Review of The Harvard Classics, Volume 1

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve set out to tackle the Harvard Classics. These are what the President of Harvard at the turn of the 20th Century determined was the core of western thought. The goal was to create a set of works which, if read, would give the reader a solid liberal education, measured by turn of the 20th century standards.

One might be concerned that I am using Harvard’s recommendations. After all, Harvard is, according to neo-reactionary theory, the root of modern ills. But back then, universities were still concerned about making their students as knowledgeable as possible. So while it might not be a reactionary set, it certainly doesn’t push anything near a progressive agenda.

Don’t take my word for it, read their lecture on US History. Not only will you be much better informed about US history, you will see what a narrative of American history devoid of progressive input looks like. It is a noticeable difference versus everything you’ve seen before.

Volume One of the Harvard Classics is devoted to first hand accounts of life in Colonial America. The ones included are: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, The Journal of John Woolman and Fruits of Solitude by William Penn.

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Anti-Federalists Part 2: Robert Yates, John Lansing, Luther Martin & Edmund Randolph

The second batch of Anti-Federalists I’ll be looking at more dissenting convention members. They hold differing criticisms, so I’ll look at the three works individually.

Robert Yates and John Lansing hail from New York. They were serving at the convention with Alexander Hamilton, who was one of the writers of the Federalist Papers. In their letter to the New York state assembly, they outline their concerns with the new Constitution.

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Review of “MAGA Mindset” by Mike Cernovich

Lawyer, blogger, author, journalist and film producer Mike Cernovich recently released his latest book “MAGA Mindset: Making YOU and America Great Again”. The book combines an analysis of the cultural forces driving the Trump campaign with a discussion of Trump’s advice in his books and social media and the mindset principles underlying them.

Ben Garrison provided spectacular cover art for the book

If I had to describe the book in just a sentence, it is SJWs Always Lie meets Gorilla Mindset condensed to their core, with a unifying theme of Donald Trump.

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How the System is Rigged

Some people have a hard time understanding what Donald Trump says when he says “the system is rigged”. People who oppose him like to imagine it means rigged elections and that he’s casting doubt on the entire political system.

The truth is much simpler, and more sinister than that.

In the United States, public opinion determines the outcome of elections. If public opinion was an independent force, that would be the end of it. In the age of mass media and state education, it is not.

Public opinion is, tautologically, the sum of the opinions of members of the population. If individual opinions can be controlled, so can public opinion.

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Freedom of Expression in the Information Age

There’s a great tension today between two fundamental human freedoms. The first is freedom of thought and expression. A free person is able think, inquire, and express themselves and remain a regular member of society. The second is freedom of association. A free person only engages in activities they consent to. These come into conflict when one person refuses to associate with another over the second person’s expression.

In theory, this is easily resolved. Transactions are so common that missing out on one is a small price to pay for maintaining freedom of association. However, this isn’t as simple as it seems. For most people, their income comes from a single source. If your employer doesn’t want to associate with you, your livelihood is at risk.

(NB: A future article will cover the specific case of social media) Continue reading “Freedom of Expression in the Information Age”

Tackling The “Harvard Classics”

Liberal arts is an important field of study. It is also one which can be (and even in a college setting, largely is) self-taught. What most people get today is a far cry from what would be considered standard 100 years ago. The American founders would cry to see how far we’ve fallen when it comes to practicing the Western Canon. I myself am not nearly as well versed in it as I ought to be.

Charles William Elliot, former president of Harvard, claimed that one could achieve a full liberal education from reading 15 minutes a day from a 5-foot shelf. By my estimation, at 15 minutes per day, every day, this would take 18 months at a typical reading pace.

A publisher challenged him to choose the texts for this shelf. He wound up with a 51-volume, 2.5 million word collection which was published in 1909.

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