Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Open learning courtesy of Yale

Yale, putting a fraction of its endowment to good use, has launched the Open Yale Courses web site.

Containing free video and audio files of professors' lectures, the site is the answer to a technologist's dream of cheap, high-quality education for everyone with an internet connection.

Right now I am working my way through Prof. Stephen B. Smith's Introduction to Political Philosophy. Like my PoliSci professor at CU-Boulder Thad Tecza, Smith earned his doctorate at Chicago University and displays all sorts of crypto-Straussian habits.

Other promising offerings in the Liberal Arts include Prof. Donald Kagan's Introduction to Ancient Greek History and Prof. Amy Hungerford's The American Novel Since 1945, which presents two lectures on Flannery O'Connor's disturbing novel Wise Blood.

Unfortunately the science classes are of more limited availability.

But it's ungrateful to complain now that anyone can audit a semester of Ivy League courses.

Addendum:

OnlineUniversities.com provides links to 100 other open lectures at Harvard, MIT, and other prominent universities.

7 comments:

WLindsayWheeler said...

Thanks for the heads up. I will also take up these courses, sounds interesting.

But I will have to take a lot of this with a grain a salt. I don't trust Yale and not a professor who writes a book on "Liberalism". Furthermore, the course ends with many sessions on "democracy" the worst form of government. I see no courses on Monarchism, the longest running and most successful form of government. I don't see the Byzantine Empire that lasted over 1000 years. But it does sound like he has read Paul A. Rahe and may be a student of his.

Catholicism is connected with Monarchy and I would like to see a course in political science about Monarchy.

WLindsayWheeler said...

This professor is way too liberal. In his introduction, he makes a point of identifying something called an "aristocratic republic" and "democratic republic" which are all oxymorons. The word "politiea" has many meanings but what this professor gravely misses is that politiea means "society" not regime. When the whole society is engaged in governing, a mixed government, it is called a politiea; i.e. a republic. A republic is mixed government.

He just said there has never been a perfect "regime". Sparta was the perfect regime. Plato and Socrates both admired the Spartans. The Cretans and Spartans were admired by the whole Mediteriannean.

In his intro, is the typical, the modern mind is sovereign. Forget authority. Do your own thing. All of this is anti-Western Civilization. He is channeling Jacques Derrida and his deconstructionism ideology. This is frightful to say the least.

Thank God, I don't go to college. No one should.

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WLindsayWheeler said...

The second lesson by Prof. Smith is excellent. He nails Socrates. He attacks the myth that the lesson of the Trial of Socrates is about "Free Speech" which it isn't. He reads Socrates as Plato saw him, which is good. I liked this second lesson very very much. Brilliant.

Though I wish he would have strengthened the part that Socrates opposed democracy and hated democracy. Prof. Smith is a democraphile and he won't say anything bad about it.

WLindsayWheeler said...

I am up to the fourth course. He is brilliant and friendly to Plato. I like that. He course material is good so far. It is a far cry from his intro.

The Introduction of his is like one huge disclaimer that is obligatory for anybody teaching the classics. Like it has to be read to everybody to "protect them" from the reactionary stuff in Plato and Aristotle.

I liked his insights on the beginning of Plato; "going down to the Pireaus". Excellent. I like how he discovered that the characters in Plato's Republic were all forms of different types of men.

Thank you again for posting this wonderful stuff. I like that you posted on Metternich and these online courses. Thank you.

WLindsayWheeler said...

Prof. Smith is a Leo Straussian.

WLindsayWheeler said...

Prof. Smith in his Machiavelli part, discusses Machiavelli's insight on how Christianity emasculates society in general.

Leon Podles also wrote a book on this line called "The Church Impotent, The Feminization of Christianity".

I also concur with these gentlemen on the somehow emasculating effect of Christianity. Something is wrong here. There is an overemphasis on the somewhat soft topics that cause emasculation. It doesn't help that many of the clergy themselves, overly intelligent, are mostly effeminate and weak.

I wonder if you would answer Machiavelli's charges. Paul A. Rahe has written an excellent expose on Machiavelli as a follower of Democritus, the ancient Greek atheist. Machiavelli was not a Christian.

I offer my essay: Machiavelli's Errors.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

I am up to the Locke discourses.

This course is NOT about Political Science. This course is about Enlightenment ideology that destroyed the Old Order, the Greek Classical Christian Order.

I know Machiavelli. He was a admirer of Lucretius; Lucretius the Epicurean. Machiavelli purposely changed the definitions of words to fit "new modes and orders". (q.v. Revolution within the form)

Hobbes purposely rejected Aristotle. Aristotle taught that man was a social animal. Hobbes rejected that and posited man is "an individual".

This idea of man is an individual is based on Democritus and his free moving atoms.

Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, all hated Christianity. Changed politics to be about "Liberty" and "The Individual". These are all Enlightenment concepts that are about deconstructing the Old Order and replacing it with the Novus Ordo!

Nothing of the Enlightenment is Christian! This is all based on the Atheist Democritus and upon Epicurianism.

This course is laying out the Enlightenment ideology that made the "Modern world". It is not Christian; it is not even Western Culture or Civilization for they all rejected the Greeks the founders of Western Civilization and Culture.

Individualism is not Western Culture or Western Civilization.

Man is a social animal. The family is the basic unity---NOT the individual. Nature proves that. Men act in groups. Hobbes really does not know "the state of nature". Hobbes is pushing an ideology, that of Jewish Masonic Kabbalistic notions.

This course is an insight to the evil perpetrated upon us by Enlightenment, read Gnostic heresy.

Americanism is a great evil and is a heresy. It has to be condemned hook line and sinker. Americanism, the fruit of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, and Montesque, is Nihilism.