I still have gotten no return off of this blog whatsoever–not a single buyer of any of the three books I’ve posted links to, and not a single student–but regardless of that I will continue to post as it gives me something to do when not reading and writing and teaching. Note that your failure to buy in is a reflection on you, not on me. And yes, you should feel bad about it, because our government–which you elect without anywhere near adequate knowledge to do so–obviously does not work, our economy–in which you are participants–is not well, and our school system is a flat piece of shit. That is perhaps much too kind to them, but I’ll leave the understatement. You wish to be ignorant–therefore you have no right to complain when your taxes go up, crimes are not prevented or solved, you see conflict in the world that you are uncomfortable with, your government enacts policies that you do not wish for and that do not work, your income is not high enough, and your kids are stupid. Wake up, people. Wake the fuck up.
My four-week winter course on political, economic, and legal ideas from 1830-1930 began last night with Calhoun’s Disquisition on Government. It went really well–I used the Socratic method and was able to keep the one student who tends to answer questions that were not asked in line. No doubt this was the right method to choose for the particular work in question, and there is a lot to ask questions about both philosophically and in terms of the book’s historical background.
I asked one of my students after by text message if he had ever had anyone go through ideas like that. This is a college student, he’s now 21, so he’s been through quite a bit of schooling. His answer was: “No, that was really good! Very helpful in understanding what Calhoun was saying.”
Next week, for Mill’s Utilitarianism, I will go a different route, because that’s what the work in question requires. I’ll add more info as we approach that, and also a review of Calhoun’s Disquisition on Government in the coming days.