Understanding Self-Government
Spring, 2018
Teacher: Jim Bolner, Sr. - jimbolnersr @ gmail.com 



I. Introduction

            Human Nature and Autonomy

            Understanding Ourselves: Human Self-Awareness

            Family and Society

            The Human Condition: Conflict for Resources and Space


II. The Human Search for Order

            Human Consciousness and the Search for Order and Meaning

            Organizing Society: Theocracy, Oligarchy, and Democracy

            The Search for True Autonomy

            The Search for Conflict Resolution


III. Individualism

            The Individual as Free

            True Individualism

            Limits on Individualism


IV. Collectivism

            The Necessity of Collectivism

            The Family and the Tribe

            The Ethnic State


V. Forms of Government

            Autocracy, Direct Democracy, Representative Government

            The Idea of a State of Nature

            Is Conflict Inevitable?

            Idea of a Social Contract


VI. The Western Secular Experiment

            From Divine Right to Social Contract

            Understanding Secularism

            Problems with Theocracy

            Problems with Secularism

Resources on the Internet

American Government - A textbook --from ushistory.org

Freedom House --freedomhouse.org
"Freedom House's programs support human rights and democracy advocates in their efforts
to promote open government, defend human rights, strengthen civil society and facilitate the
free flow of information and ideas.

Interacive Map

Thomas Hobbes' State of Nature and Social Contract --from oregonstate.edu

John Locke' Political Philosophy --from oregonstate.edu

Treaties Between the United States and Native Americans --from the Avalon Project

The Mayflower Compact --from the Avalon Project

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 --from the Avalon Project

Frank Lovett, "Republicanism" --from the Stanford Enclyclopedia of Philosophy

"Understanding Self-Government" --from Canadian Northwest Territories

"What is Self-Government?" --from study.com

"Self Governance" --from wikipedia.com

"Biblical Self-Government" --from chalcedon.com

"Anarchism" --from Wikipedia

Nemad Miscevic, "Nationalism" --from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Andrew Sullivan, "America Wasn't Built for Humans" --from New York Magazine, September, 2017
"Ethics Essay of the Month: Anerew Sullivan" --from ethicsalarm.com - September 28, 2017

"On Self-Government" --from hoover.org

Jeff Rubenfield, "Of Constitutional Self-Government" --from Yale Law School

John Christman, “Autonomy in Moral and Political Philosophy”



Jane Dryden, “Autonomy,” in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Michael Reber, "American Principles of Self-Government" --from Education and Culture (2003)

Hurst Hannum, "Legal Aspects of Self-Determination" --from Encyclopedia Princentoniensis

"Self-Determination," --from Wikpedia

Voting Systems --from fairvote.org

Voting Methods --from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Christopher W. Blackwell, "Athenian Democracy: A Brief Overview" --from stoa.org

Robert A. Dahl, "Democracy" --from britannica.com
Fundamental Questions

David Brooks, "The Elites Don't Get It" --from The New York Times, November 16, 2017

Pope Francis, "Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in Search of Peace" --from The Holy See 

Georgie Ann Geyer, "The Presidents Reflects the Worst in Us" --from The Morning Advocate, November 25, 2017

Barton Swain, "Barton Swain on Political Books" --from The Wall Street Journal, November 24, 2017

"Subsidiarity" --from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Thomas D. Edsall, "The Self-Destruction of American Democracy" --from The New York Times, November 30, 2017

Mark LIlla, "The End of Identity Liberalism" --from The New York Times, November 16, 2016

Editorial,  "The Tax Bill That Inequality Creatged" --from The New York Times, December 16, 2017

Ian Carter, "Positive and Negative Liberty" --from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

David Brooks, "The Glory of Democracy" --from The New York Times, December 14, 2017

Gerald Seib, "The Great--and Global--Threats Confronting Democracy" --from The Wall Street Journal,
November 21, 2017

Niall Ferguson, "In Praise of Hierarchy" --from The Wall Street Journal, January 6, 2018
Deidre N. McCloskey - Review of Niall Ferguson, The Square and the Tower --from The Wall Street Journal
January 13, 2018

Hans Eicholz, "Self-government and the Distinctive Character of American Society" --from the
Foundation for Economic Education - July 1, 2001

David Brooks, "How Democracies Fail" --from The New York Times, January 11, 2018
Tod Lindberg - Review of Patrick J. Deneen, Why Liberalism Failed - from The Wall Street Journal,
January 13, 2018
Patrick J. Deneen, "Unsustainable Liberalism" --from The Institute of Religion in Public Life, June, 2012

Matthew Hutson, Book Review of The Elephant in the Brain by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson (2018)

Greg Ip, "A Fractured World: Nationalism vs. the Global Liberal Order" --from The Wall Street Journal, January 23, 2018

Charter of the United Nations

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Interview - Steve Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, "Why Democracies Die" --from NPR, February 2, 2018
Steve Levitsky and Seniel Ziblatt, "How Wobbly Is Our Democracy" --from The New York Times, February 11, 2018

Mark Twain, "The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg" --from Project Gutenberg

Jelani Cobb, "State of the Resistance" --from The New Yorker, February 12 and 19, 2018

Norm Orenstein, "American Kakistocracy" --from The Atlantic - October 9, 2017

Alan Pinker, "The Enlightenment is Working" --from The Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2018

Max Roser, "Democracy" --from ourworldindata.org 

David Brooks, "The End of the Two-Party System" --from The New York Times, February 13, 2018

Michael Gerson, "Trump Shuns Nobility of Public Life" --from The Morning Advocate, February 14, 2018

Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels, Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive
Government -- [Summary and Analysis] --from Google Books

Andreas Schedler, "Elections Without Democracy: The Menu of Manipulation" --from Project Muse

John Lloyd, "Commentary: How Democracy's Spread Dashed Dreams of Liberalism" -- Reuters, February 16,

Thomas Picketty, "Brahmin Left vs Merchant Right: Rising Inequality and the Changing Structure of
Political Conflict"

William Galston, "The Clear and Present Danger of Donald Trump" --from The Wall Street Journal,
February 21, 2018

Robert E. West,  "English Irish Slaves" --Global Research (2016)

The Trump Tweeter Archive --from the Trump Tweeter Archive

Fareed Zackaria, "The Rise of Illiberal Democracy" --from Foreign Affairs, 1997

"Freedom in the World: Democracy in Crisis" --from Freedom House, 2018

"Compulsory Voting" --from Wikipedia

Laurence Steinbert, "Why We Should Lower the Voting Age to 16" --from The New York Times,
March 2, 2018

"Presidential Authority Over Trace: Imposing Tariffs and Duties" --from the Congressional Reference Service (2016)

"Putin's Revenge" --from PBS, "Frontline," October 25, 2017

"American's Greatest Threat: Vladimir Putin" --from the history.com, February 28, 2018

Justice Robert H. Jackson, Concurring Opinion in Dennis v. United States (1951) --from Cornell Legal Information

Barton Swaim, "The Right Way to Defend Democracy" --from The Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2018

"Vote: That's Just What They Don't Want You to Do"  --Editorial, New York Times, March 11, 2018

David Brooks, "The Chaos After Trump" --from The New York Times, March 5, 2018

"Initiative, Referendum and Recall" --from the National Conference of State Legislatures

"History of Initiative and Referendum in the United States" --from Ballotpedia.org

William A. Galston, "Populism's Challenge to Democracy" --from The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2018

Justice Robert H. Jackson, Concurring in Dennis v. United States (1951)

Nicole Perlroth and David E. Sanger, "Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power
Plants, U.S. Says"
--from The New York Times, March 15, 2018

Cheery, upbeat websites...
"We hope that this website leads to a greater appreciation of the improving state of the world and stimulates
an intelligent debate on the drivers of human progress."

...Gapminder Foundation "...promotes sustainable global development and achievement of the United
Nations Millennium Development
Goals by increased use and understanding of statistics and other
information about social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels."

"Our World in Data
 is an online publication that shows how living conditions are changing. The aim is to
give a global overview and to show changes over the very long run, so that we can see where we are
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we can seek more of what works."