About That Reading List…

After I described my course on Individual Rights and the Common Good in a previous blog, several readers asked if I would post the reading list.

Because I’m at home with limited access to both my office and memory, I don’t have the complete list, but here are those I do have: Thomas Smith, Aristotle on the Conditions for and Limits of the Common Good, from Volume 93 of the American Political Science Review; John Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government (Chapters 9 and 10); DeTocqueville’s Democracy in America (Book 2, Chapters 27, 28 and 29) and an essay “DeTocqueville on Individualism” from a website titled The Laughing Agave; John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty (Chapter One); John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice (not the book, but an excerpt published by the journal Philosophy and Public Affairs in the summer of 1985; The Procedural Republic and the Unencumbered Self, by Michael Sandel, from the journal Political Theory in 1984; Liberalism, Community and Tradition by Joel Feinberg, from Volume 3, #3 of Tikkun; Church, State and Women’s Human Rights, by Martha Nussbaum, from Criterion: A Publication of the Divinity School of the University of Chicago; cases considering the rights of LGBTQ persons against claims of religious liberty: Bowers v. Hardwick, Romer v. Evans, Lawrence v. Texas and Obergfell v. Hodges, and cases I don’t have in front of me balancing property rights against nuisance laws and other governmental regulations.

The official course description was: Considers the tension between individual and majoritarian rights in our constitutional system, and the effects of that tension on the formulation of public policy.

The course was an investigation of that tension–the right of citizens to personal autonomy, on the one hand, and the equally strong human need to be part of a cohesive community, on the other.

As I pointed out in the course syllabus, the fundamental issue in political philosophy–as well as in day-to-day governance–is who decides? What sorts of decisions must government be empowered to make, and which must be left to the individual? Answering that, of course, requires that we explore many other questions–what do we mean by “the common good?” How much social consensus is necessary for a government policy to be considered legitimate?

Can public policies encourage the the development of an inclusive “we” from America’s increasingly diverse “I’s” without violating fundamental individual rights?

The class was cross-listed, meaning that both undergraduates and graduates could enroll. Because it wasn’t a required class, it attracted students who were actually interested in exploring those questions. It was fun to teach–or more accurately, to introduce them to what important thinkers have said about these issues, and to serve as a discussion guide.

As I listened to the political debates Americans have been having this year, I’ve really missed the kinds of thoughtful analyses and debates I heard from my students. Conspiracy theories that provide easily identified “bad guys” and heroes, religious dogmas that impose answers rather than helping adherents wrestle with important questions, insistence upon categorizing everyone as “us” or “them” –these are all hallmarks of a flight from genuine engagement and civic responsibility.

I have hopes that with Biden’s election, and his choice of competent adults to head the agencies charged with doing the people’s business, we can emerge from the embrace of ignorance, the corruption and the bigotry of this horrible four-year experiment with government by tantrum, and approach policy argumentation the way most of my students did.

For those of you who wanted the reading list–I hope you’ll let the rest of us know your reactions as you plow through!


  1. One thing on my wish list for President Biden is rehiring those civil servants who were discharged for doing their jobs properly. Especially the ones who were discharged so close to their full retirement benefits. That really needs to be rectified. Those careers need to be restored.

  2. So many good points today, Sheila; this one stuck out, “What sorts of decisions must government be empowered to make, and which must be left to the individual?”

    Is this why the oligarchy who founded this country was so scared of a democracy? Were they scared that the peasants who toiled in the fields, the immigrants who worked in factories or building the infrastructure of this country, or even pesky slaves would one day want the right to vote and may take their rightful place from society?

    The owners; the male oligarchy.

    When Donald Trump says, MAGA, is this what he truly means? Is this why the billionaires ignore his ignorance of government policy and his embarrassing displays on foreign matters because they are willing to chew on glass as long as Donald returns them to the rightful place as owners of all this again?

    Be careful all, but you’re becoming obsolescent.

    Think, think, think…

  3. Thank you for the list but I will continue to rely on the excellent “Cliff’s Notes” that you provide every day. (FYI, Cliff’s Note are no longer those little yellow booklets but are now a smartphone app – what a world!). Cheers

  4. Interesting list. I read many of the classics (Aristotle, Locke, De Tocqueville, Mills)when I was in college. If you really want a framework for governance, they are essential.

  5. Here is a quote from Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War relevant to the next to last paragraph of today’s blog entry.

    “Most people, in fact, will not take the trouble in finding out the truth, but are much more inclined to accept the first story they hear.”

  6. Todd:
    …….toiled in the coal mines; are entombed in steel or in military cemeteries; buried at sea……

  7. OMG is awake this morning.

    While we defend these oligarchs or capitalists, you do know there are politicians proposing that our defense industry rules over elections in this country.

    Why do you suppose they want to do that?

  8. Trump wasn’t worried about the virus because he is entitled to the best medicinal treatments the world has to offer.

    Now, he wants to sign blank pardons for his entitled kiddos to use in the future.

  9. I’m thinking…of the electoral college, also obsolescent…of the law of unintended consequences, that has the peasant class clamoring for more of a say about the direction of government, and what its purpose is…something other than, let’s say, Hoover’s “The business of government is business.”

  10. Sheila,
    thanks for the final paragraph from yesterdays subject,Americans..
    i was working outdoors all day..

    i ran across a few Journalists who summed up a great portion of what i talk about,and the wage and graft project of wall streets mob..im not a Journalist and probably give ya the willies with my writings. but,i do read,and focus on why the working class is where its at. im just mentioning where and when i read these, enjoy,i find it refreshing that some seasoned Journalists have finally taken time to write about what is, the need to make sure every worker in America stays next to poverty.. both were online at commondreams.org yesterday

    the economy isnt working,and thats exactly the plan,Robert Freeman.

    inequality gone viral,the obscene numbers,Paul Buchheit.

  11. Todd:
    ya may wonder why the foot dragging on the virus,,if ya ignore it,herd immunity will be the goal.. were duped? or, many would say conspiracy? either way,its done.. attrition and self sacrifice all in one,with no cost to the goverment to implement. lt gov of texas.had it down,ignore it and get back to work,my portfolio is collapsing.. seems the silver spoon of America was tarnished,how dare a virus hurt us,were soooo pure…read DW.com daily,you would learn far more about this virus and what is done, to contain it,slow it down and support the people first over the corp enities,in euro. of course the American media would be shammed to the end,over our need to knows and implementaion of science over death rehtoric.

  12. After promised Air Force One for four more years, will Melania and Trumpies be satisfied with a Ford Pinto and chauffeur Donald?

  13. Todd wrote: ” The owners; the male oligarchy.”

    “When Donald Trump says, MAGA, is this what he truly means? Is this why the billionaires ignore his ignorance of government policy and his embarrassing displays on foreign matters because they are willing to chew on glass as long as Donald returns them to the rightful place as owners of all this again?”

    I would suspect rather than chewing on glass, the Oligarchs are dining on lobster and the finest wine their money can buy and off to the yacht.

    Our Oligarchy could care less about the social and culture wars going on as long as their place at the top is secure. Gay rights, women’s rights, civil rights these things mean nothing to them, their place in our Aristocracy is assured they have all the rights and privileges extreme wealth can buy.

    The Oligarchy does not worry about the Blue vs Red political divide. If the Proles get restive or rambunctious about income inequality, or their dwindling opportunities etc., they can toss out a few scraps and/or find some politician to divert their attention, in this respect The Trumpet and Pastor Pence served their needs.

  14. The book, 1965, “The reasonableness of Christianity as delivered in the Scriptures” quotes John Locke;

    “Though it be easy for omnipotent power to do all things by an immediate overruling will, and to make any instruments work, even contrary to their nature, in subserviency to his ends, yet his wisdom is not usually at the expense of miracles . . . but only in cases that require them for the evidencing of some revelation or mission to be from him. He does constantly (unless where the confirmation of some truth requires it otherwise) bring about his purposes by means operating according to their natures. If it were not so, the course and evidence of things would be confounded; miracles would lose their force and name; and there could be no distinction between natural and supernatural.”

    Aristotle; Aristotle on Religion
    AUTHOR: Mor Segev, University of South Florida;

    a severe critic of traditional religion, believing it to be false, yet he also holds that traditional religion and its institutions are necessary if any city, including the ideal city he describes in the Politics, is to exist and flourish.

    De Tocqueville;
    facing history.org

    Tocqueville stood out as a friend of religion who was also a friend of freedom. He thought that a vibrant religious life was essential to the preservation and prosperity of a free democratic society. Tocqueville thought that religion (and he was favorable to almost any kind of religion) was essential to democracy for many reasons. Probably the most important one was that Tocqueville thought that organized religion was the only possible long-term counterweight to some of the main threats democracy faced: materialism on the one hand and religious fanaticism on the other.

    John Stuart Mill;

    Timothy Larson, professor at Wheaton College on John Mill:

    “He has been called everything from an atheist to a mystic. One scholar has even claimed that Mill saw himself as the founder of a new religion. Mill himself once observed that his reverence for Jesus Christ gave him the right to call himself a Christian.”

    “He attended the Church of England regularly as a boy. At the end of his life, he was a supporter of the Protestant church in Avignon (where he lived). His best friend there was its pastor and Mill gave it a large financial contribution annually. The last public meeting he ever attended was in that church. At it, he accepted a position as an honorary member of the executive committee of its charity which supported religious schools. Whenever Mill visited a city, whether in England or abroad, he was keen to attend a worship service in its principal church.”

    John Rawls;

    An article from the Hoover institution reads;

    “We assume, then, that God is, and that He is the sort of God that the Bible says He is, and that He revealed His nature in Christ” — and aims to restate its implications for the moral life. To do this, Rawls argues, one must free Christian thought from a tremendously influential but profoundly mistaken doctrine. “Naturalism,” according to Rawls, “is the universe in which all relations are natural and in which spiritual life is reduced to the level of desire and appetition.” Plato and Aristotle are guilty of naturalism, he argues. So, too, are Augustine and Aquinas, Christianity’s two greatest philosophers, whose doctrines, the Princeton senior audaciously charges, miss the essence of Christian teaching. And of course the preponderance of modern philosophy is thoroughly naturalistic and therefore gravely wrong about ethical life. The problem, though, is not nature itself, which is “God’s gift to man.” Rather, “the error lies . . . in extending natural relations to include all of those in the cosmos.” The challenge, to which Rawls devotes his thesis, “is to limit the sphere of nature to its proper limits, and to make room for the heart of the universe, namely, community and personality.”

    I could go on, but, the common thread in all of these men is the importance of the religious construct! That unpolluted religion will allow tolerance and put a damper on fanaticism!

    Every one of these men tended to support religion or be extremely religious and it came out in their philosophical beliefs. True followers would get along with their fellow man, no matter the religion, morals, ethics, compassion, empathy, all are compatible with major organized non-fanatical religion. The problem is, politicians bringing religious dogma into civil society. Forcing beliefs instead of allowing for tolerance (fanaticism)! True religion would allow these nuances to influence their civil or civic lives without forcing religious dogma into the mix. In other words, you can feed the poor without bringing into the discussion the religious dogma for that. You can tolerate or love your neighbor without bringing in the specific religious dogma for that. So, that’s my take on it!

    There recognized the power of religion and its ability to either separate society or make a stronger society! Each one gravitated towards religion instead of away from it.

  15. John, this chap you mentioned; Jesus I believe.

    Jesus asked us to follow him because he was the one true path to our father; all men were created as equals and in the likeness of our Creator.

    He spoke against the religious leaders of his time and his words were deemed blasphemy.

    What I would like to know is where are all the chapters and books written about Jesus’s enlightenment from man to a spiritual master?

    Why did those spiritual leaders prevent people from learning how to ascend their physical bodies like Christ the man was able to do?

    I’ll wait here…

  16. John Sorg: “you can feed the poor without bringing into the discussion the religious dogma for that. You can tolerate or love your neighbor without bringing in the specific religious dogma for that.” To that statement I reply, Amen!

    I respect the quality of your never ending effort to turn religion into something other than a set of consistently ignored values and corrupt practices by those who see their best hope for success in exploiting the gullibility of their intellectual inferiors (although I don’t see what that has to do with today’s topic), but it is what it is. And what it is is a thought system that is so pregnant with possibilities for exploitation that that is where it ends up, almost invariably.

    But be that as it may, and putting aside its fictional aspects such as miracles, what does religion accomplish that a consistent secular belief in and practice of kindness and empathy would not? Why add the burden of a creator for whom there is nothing but a priori evidence and the wishful thinking of those whose wish it is to be cared for? Why carry all the baggage of these brilliant minds who would not have credited most of the advances science has given us and, had they seen one, would have concluded that airplanes were miracles. Religion helped postpone the Enlightenment and the dawn of science and government for the people for 1500 years and started countless wars while marking time. What positive claims can it support that could not also be made by secular people who built their lives on a philosophy of loving kindness?

    Through the centuries, because it was built on a false epistemology and because it labored so cruelly to force its way of thinking on others, religion has gotten so much wrong that Neil DeGrasse Tyson describes it as “an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance.” Given the human proclivity for self-extinction, there are not enough years left for religion to explain and reconcile how wrong it has been since its inception. And why bother trying? Let’s set it aside and work to outgrow it.

  17. Todd,

    As far as Christ enlightenment, Christ was enlightened way before his baptism, although during that time, his previous existence was revealed to him during his baptism. That’s in Scripture!

    As far as whatever spiritual leaders teach, is not something I concern myself with, and neither did the above-mentioned men of history some of whom mentioned Christ by name, I did not!

    They did allude to the original teachings of religion, and the organization of such, being a bulwark against fanaticism! That’s quoted in the above comment.

    The point is, that they recognize the importance of the religious construct, some mentioned the Muslim religion and eating pork and tolerance and religious dogma. Should religious dogma be entered into civil society? I believe the answer was the construct of religion. The supposed camaraderie and the moral standings elicited by religious dogma would make better people in society. If you could manage to leave religious dogma out of civil society but follow the principles of organized religion to ferret out fanaticism and promote equity in civil society, that’s a good thing!

    As far as Christ teaching men to shed their bodies, well, he never did! That was never a teaching of Christ!

    “Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

    And, if you get into it Todd, a couple of the above-mentioned were very familiar with the Scripture and helped evolve their opinions! The Scripture in Romans the 13th chapter, 1-9 reads;

    Let every person be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. 2 Therefore, whoever opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will bring judgment against themselves. 3 For those rulers are an object of fear, not to the good deed, but to the bad. Do you want to be free of fear of the authority? Keep doing good, and you will have praise from it; 4 for it is God’s minister to you for your good. But if you are doing what is bad, be in fear, for it is not without purpose that it bears the sword. It is God’s minister, an avenger to express wrath against the one practicing what is bad.

    5 There is therefore compelling reason for you to be in subjection, not only on account of that wrath but also on account of your conscience. 6 That is why you are also paying taxes; for they are God’s public servants constantly serving this very purpose. 7 Render to all their dues: to the one who calls for the tax, the tax; to the one who calls for the tribute, the tribute; to the one who calls for fear, such fear; to the one who calls for honor, such honor.

    8 Do not owe anything to anyone except to love one another; for whoever loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. 9 For the law code, “You must not commit adultery, you must not murder, you must not steal, you must not covet,” and whatever other commandment there is, is summed up in this saying: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Religious leaders do not necessarily promote truthful scriptural doctrine, and use the dogma of those religions to acquire power in the political realm. This is against the teaching of Christ, and the teachings of many religions including Islam!

  18. Terry,

    In Sheila’s 3rd paragraph from the bottom, it states;

    “As I listened to the political debates Americans have been having this year, I’ve really missed the kinds of thoughtful analyses and debates I heard from my students. Conspiracy theories that provide easily identified “bad guys” and heroes, religious dogmas that impose answers rather than helping adherents wrestle with important questions, insistence upon categorizing everyone as “us” or “them” –these are all hallmarks of a flight from genuine engagement and civic responsibility.”

    So my point was, the men that were mentioned in Sheila’s thread, were all students of religion! They were all pro religion. There must’ve been a reason for it. So, I went that route to point out that very thing!

  19. Who decides?

    The enemy decides. Our enemy decides.

    I purport that weak enemies will not require our country be as cohesive and united as will strong enemies. Therefore, it is important to measure the strength and intent of our enemies accurately and honestly. It would be immensely dangerous to allow cohesiveness and cooperation in the US to wither before the greed and selfishness of individualism while China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea gather the strength and the will to do us harm.

    The quality of US unity is far more vital to preserving US sovereignty than to soothing Me-First ambitions and babying individual egos. Sure, we can decide to sacrifice small pieces of cooperation for the sake of producing quality individualism; we can make that decision unilaterally without regard for the quality of our national strength; but we cannot do it without increasing our enemies’ prospects and decreasing the promise of our national existence.

    Right. It is our choice: feed individualism or feed cooperation, but the choice reeks of ignorance and national suicide if made on the basis of gentility, ethics, faith, kindness, love, or high-mindedness, none of which takes into account the existential threat assembling (or dissembling) outside our borders.

    So, put away your gentility, ethics, faith, kindness, love, and high-mindedness, and get real; be practical; discard the romantic and be unidealistic; be pragmatic, rational, realistic and find a way to grow individual strength without giving in to the cancer of individuality. Grow cohesiveness and unity in such a way that individual strength is nurtured also. But do not sacrifice a nation 329,999,999 people for the sake of one individualist.

  20. To go off topic a bit with a story in re Aristotle > Aristotle, my favorite Greek, was crafty in more ways than one. Thus King Philip of Macedon, first uniting conqueror of all the Greek city-states, had a son named Alexander by his third wife, Cleopatra (not the later Cleopatra who consorted with Marc and Julius during the Roman era), a son who would later conquer the then known world and become known as Alexander the Great. King Philip asked Aristotle (a nominal slave as an Athenian) to come north to Macedon to educate and mentor his son Alexander. Aristotle drove a stiff bargain, agreeing to come to Macedon and taking on the task Philip set forth, but on several conditions, one of which was that King Philip remove the enslavement of the inhabitants of the town where he lived (a suburb of Athens the city). The king agreed, Aristotle came north, started an academy, and mentored and educated young Alexander and others there in the intellectual and other non-martial arts.

    Alexander then proceeded to conquer the then known world and died at age 33 (some say 32) of war wounds or disease (we don’t really know), but before his premature death he established what came to be known as one of The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – The Great Library of Alexandria – where scholars with their scrolls and a treasury of the knowledge of the then known world were available for study. I like to think that this enormous contribution to ancient (and via history – modern) scholarship was the result of Aristotle’s influence over the young general who, after all, had no new worlds to conquer and could afford to make his old mentor happy with such a peaceful pursuit.

    Durant theorized that we are still within the rough outlines of Greek civilization (though lately one could rightfully inquire if are civilized at all) and I wish it were so; we need the guiding hand of a modern day Aristotle and his thoughtful system of governance to lead us to revere the common good, and the nearest I have been able to find who and what fits that description these days is Sherrod Brown of Ohio and the governance of FDR’s now-destroyed New Deal). Let’s hope to see a resurgence of Aristotelian thinking come January 20, 2021 when, hopefully, the inmates will be back in their place and order will return to the asylum.

  21. And, I might add,

    If we are looking at our societal construct borrowing from religious construct, and, the architects of modern opinion and philosophy, then that would mean their opinions and therefore their conclusions are obsolete. Why should they be taught at all? Aren’t they contaminated? The point isn’t religion per se, it’s the structure, it’s the imperfect men who controlled religious organizations to use it for a power source!

    Jesus Christ hence Christianity, pointed out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees of the Sanhedrin. They added on to the Mosaic law, dogma that was not from the original Mosaic law. Where Christ said that it became burdensome to those who adhered to the law. That’s why he said that the whole law hangs on ” love your neighbor as yourself and love God” that’s it! Because if you love your neighbor, you’re not going to do wrong to your neighbor.

    If, you love your enemy, (Matthew 5:43-44) which reads; “You heard that it was said: ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you,)” there would be a lot of peace on this planet.

    Since we’ve given way to fanaticism, Romans the 13th chapter telling us to respect the superior authorities has been thrown into the trash. Where wearing a mask is considered practically soul stealing, LOL! That’s were men have Bastardized religion just as they have done with the Constitution!

  22. An observation of mine is that to a large degree the gun rights argument prevalent during Obama’s time has been replaced in the public domain by the pandemic mask issue. Both are clearly individual vs public rights examples.

    In my mind any issue like this can be sorted out using the eminently logical directive that people are free up to the point where they intrude on the same freedom of others.

    As a potential victim of the pandemic the wearing of masks and socially distancing give me some control over not only my fate but the fate of others. People who choose not to follow those simple precautions are focused only on controlling their own fate regardless of the cost to others. Offensive weapon collecting and mask wearing boil down to the same issue.

  23. All these comments today from dead old philosophers and sages or maybe some living ones about “Good Governance”.

    Today in the Guardian:

    Another California politician caught dining at French Laundry. (It is a upscale Restaurant).

    San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed, is under fire after it was revealed that she attended a birthday party at the restaurant in Napa Valley, just one night after Governor Gavin Newsom did the same.

    Breed’s party of eight met at the famed restaurant on 7 November to celebrate the birthday of Gorretti Lo Lui, a local socialite whose husband, Lawrence Lui, is a major hotel developer, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

    “Breed’s dinner at an opulent restaurant – amid an economic catastrophe that’s shuttered countless small businesses and stretched the lines at local food banks to new lengths – might not have technically violated the rules, but it isn’t a great look,” wrote Chronicle columnist Heather Knight, who broke the story.

    The French Laundry offers reservations for a number of different dining experiences, including outside dining with a tasting menu for $350 per person, indoor dining for $450 per person, or a white truffle and caviar dinner for $1,200 per person.

    Newsom faced criticism after it was revealed that he and 11 other guests celebrated the birthday of a lobbyist, Jason Kinney, at the French Laundry in early November.

    Earlier on Tuesday, the mayor of San Jose, Sam Liccardo, apologized for attending a Thanksgiving dinner with family members from five households – more than state regulations allowed.
    How exciting parties with politicians, socialites and lobbyists and the indoor cheap seats are $450 per person.

    Some people here get all bent out of shape about the non-voters. I understand them (the non-voters), when you read stories like these about our political aristocracy, you get a sinking feeling. Our political Aristocracy is with few exceptions as out of touch as the Royalty of Europe was in the 19th Century.

    Yes, dead old philosophers and sages tell us how it is supposed to work in excruciating detail, read this, read that and then – There is How it Really Works.

  24. ML,

    It’s nice to know hypocrisy isn’t just a Republican dogma it’s a political dogma including Democrats without a doubt.

    It seems to me, these politicians are telling their compatriots to “let them eat cake!”

    The level of stupidity is astounding, or, maybe they just don’t care! Because you would think that somebody would rat them out for their hypocrisy, but obviously, like I said, they either were just too stupid or just don’t care.

    Viva la revolucion ??

  25. Scripture and thinkers who wrote about Jesus’s experience is one thing; knowing about the experience is quite another.

    I’m wondering if any of the texts being hidden by the Catholic church contain his actual experiences. Wouldn’t the church want to conceal that from commoners?

  26. ML, that wealth redistribution up creates an aristocracy has been true for time immemorial. It’s not necessary to assign it as an artifact of government or business or religious/charitable institutions because aristocracy encompasses all of them always and that’s how it comes to be. Inequitable wealth distribution makes rules to sustain itself at the expense of workers who create all of the wealth for everyone.

    It took 250 years but King George ultimately won the Revolutionary War.

  27. If Jesus had actually ascended beyond his physical form (man) to divine energy; sharing the process with other humans would be his purpose.

    Yes or no?

  28. Todd,

    People will gravitate towards what they want to believe! The Vatican was well aware of that, and, when Emperor Constantine developed the Roman church, he included dogma from philosophers that were not Christian! This is in the churches history and I’m sure in their libraries at the Vatican. Even though the words of Scripture have not really changed over the millennia, the manipulation of Scripture and the misinterpretation of words and phrases has confused some and excited others.

    Christ never said everyone is going to heaven, and he never said everyone is going to hell. But, for the church to claim, everyone has a soul that lived on, well, that was very advantageous to the church! Because they could control humanity and their actions by the caret or the stick. If you’re good, if you contribute well to the church, you’re going to go to heaven, right! If you are bad, you’re going to go to hell and suffer an eternal torment, right! But, if you’re bad and you repent and give the church a lot of money, you can buy your way into heaven, right! None of this is in Scripture, but during the dark ages, people were not allowed to read the Bible under penalty of death. Biblical translations were not available for the average layperson, so they would have to get their information from church representatives.

    That way, the message could be controlled by the church. The church absolutely knows that what they are teaching is false doctrine, I have a cousin who is a Catholic priest and he admits it himself! But, they feel that the structure or the religious construct is better than none at all. They are afraid to reveal the lies they have told because that would make them more of a target and more of a problem and not the solution.

    So, the point is, all of these philosophers from history, these lettered men, believed in religious dogma that was steeped not in truth, but false doctrine! The Christian church today is nothing even remotely like the original Christian congregations in Ephesus, or Thessalonica, or Rome, or Philippi, or Corinth, or Galatia, or Laodicea, or Iconium, or Lystra to name a few. Some of these people were of the Jewish faith and some were pagan/Gentile. They all converted to Christ’s law through the apostles and others that followed Christ commission to preach and teach, to become evangelizers.

    But, after the death of the apostles, and the hijacking of Christianity by Emperor Constantine (325 A.D. Nicene counsel.), the church changed! It became political rather than spiritual, and, the church added books to Scripture that was anti-canical, or against Bible canon. So there’s that. The infusion of pagan beliefs and their corresponding dates were important to get conversions and followers. They called it ties that bind. And they knew that they could control the population United in a particular faith. Whether it’s doctrine was truthful or not was beside the point.

  29. Pretty much an old dead white male reading list. Argh. I wonder what wisdom women and BIPOC have to share?

  30. When you read writings declaring what should be, when you think of what should be, when you discuss what should be, when you are obsessed with what should be, when you memorize directives for what should be, when your heroes are giants of the what was and the what should be world, you are a traitor to what is and to what will be.

    Accordingly, what will be will surely be your undoing. The most reliable way to survive what is and what will be is to concern yourself with what is, what will be, and what gets results. Academics need to stop showing off their recall and pay attention to reality: cipher instead the signs of the real world.

    One cannot think one’s way through the real world while quoting those who speak of the imaginary worlds of should and was.

  31. Larry,

    I ask this about higher education academics, for which I am not one; why do they need the protection of a union and tenure while they espouse “free markets” and “labor markets” for everyone else?

    I’ll wait here.

  32. Ill wait too, but in that, im more likely to enjoy a home cooked meal,and demand we carry via name, any new politician,who wears a working persons cloths and says weve had enough french laundry types in goverment.. screw the rnc,dnc,dscc,etc,etc, over a choice we never make..this is typical campaign dinning..

  33. Todd,

    Good point!

    Having tenure in the educational field, it’s kind of like being a made man in the mob!

    Folks go along to get along! No matter what their beliefs are, or that they’ve been raised with, or what they might really feel. Folks don’t like to be ostracized! So those who have the authority educational wise or any otherwise, usually control that sort of thing.

    In a free society one should not be demonized for particular beliefs whatever they may be, but, mankind isn’t wired that way for the most part. Civil society is a union of round pegs and square holes bound by the common belief of equality and compassion for their fellow man to make society work. To have access to education and healthcare and housing and food and freedom to live life as they see fit as long as it does not co-opt their neighbor.

    When people see their lives being enhanced and made better by the societal construct, they tend to ride the wave.

    Unfortunately, bigotry and prejudice sneaks in by men who want to divide and conquer, and those individuals, in some, cases are at the top of the food chain so to speak, the more educated.

    To be part of the gang, or the group, you can’t have or practice particular beliefs, if you do, then you are ostracized! in other words, you can debate but as long as you debate on the same side of the coin and not from the flip side.

    In religion, politics, and even education, we’ve become intolerant. ?

  34. Sheila,

    Thank to you for the reading list, and also a brief on what your course was about. I will go back and see where I missed the syllabus ……..it sounds amazing and especially being led and taught by you.

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