The Great Connections Seminar

The Great Connections Seminar
Discussing ethics

Monday, May 7, 2012

Why Colleges Don't Teach the Federalist Papers

Peter Berkowitz of Hoover examines the import - and ignorance - of The Federalist Papers
"In the misguided quest to mold political science to the shape of the natural sciences, many scholars disdainfully dismiss The Federalist—indeed, all works of ideas—as mere journalism or literary studies which, lacking scientific rigor, can't yield genuine knowledge....By robbing students of the chance to acquire a truly liberal education, our universities also deprive the nation of a citizenry well-acquainted with our Constitution's enduring principles."
This "scientistic" attitude is the long-range result of philosophy's abdication from epistemology, which has left us bereft of tools to clearly determine when we know something from observation, inference, and deduction.
The fact that many law schools, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and Berkeley, do not include these works in their course of study is appalling, but explains the way far too many lawyers are willing to run roughshod over the Constitution. 
The Federalist should be taught in high school as well as college, along with so many other original documents of American history and politics that have been replaced by leftist revisionism, such as Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States.


carterson2 said...

We should change the "Pledge of Allegiance" to "the Pledge of Allegiance to the Constitution".

I need to get my 14 yr old to read the Federalist papers.

Marsha Familaro Enright said...

Not a bad idea!

Although published in the newspapers of the time, The Federalist Papers are difficult reading today, and not only because of the old-fashioned language. Yet, they're just the kind of reading that one can learn so much from, not only in content, but style and reasoning.

I'm reading The Founders and the Classics, which recounts how the learned men of the time loved reading the classics - in Greek and Latin, no less - because they learned so much from them.

Liz said...

the pledge of allegiance was written by francis bellamy, a christian socialist, to sell flags to public schools. it originally read "i pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." bellamy originally wanted to add "equality" in with liberty and justice, but felt it would be too controversial. we saluted using the bellamy salute (a right hand extended out towards the flag) until 1942, after arguments that the nazis were using the same salute (they were, essentially). "under god" was not added until 1954. the point being, the pledge of allegiance has no significance whatsoever with patriotism, nor does it encompass any of the ways in which this country is governed.

james pruett said...

Writing essay.

Marsha Familaro Enright said...

Liz - so sorry for the ridiculously late reply. Thanks for the fascinating history!

Marsha Familaro Enright said...

James - looking forward to the essay.