Discussion Topics for
"Why We Need a
Conservative Forum for Unitarian Universalists (CFUU)"
A workshop held at the 2005
SouthWest Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute (SWUUSI)
Although the workshop title refers to the CFUU, the CFUU is primarily an
Internet presence. At the Bay Area UU Church
(BAUUC), we have a Conservative Covenant Group (CCG) which holds monthly
face-to-face meetings, and which served as a model for this workshop. The
workshop consisted primarily of group discussion.
Here is some background information on the CFUU and the Bay
Area UU Church's (BAUUC) Conservative Covenant Group (CCG):
Update (5-28-2012): CFUU on
BAUUC CCG FAQ
The CCG contributed a short presentation
(homily) to a BAUUC service on covenant groups. (Largely adapted from our FAQ.)
Here are some essays we read at least excerpts from:
"The Present Moment: The Crisis in the Political Theology of Liberal Religion," by (UU) Rev. Tom Schade
"Skytalides Basket," by (UU) Rev. Eric Johnson (Lt. JG, USN)
"When a Majority Feels Persecuted," by yours truly
Here are some essays we talked about but did not necessarily read:
"Why Unitarian Universalism is Dying," by (UU) Rev. Davidson Loehr
"Ideology and Sustainability," (Ideological tribalism, ie. What does abortion have to do with nuclear power?) by John McCarthy (the Stanford computer scientist)
"All Ends of the Spectrum," by Jerry Pournelle (criticizing the left-right spectrum as a bad model)
Steven Den Beste on the inadequacy of the
My "conservation of irrationality" argument is in the postscript of this "Polyatheism" sermon
I discuss credence goods and churches as "clubs" under economic theory in
"Is Rational Religion Possible?"
I discuss Progressivism as a pseudo-religion in
"The Care and Feeding of Scapegoats".
review of Gertrude Himmelfarb's THE ROADS TO
MODERNITY: THE BRITISH, FRENCH, AND AMERICAN ENLIGHTENMENTS
"Thinking of Jackasses," by Marc Cooper, contributing editor of The Nation (book review on George Lakoff, et al)
Here are some additional essays I recommend:
"Notes on Nationalism,"
by George Orwell (click on "nationalism" on the left). See also
"Politics and the
Steven Den Beste on the current war as a
Porphyrogenitus discusses the
of Manzikurt (Byzantium vs. Seljuk Turks) as a scary historical analogy
for the red state vs. blue state conflict. [Link rot. Try this
one. My comments here.]
Haim Harari with an Israeli view of the terrorism problem
Steven Den Beste has a strategic overview of the current war:
Richard Fernandez has "Three Conjectures" on the likely consequences if terrorists aquire nuclear weapons.
Lee Harris, Marx Without the Realism:
The intellectual roots of America-bashing
Eric S. Raymond's essay on "Gramscian Damage" (anti-Americanism as warmed-over Soviet propaganda)
The subject of libertarianism came up in the context of being a subset of "conservatism."
"Neolibertarian" QandO blog.
have an article on the spoiler problem in third party politics in Issue #2 of
"The New Libertarian," which is a free download from the QandO site. (Here's
version.) Jon Henke's "neolibertarianism" has been described as
"libertarianism mixed with sanity."
My version of libertarianism: "The Dog Ate my
Addendum, 5-28-2012: The BAUUC CCG is very interested in the work of
Jonathan Haidt, University of Virginia psychologist and author of
The Happiness Hypothesis and The Righteous Mind.
- If you search YouTube for 'Jonathan Haidt PabloNoriega89' you'll
find the following lecture in 7 parts.
Part 1 -
Part 2 -
Part 3 -
Part 4 -
Part 5 -
Part 6 -
- Here is Dr. Haidt on "The Edge" website,
Psychology and the Misunderstanding of Religion. As a follow-on, he
plays the role of Ivanhoe, breaking lances with David Sloan Wilson, Michael
Shermer, Sam Harris, PZ Myers, and Marc D. Hauser in
- Here is the website for
The Happiness Hypothesis.
and chapter 4.
Chapter 1 is where he explains his key "elephant" metaphor. Haidt likens the
conscious mind to a man riding an elephant, who has to train the elephant, and
even then has only limited authority over it. Chapter 4 is about hypocrisy.
His critique of moral pedagogy, chapter 8, unfortunately, is not webbed.
- Here he is on
interviewed by Robert Wright, complaining about the "Standard Social Science
Model". Here he is doing it again with
Will Wilkinson. And here is a
- Here he is giving an hour lecture on The Righteous Mind.
University of Toronto clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson is also worth a listen. He has a
podcast and a lot of lectures on YouTube.
This is a good one. I also like the
Maps of Meaning lectures, especially 6, 7, and 11. Note also the ones on
free speech and
Addendum, 7-22-2012: I was asked for names and links to some of the books and articles the BAUUC CCG has been talking about, or talking about talking about, recently.
- Today's rant, entitled "Epistemology for Engineers" (synopsis), was a reaction to the Jerry Pournelle's "All Ends of the Spectrum", above. The above Orwell essay on the English language also came up recently.
- There was a remarkably reasonable article, of all places, in Cracked Magazine:
Things Christians and Atheists Can and Must Agree On. This brings to mind Eliezer Yudkowsky's essay on
Bayescraft, and a lecture to the Va. Tech Philosophy Club many years ago by I. J. Good on what makes for a good theory (synopsis).
- I recommend two short essays by Friedrich Hayek:
The Use of Knowledge in Society and
Why I am Not a Conservative. We also briefly discussed
The Road to Serfdom. I'm interested in The Fatal Conceit, but have not read it.
- Thomas Sowell's A Conflict of Visions keeps coming up, usually with some pushback from the John McCarthy essay noted above. Sowell's Markets and Minorities also came up recently.
- Angelo Codevilla's name came up in the context of "What is a neoreactionary?"
Arnold Kling explains here. Here is
my review of Codevilla's book, The Ruling Class.
- Bryan Caplan's The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies keeps coming up. I presented
a review of it a while back, but have added some material since then on the news media. Caplan warns of "rational irrationality".
- I recommend The Righteous Mind, by Jonathan Haidt. See above.
- I recommend chapters 8 (environmentalism) and 12 (public education) of Be the Solution, by Michael Strong. Here is
- The topic of fascism keeps coming up. Here is Sheldon Richman's article at the
Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, which inspired
this Venn diagram. Here is
Arnold Kling's review of Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism (here are my comments). Note also Bryan Caplan's reference to Hermann Rauschning ("We don't need to take your cow..."). (I think this is the correct quotation.)
- David Reich, the former editor of the UU magazine, The World, wrote a thinly fictionalized account of his time there,
The Antiracism Trainings. Here is a pretty good review of it, although the reviewer didn't seem to realize that it was only superficially fiction. My brief comments here. One of the themes in the book was the prevalance of fallacies of ambiguity in the use of the word, "racism". Several of us also recommend Larry Elder's The Ten Things You Can't Say in America and Henry Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson (free on line).
- Other people recommend The Law, by Frederic Bastiat
(free on line), and
The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar, by Murray Rothbard (also
free on line). I am interested in Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville, but have not read it.
- Note that George Mason University is a hotbed of libertarian economics. Bryan Caplan, Arnold Kling, and David Henderson (the guy behind the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics) blog at EconLog. Russ Roberts has EconTalk podcasts with guests such as Bruce Yandle of
Bootleggers and Baptists fame. Roberts and Don Boudreaux blog at
Iannaccone used to work there at the Center for the Economic Study of Religion.
Here's a recent lecture by Iannaccone relating to terrorism.
- I've been threatening to present book reviews of either There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters, by Claire Berlinski, or The Theory of Moral Sentiments, by Adam Smith
(Dan Klein podcast series here).
- I also recommend this Bruce Ramsey article on
Why do we call ourselves "Conservative" when no one really likes that name? An excerpt from an email exchange on some
proposed name changes.