One of my 2022 New Years' resolutions is to complete four Hillsdale College online courses at the rate of about one lecture each week. I've listened to many of their lectures over the years in no particular order, but only got disciplined and actually completed my first course last month - Introduction to Western Philosophy course (highly recommended).
I'm tackling their Introduction to the [U.S.] Constitution course first and want to create a discussion group. In graduate school, I learned that one must read, write, and discuss to really learn. I almost never get past the first of the three. 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 January 20th.
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.
1/20 The Declaration of Independence — Universals and Particulars
1/27 The Declaration of Independence — The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God
2/3 The Declaration of Independence — All Men Are Created Equal
2/10 The Consent of the Governed
2/17 Representation of the People
2/24 Sovereignty and Power
3/3 Reason and Passion
3/10 The Separation of Powers
3/17 The Necessity of Virtue
3/24 Ballots Rather Than Bullets
3/31 The Problem with Big Government
4/7 The Problem with Progressivism [Tentative. I'm scheduled to be out of town]
If you're interested, reply below or PM me.
Incidentally, the other three courses I anticipate completing this year are as follows. If this discussion group goes well I may create groups for these courses as well.