Past Meetup

The Meaning of America

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With the election less than two weeks away, New York Philosophy will devote an evening to the meaning, reality, and future of America. This event will be an evening of political debate over beer and wine, an incendiary combination.

That Famous Quote by Franklin

Outside Independence Hall when the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ended, Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin,

"Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?"

With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded,

"A republic, if you can keep it."

That Ubiquitous Quote, Supposedly by Tytler

A democracy is always temporary in nature, it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government... A democracy will continue to exist until the time that the voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.

The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. From bondage to spiritual faith

2. From spiritual faith to great courage

3. From courage to liberty

4. From liberty to abundance

5. From abundance to complacency

6. From complacency to apathy

7. From apathy to dependence

8. From dependence back into bondage

A Personal Anecdote

One discussion I had shortly after moving to NYC over two years ago still lingers in my mind. It was at an early NY Phi Meetup, held on the rooftop of Tonic, a sports bar in East Village. One of the members in attendance that day was a NY Times reporter with decidedly strong opinions on our country.

The discussion was America and its role in the world. The member asserted that our country would truly be better off if it were split in two, with the east and west coasts forming one country and the heartland another (I guess in 2008 the latter would also include Alaska).

After a few years of living here, this sentiment is much better appreciated. As a Southerner (NC and TX), I guess I represent the ideals of the heartland in its broadest definition. The disparate political viewpoints of NYC inhabitants make city living just that much more fun :-)

With the elections around the corner, I thought it worthwhile and suitable to ponder the meaning and future of America.

Discussion Topics

- America's ideals and reality
- Honor and patriotism
- The future of capitalism
- The future of liberal democracy
- The 2008 election

Agenda

We will have a social hour from 6:00-7:00 PM. The discussion rounds will then begin.

There will be several rounds of discussions in small groups. We will rotate between rounds.

Irish Rogue

We have the entire upstairs exclusively for this event. The stairs to the second floor are located in the rear of the bar.