May 13 | Understanding Conservatism: The Search for Shared Beliefs
Reading essays by David Hume, Edmund Burke, Winston Churchill, James Madison, Friedrich Hayek and many others, we’ll study major tenets of conservatism. What conservative principles have stood the test of time? Are these losing relevance today? What new ideas are coming to the fore? These are not idle questions. Understanding conservatism should make us more patient, compassionate stewards of our culture and democracy regardless of our political persuasion.
This seminar will be co-led by John Riley and Gary Schoepfel, and has a 16-participant limit. It will be read-as-we-go, with selected essays from the anthology discussed each week.
When: Four weekly sessions on Thursdays at 7 p.m. Eastern, starting May 13, 2021
Duration: 2 hours per session
Cost: C$275 plus 13% HST (approx. US$215 plus 13% HST)
Group Size: 16-participant limit.
How: Zoom; you will receive joining instructions via email
All seminar payments are nonrefundable. If you are interested in applying your Toronto Pursuits 2020 deposit to this seminar, please contact us.
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John Riley has been conducting seminars on political philosophy for over 35 years. As an instructor for Benedictine University and Morton College, John focused courses on the governing systems of ancient Greece and seminal works of 19th-century political rhetoric.
Gary Schoepfel is a lover of beers, a Wagner enthusiast, kayaker, a reasonably good listener, faculty member at Harrison Middleton University, former VP of the Great Books Foundation, and longtime Classical Pursuits leader.
Old things need not be therefore true.
O brother men, nor yet the new:
Ah! Still awhile the old thought retain,
And yet consider it again.
— Arthur Hugh Clough
Conservatism: An Anthology of Social and Political Thought from David Hume to the Present, edited by Jerry Z. Muller
(Princeton University Press, 1997)
We encourage you to support local bookstores or other independent sellers.
In the US and the UK, try Bookshop.org World of Books, or Ebooks (electronic books only)
In the US and Canada, try Powell’s Books, IndieBound, and Thiftbooks (used books only in Canada)
In Canada, try McNally Robinson or Indigo
In 1997, Jerry Muller, editor of the anthology used in this seminar, opens with “this book is published at a time when the word ‘conservative’ is on many lips—whether as a label of honor or as an epithet.” He could have written these words yesterday. One small reason that controversy has always followed conservatism is that its social and political ideas throughout the centuries have been marked by fascinating and frustrating transformations. Whether it is the role of free markets or sovereign rulers, conservatives have condemned what they earlier praised, or lauded what they earlier loathed. What conservative principles have stood the test of time? Are they rapidly losing relevance today? These are not idle questions. Understanding the bedrock tenets of conservatism should make us more patient, compassionate stewards of our culture and democracy regardless of our political persuasion.
Using essays by David Hume, Edmund Burke, James Fitzjames Stephen, W.H. Mallock, Winston Churchill, James Madison, Friedrich Hayek and many others, this seminar takes a perspective on conservatism that goes beyond political science to include vital cultural and philosophical issues. All affiliations are welcome! Just keep in mind that so often the opposite of conservative is not liberal … but radical.
For your privacy, all our Zoom seminars are password-protected and are never recorded. All online seminar payments are nonrefundable.
“It is in vain to say, that all governments are or should be, at first, founded on consent …
I maintain, that human affairs will never admit of this consent; seldom of the appearance of it.”
–David Hume, “Of the Original Contract” (1748)
Image credit: Matthew G. Bisanz on Wikipedia
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Standard registration, Toronto Pursuits 2020 credit