The American Enlightenment
The 2012 Elections & Party Politics in light of the
Political Philosophy of the Founding Fathers
I believe we discussed at the last meeting that we would at this and next month’s meeting look at the historical roots of American political philosophy and its various applications/bastardizations in the 2012 elections and the acrimonious contemporary political landscape.
It seems that both U.S. parties are currently in consensus on at least one “entitlement” issue: that they are both exclusively “entitled” to bandy about fervent philosophical misconceptions and half-truths about what god and the founding fathers had in mind to justify their own political aspirations... Exclusively self-anointing their particular brand of "political philosophy" and speaking with a voice of near divine justification while thoughtlessly wielding terms such as liberty, freedom, American ideals, inalienable rights, and if not truth, at least justice and the American way... With both parties claiming implicit stakes so high as to challenge our very continued way of life and that of all future generations.
The September reading will examine the founding historical roots of American political philosophy, and seek to understand how it has devolved the current American political scene into the most divisive Government since the antebellum Congress of the Civil War. In fact, one wonders that if the country were now capable of neatly dividing into geographically proximate red and blue states, whether we might not indeed see a movement toward succession as solution.
At any rate there are clearly delineated positions between the two parties and political philosophies; ones well rooted in the American Enlightenment period. The reading is necessarily short given the time, and secondary in nature given the inability to find a primary source philosophical treatise that was comprehensive enough to spur a broad-based “fair and balanced” discussion. The short reading is: American Enlightenment Thought from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and can be found at http://www.iep.utm.edu/amer-enl/