student loan debt will only create additional moral hazards. His academic and legal background adds authority to his clear-eyed argumentation.

At that point, this issue dives deeper, asking not just how to pay for an education but what subject matter constitutes a proper education. Samuel Gregg, the Acton Institute’s Director of Research, addresses the unique strands of religion and philosophy that gave birth to liberty in this extended excerpt from his new book Reason, Faith, and the Fight for Western Civilization (Regnery Gateway, 2019). “Freedom is more than an absence of constraint,” he writes. “Man is free for something.” That something, he adds, is excellence.

Joshua Gregor addresses the widespread academic culture of intersectionality and identity politics, which castigates anyone who admires the Western inheritance.

Rev. Gregory Jensen reviews Daniel Mahoney’s The Idol of our Age, which features numerous short biographies of the intellectuals and leaders who enriched Western civilization.

Finally, Religion & Liberty Executive Editor John Couretas reviews a heart-wrenching account of the Armenian genocide, written by two Israeli historians. More than a century later, this first mass atrocity lies forgotten beneath a snowdrift of false denials and obfuscations. The most fundamental thing our education must teach us is to assure such a genocide never happens again.

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Rev. Ben Johnson is a senior editor at the Acton Institute. His work focuses on the principles necessary to create a free and virtuous society in the transatlantic sphere (the U.S., Canada, and Europe). He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History summa cum laude from Ohio University and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.