J. Budziszewski is professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas, where he specializes in researching natural law. His books include Resurrection of Nature: Political Theory and the Human Character (Cornell, 1986), The Nearest Coast of Darkness: A Vindication of the Politics of Virtues (Cornell, 1988), True Tolerance: Liberalism and the Necessity of Judgment (Transaction, 1992), Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law (InterVarsity, 1997), The Revenge of Conscience: Politics and the Fall of Man (Spence, 1999), and How to Stay Christian in College (NavPress, 1999). Dick Staub recently talked with him about his latest book, What We Can't Not Know (Spence, 2003).
You start your book by saying explicitly that every writer has a point of view, and that yours is Christian. How was it that you came to embrace a Christian worldview?
Well, I haven't always held one. I was raised in a Christian home. I walked the aisle and was baptized at age 10. I knew what I was doing and I believed it. But when I was in my early 20s, when I went off to college, I lost my faith completely.
And did a lot more than losing it, as a matter of fact.
Where did you attend?
For the first two years I was at the University of Chicago. I dropped out then for a couple of years. I was a socialist in those days, waiting for the revolution, and decided that I didn't need to be at a rich kid's school. I should be out with the proletariat. So I went out and learned a trade.
Wow. So what trade did you practice?
Welding. I ended up working at the Tampa shipyards for not a terribly long time, but I did work there.
So you are a rare man whose philosophical outlook actually led him into the blue-collar life for awhile.
Yes, and one of the things I discovered ...1