I’m pleased to be a part of the Liberty and Power blog. You won’t see me writing much about Obama or Palin, though. I’m pretty much tone deaf with respect to politics.
Policy is different. My obsession (and also my job) is the reform of higher education, which I pursue as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. We all know that campuses lack an appreciation of liberty--of free markets, limited government, even the rule of law. They go to extreme lengths in the other direction, lauding Marxism in the guise of social justice, women’s studies, and globalization.
That’s one of the things I want to change, and I’d like your help. An organization called the Association of Core Texts and Courses is a non-ideological group that fosters the teaching of great books in colleges and universities. Okay, the group is a little timid--the leadership is uncomfortable with the term great books because of its dead white male “baggage,” so they don’t use it. But its members do love classics, they are enthusiastic teachers, and at their annual meeting every paper is supposed to include a discussion of a single work along with anything else that the author writes about.
At the last meeting (April 2008 in Plymouth, Massachusetts) there were great presentations (including a panel on science and the humanities led in Liberty Fund style by Jim Otteson); there were also a few clunkers. But here’s the point: I saw little about the classic writers on liberty--no John Stuart Mill, no Adam Smith, no Hayek. Helping these enthusiastic faculty members understand that the civilization they value is based on a tradition of liberty could have major ramifications. So--please join me in a panel or make your own proposal for a session on libertarian thinkers at the next meeting in April in Memphis.