Reading Right Bookclub Begins

Hi, all. Here we go, our first Reading Right Book Club selection and meeting. We will meet as a rule the last Monday of each month at the Lydia Drake Library’s Pine Room, 7 PM, starting June 26, located at 340 High St, Pembroke. This is sponsored by the Pembroke Republican Town Committee, and I will be facilitating the first discussion.

Our first selection will be William Buckley’s God and Man At Yale.

This work by Buckley at age 24 is considered one of the three or four sources of the resurgence of conservative political thought in the mid 1900s. This, along with Russell Kirk’s “The Conservative Mind” and Michael Novak’s “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism,” gave to those committed to the values expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution intellectual support. By these works much was done to escape the judgment of John Stuart Mill of the conservative tradition in politics as “the stupid party.”

GAMAY was Buckley’s reflection of the socialist and godless education he had received at Yale. His arguments were straightforward: first, Yale was undermining students’ faith in Christianity; second, Yale was promoting economic collectivism; and third, alumni should exert their influence to reverse the course of pedagogy at Yale.

The book has not lost influence over time and still stands as an accurate portrayal of the university world. Recent events on the university campus to shut down free speech along with the ill-considered tirades of faculty against capitalism demonstrate that Buckley’s diagnosis of campus ills have only tragically deepened.

The book is available on Kindle as well as book format. Reserve your copy now from the library if you choose not to buy the book.

You need not to have read the book to profit from the discussion. Google the book on the internet and find some reviews or go to youtube to view discussions of GAMAY. This will give you enough of a grasp of the book to meaningfully contribute and appreciate the conversation.

Invite your friends! Part of our goal is to give people of whatever political persuasion an opportunity to discuss important ideas.

The Liberal International Order Is Dead

Here is a debate between Niall Ferguson and Fareed Zakaria on whether or not the liberal international order is dead. Ferguson argues the affirmative. The post-WWII globalist vision of FDR and company, complete with international institutions such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, etc., is a dead vision. The attempt to create the universal man stripped of nationalism and motivated by boundary and cultural markers is now gone, so Ferguson argues. Replacing it is surging democratic populism with its confident cultural identity.

Ferguson is not arguing that it should be this way but that it is now this way. Recognizing this new world is essential to the political management of our crises. This is a most important debate.

Heartlessness As An Intellectual Style

An insight from “Heartlessness As An Intellectual Style” in The Chronicle of Higher Education – “A 1999 study of women’s emotional labor in academe found that “students expect female professors to be nicer than male professors and judge them more harshly when they are not.” More recently, the history professor Benjamin M. Schmidt, at Northeastern University, found that male professors were more likely to be called “geniuses,” while female professors were more often judged on their personalities.

Many women say that their students frequently treat them like counselors or social workers. Female academics — like their peers in other professions — are made to perform the bulk of the emotional labor, with both colleagues and students. Pressures like these might explain why so many academic women I know were immediately intrigued by the premise of Deborah Nelson’s new book, “Tough Enough” (University of Chicago Press), which explores the work of women intellectuals, writers, and artists known for their stoical, even “heartless,” dispositions. When I explained the concept to female friends across the academy (and for that matter, beyond it) they all saw something liberating in the notion of the intentionally cold woman intellectual; perhaps it could serve as a model for their own escape from the pressures of obligatory emotional labor.”

Hannah Arendt is one of the “heartless” ones, it seems. In her personal life she was a passionate lover, most famously with Martin Heidegger, her professor and a future Nazi sympathizer, with whom she carried on a life long attraction. But in her writing she was dispassionate, removed, analytical and more than capable of going against the grain of popular sentiment, even while so many male intellectuals gave in. Her assertion that some of the Jewish people were actually collaborators with the Nazis and bore responsibility was particularly hard to hear.

No doubt journalists such as Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin would be on a heartless list.

Dr. Carl Trueman on Martin Luther’s Anti-Semitism

In this 500th year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation we will likely hear much of Martin Luther’s anti-Semitism. No doubt his screed against the Jews will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Some scholars draw a straight line from Luther to the Holocaust. So, what to do with Luther on this issue? Dr. Carl Truman gives his perspective on Luther in Lecture 18 of his class on the Reformation.

Trueman’s bottom line is that Luther’s attack on the Jews was religious and not racial. I think he does a good job of setting Luther’s comments in context. However, he makes it very clear that the excessive verbiage is scandalous and unacceptable. But there never was a person who could tame Luther’s language!!