Conservative columnist George F. Will, the 1981 Godkin lecturer, said this week his three talks will center on the role of government in morality.
He will begin his series on "Statecraft and Soulcraft: What Governments Do" tonight in the Forum at the Kennedy School of Government.
Governments should take a stand on moral issues, Will said, because "they inescapably affect the inner life of man. Governments will do a better job if they realize it."
Will is currently a contributing editor of Newsweek, formerly the Washington editor of National Review, and a member of the Washington Post's Writers Group. In 1977, he received a Pulitzer Prize for his biweekly, nationally syndicated column.
The lectures, which will be published as a book, will serve as "an amendment to current conservatism," Will said.
"Most of what passes for conservatism in the United States has an honorable pedigree, but not a conservative pedigree," he added, explaining that his thesis, based on Edmund Burke and Aristotle, will "defend strong government conservatism."
The first lecture, "The Defect," will explain "how our conception [of government]came to be as narrow and skewed as it is," Will said. The second, "Second Nature," will deal with the involvement of morality in government. "A Conservative Political Economy," the third talk, will urge the adoption of conservative views.
James Q. Wilson, Shattuck professor of Government and a personal friend of Will's, called him "the most literate columnist now writing."
The Godkin lectures, which have been given at Harvard almost every year since 1904, were established to address "The Essentials of Free Government and the Duties of the Citizen."
Shirley Williams, a prominent British Labor Party member delivered last year's talks.