VIEWSnLiberalism: CoUectivist and ConservativenInever exchanged a word with RichardnWeaver. I knew him because henwas a figure at the University of Chicago.nI heard that he was a teacher whonexpected his students to meet a highnstandard of intellectual probity andnrigor; I think that he expected the samenof his colleagues. I was told, with anmixture of admiration and resentment,nthat he was not a member of any of thenruling parties at the college in the yearsnin which he taught there.nTo me, when I occasionally passednhim on the campus or on 57th Street,nhe looked the part. He looked quietlynand concentratedly independent; notnbellicose, but determined to follow thenpath that he thought right. The path henthought right was not one that wasnplucked out of the air; it was one thatnhad been taken deliberately and adherednto with purposeful tenacity. Itnwas not easy. At that time there was ancertain enthusiastic mateyness amongnthe teachers of the humanities in thencollege at the University of Chicago.nThey were ebulliently confident that they had the protectionnof Robert Hutchins and Richard McKeon. There wasnmuch optimism in the United States at that time and theynshared in it. Although they knew nothing of economics andnlittle of politics, I think that they were generally devotees ofnthe New Deal. Those who did not agree with them werenostracized as “reactionaries.” That was Richard Weaver’snsituation.nAmong collectivist liberal intellectuals, the University ofnChicago now has a reputation for being a nest of “rightnwingers.” Of course, the imputation is untrue. The fact thatnit has that reputation may be traced to the appearance andnrootedness there of a strong tradition of genuine liberalismn— individualistic or constitutional or conservative — fromnthe time of J. Lawrence Laughlin and especially of FranknKnight, and since then contained in the outiook shared bynEdward Shils is a professor at the University of Chicagonand the recipient of the Ingersoll Prizes’ 1988 WeavernAward for Scholarly Letters, for which this was hisnacceptance speech.n12/CHRONICLESnby Edward ShilsnnnMilton Friedman, George Stigler, andnAllen Wallis. This kind of genuinenliberalism at an American universitynis scarcely to be found outside thenUniversity of Chicago, and even atnthe University of Chicago is espousednonly by a minority of the teachingnstaff, even among the social scientistsnwho ought to know better.nMost of the social scientists arencollectivist liberals — the kinds ofnliberals who made off with the goodnname of liberalism and brought it intondisrepute.nIf, even now, when collectivist liberalism,nsocial democracy, and communismnare on the defensive, this kindnof thoughtful distrust of the powernof the state and of the omniscientnwisdom of politicians and civil servantsnis to be found only in a minority ofnthe senior members of the Universitynof Chicago, they were a much smallernminority in the 1940’s and 1950’snwhen Richard Weaver taught there.nCollectivist liberalism was then at thenheight of its pride and it required much firmness of characternand deep seriousness to stand out in opposition to it.nRichard Weaver had that seriousness of demeanor andnoutlook.nSeriousness is not gloominess. It is not dullness. It is notncheerlessness. To be serious is to take serious things in thenway in which they ought to be taken. Foremost among thenserious things are religion, the family, human life itself, thennational society — i.e., the country and the traditions of thencivilization we have inherited with its works of intellect,nimagination, and morality. They include the discovery ofntruth and its protection. Serious things include the state ofnone’s society and one’s civilization. They also include thendifficulties of human existence that reason alone andnscientific knowledge cannot cure. All these things have to bengiven the weight that their central position in humannexistence entitles them to.nSeriousness is the mood and state of mind appropriate tonthe appreciation of serious things. Seriousness is not thenonly response to serious things: one other major response isnfrivolity or lightheartedness. Another is shoulder-shruggingn