Volume 3 of the Harvard Classics was short and narrowly focused. It contained the text of a pamphlet written by John Milton on free press and a letter he wrote on education. [Edit: 12/22/2016, the edition I had ommitted 2/3 of the volume. Works by Francis Bacon and Thomas Browne were included as well. I’ve added an update at the end.]
At times a work like the Harvard Classics seems incredibly expansive, but when I realized that Ancient Philosophy had been distilled to a single volume, I realized how much of a surface treatment this truly is.
This volume of the Harvard Classics contains works from three philosophers: Plato, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. This gives excellent coverage to Stoicism, but doesn’t delve deeply into anything else. The works of Plato that are included, Apology, Crito and Phaedo do not delve very deeply into Plato’s philosophy. Continue reading “Harvard Classics, Volume 2: Ancient Philosophy”
The next series of Anti-Federalist writings I’m going to discuss are the letters of Cato. There are seven in all. This is the first pseudonymous author we’ve read in this series, which from now on will be the rule, rather than the exception. Historians speculate that this author may be George Clinton, Governor of New York.
In Cato’s first letter, he provides an introduction. He states:
“Government, to an American, is the science of his political safety…”
Cato’s focus is on the long term stability of the government and how it will work for future generations. Because of this focus, Cato encourages careful inspection of the Constitution before ratification and to help make the new government as good as it possibly can be.
The news this morning is a hard won electoral victory for Donald Trump. In doing so he has faced down the full force of the unofficial organs of power in America, and some of the official ones, and he has emerged the winner. For people like me, who have worked to push Trump to victory, the big question today is: “what comes next?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
Let’s say, for some crazy reason, you want to have political power in the United States today. You think that if you’re in the right position, you’ll be able to influence things for the better. That sounds great, I’m going to give you a system for gaining political power today.
As Scott Adams says in his book “How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big”, you should utilize systems to get ahead, not set goals. The system I’m going to lay out for you will assure you accumulate political power, but it doesn’t specify where you’ll end up. That way, there are many possible successful outcomes.