In an attempt to be a better-informed citizen I'm working my way through Hillsdale College's free online courses. In graduate school, I learned that one must read, write, and discuss to really learn. In a world of podcasts and audiobooks, I usually don't get past the first of the three, but when I do it's always a powerful experience. This is my attempt to be a better student and a better advocate, which requires better speaking, discussion, and debate skills. I invite you to join me.
Readings will include selections from Aristotle, Cicero, Sidney, Locke, Jefferson, Washington, Madison, The Federalist Papers, Goodnow, Roosevelt, Wilson, Churchill, Dewy, Reagan, and others.
We'll meet Thursday evenings from 8-9pm MT via Zoom beginning May 12th.
Seek to Understand. By this, I refer not just to understanding the viewpoints of other group members, but primarily the viewpoints of the authors themselves. The purpose of this group is not to solve the world's problems or come to conclusions about truth and error, per se, but to understand the pedigree of thought undergirding our country's form of government and western civilization in general, i.e. to engage in the Great Conversation or Great Debate that has been ongoing for over two thousand years.
Respect. Lectures and discussions are non-partisan and non-denominational, meaning that all viewpoints are welcome and encouraged. Bring your whole self, but be respectful. Disrespectful participants will be warned once, then summarily booted for the remainder of that session. Participants who are repeatedly disrespectful across multiple sessions will be uninvited from the group.
Share. If you've already contributed, don't contribute again until everyone else who wants to chime in has an opportunity to do so, or a healthy silence has passed (some people, like me, often need time to think before responding).
Prepare. Listen to the corresponding lecture and read the assigned material. We are here to discuss ideas. Application to current events is encouraged. Everyone's time is precious and we want your best, informed self contributing. Be prepared to cite and/or share your sources.
With summer vacations and such, the schedule is pretty intermittent and subject to change:
Schedule (tentative after 5/26)
05/12 The Theory of the Declaration and the Constitution
05/26 Natural Rights and the American Revolution
06/02 Majority Tyranny and the Necessity of the Union
06/23 Consent of the Governed and the Separation of Powers
07/07 “To Secure These Rights”: Property, Morality, and Religion
07/21 Slavery and the Roots of the Secession Crisis
08/04 Secession and Civil War
08/18 The Progressive Rejection of the Founding
09/01 The New Deal and the Rise of the Administrative State
09/15 The Administrative State Today
09/29 Post-Sixties Liberalism and Contemporary Politics
10/13 A Path to Restoration
If you're interested, reply below or PM me.
Because we're only meeting about twice a month, you may find you have time for additional study. If so, I highly recommend these "prerequisite courses" to better help you with this one.