Historian to discuss ‘Memory, Gratitude and Liberal Learning’

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Mark A. Kalthoff

Mark A. Kalthoff, the Henry Salvatori Chair in History at Hillsdale College, will give a public lecture on the CU-Boulder campus in November.

Kalthoff’s presentation is titled “Grateful (for the) Dead? Memory, Gratitude, and Liberal Learning.” The event is scheduled for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 9 in the British Studies Room in Norlin Library on the CU-Boulder campus.

Kalthoff, who earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University, is professor and chairman
of the Hillsdale College Department of History. He appears at the invitation of Bradley F. Birzer, the 2014-15 visiting scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The British Studies Room is on the fifth floor of Norlin Library, room M549. The room is wheelchair-accessible from the west entrance of Norlin via elevator to the fifth floor, but special arrangements to use this elevator must be made with library staff in advance.

Parking is available on Pleasant Street north of Norlin Library and in lot 380. After 5 p.m., the entrance gate east of Macky Auditorium and west of Sewall Hall provides access for $3.

There is also city metered parking along University Avenue north and west of Macky. City meters are free after 6 p.m.; university meters are free after 5 p.m.

Charles Murray Speaking Tonight

Charles-Murray

Charles Murray, American Enterprise Institute

It’s an honor to announce that one of the finest thinkers and scholars of our age, Charles Murray, will be speaking tonight at CU.  The event is being sponsored by (mostly) the American Enterprise Institute of Washington, D.C., the AEI Students of CU (led by the grand Connor Smith), and (only very slightly) the CU CTP.

Murray, a renowned if controversial figure, is author of books such as In Pursuit (my personal favorite), Losing Ground, The Bell Curve, and Coming Apart.

I’ve also had the privilege to see him lecture several times over the last 25 years.  He is, truly, one of the most natural of speakers I’ve ever encountered.  So, if for no other reason, come see a master of oratory tonight.

Details:

  • When: Wednesday, October 29th at 7:30 pm
  • Where: Koelbel 210 (Leeds school of business)
  • Who: All are invited!
  • Food will be provided

A Report on Last Night’s Congressional Candidate Debate (Colorado 2nd District)

Last night, I had the great privilege of moderating the debate for the 2nd Congressional District race. I found both candidates, Jared Polis and George Leing, quite impressive as persons and as thinkers.

Polis and Leing held far more in common than I expected, but I was quite taken with Polis’s defense of civil liberties and peace, while I was equally taken with Leing’s advocacy of free enterprise. I suppose this should not be surprising given my own [l]ibertarianism and [r]epublicanism.

George Leing and Jared Polis

George Leing and Jared Polis

***

For the record, it seems worth recording the following. These were the questions presented by the three student groups involved in the debate.

CU Republicans

The transition from fossil fuels to natural gas and renewable energy resources will undoubtedly leave many Americans without work in the oil and coal refinery sectors of our economy, an issue that will surely impact the lives of thousands of Coloradans. How do you plan to help these workers transition into a more long term, energy sustainable career, if elected to the 114th United States Congress?

CU Democrats

What is your plan to make college more affordable to students in the next two years?

No Labels at CU Boulder

In the 113th US Congress there was a 16 day government shutdown; the people became disillusioned with their government yielding an undoubtedly low approval rating for congress. Can you speak to the importance of cooperation in congress and what efforts you will make to work across the aisle if you’re elected?

CU Republicans

In light of the recent conflicts in the Middle East, especially with ISIS or ISIL, what is your plan for national defense and to deal with these issues as a member of the 114th Congress of the United States?

CU Democrats

Do you support the Affordable Care Act? Why or why not?

***

Here was my official introduction, though I decided to offer it spontaneously rather than read it. This seemed more appropriate given the audience.

It is a great pleasure and deep honor to moderate tonight’s debate, participating in a process that has gone uninterrupted for well over two centuries—since the founding of the U.S. Congress under the U.S. Constitution in 1789.

On behalf of CU’s staff and faculty, I welcome each candidate here.

Being a total nerd as well as a scholar of western civilization, I can’t help but notice the names of these two men have classical origins.  Aristotle, arguably the greatest of philosophers, noted in his POLITICS that “all men, by nature, live in a polis.”

Virgil, arguably the greatest of poets, claimed that the name George was a title to be earned—a farmer, a hard working protector of what is good and true.

Tonight, we welcome Representative Jared Polis and Mr. George Leing.  Each is an honorable citizen of our republic.

Let us keep this in mind during tonight’s debate.  In the nineteenth century, Abraham Lincoln rather famously (or infamously) became involved in a political brawl—during a debate—in which he grabbed a person by his neck and pants and “allegedly tossed him ’10 or 12 feet, easily.’”

I would ask that we would be more civil.

I would also like to remind us to avoid pure ideology and partisanship.  In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller/John Hughes:

It’s not that I condone fascism. . . or any ism for that matter.  Isms in my opinion are not good.  A person should not believe in an ism.  He should believe in himself.

***

Overall, the debate was excellent, and I felt nothing but pride to be a part of the republican tradition of Congressional elections—uninterrupted—since their founding in 1789.

I’ll also take this occasion to state that I did my absolute best to remain non-partisan throughout the debate. During the brief Q&A session, I attempted to moderate questions from the audience. We had time for only four questions, and I know that several of the College Democrats—standing in the back corner (my left)—were growing quite agitated. Clueless, I walked back to them (during a Polis-Leing conversation) and asked what was wrong. They said something to the effect that I was singling out Leing supporters for the Q&A. As I denied this (rather truthfully!) and asked for suggestions, one of them said something such as “Open your eyes, old man.” I responded, “that doesn’t help me.”

Anyway, my apologies for giving the perception of bias, but I can promise—if prejudice on my part did exist—it was not intentional. Whatever my own political leanings, I thought it crucial as an American and as a representative of the CU faculty to show no bias in any way, shape, or form.

Regardless, the debate was a great experience, overall, and I’m grateful to the various student groups for trusting me with such an honor. And, an equally huge thanks to Representative Polis and Mr. Leing for their intelligence, spiritedness, and civility.

Expert mulls ‘Making the world safe for vampires’

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James R. Otteson

James R. Otteson, executive director of the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism, will give a public lecture on the CU-Boulder campus in November.

Otteson’s presentation is titled “Making the World Safe for Vampires, Con Artists, and Shysters.” The event is scheduled for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Nov. 17 in the British Studies Room in Norlin Library on the CU-Boulder campus.

He appears at the invitation of Bradley F. Birzer, the 2014-15 visiting scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Otteson is a teaching professor of political economy at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

He received his BA from the University of Notre Dame and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He specializes in political economy, the history of moral and political philosophy and business ethics.

His books include Adam Smith’s Marketplace of Life and Actual Ethics, the latter of which won the 2007 Templeton Enterprise Award. His most recent book is The End of Socialism, which has just been released by Cambridge University Press.

The British Studies Room is on the fifth floor of Norlin Library, room M549. The room is wheelchair-accessible from the west entrance of Norlin via elevator to the fifth floor, but special arrangements to use this elevator must be made with library staff in advance.

Parking is available on Pleasant Street north of Norlin Library and in lot 380. After 5 p.m., the entrance gate east of Macky Auditorium and west of Sewall Hall provides access for $3.

There is also city metered parking along University Avenue north and west of Macky. City meters are free after 6 p.m.; university meters are free after 5 p.m.

 

Moderating the Boulder Congressional Campaign Debate

Tomorrow evening, I will be moderating the congressional campaign debate between Democratic incumbent, Jared Polis, and Republican challenger, George Leing.

220px-Jared_Polis_Official_2012153018_lgI must admit, though I’m deeply honored to be asked, I’m really not a “political” person despite my title of “Conservative.”

I’ve never missed a vote since the first election (1986) in which I was eligible to vote, however.  I belong to neither major political party (or any minor one, for that matter).  As a senior in high school, I campaigned in the gubernatorial race in Kansas, and I’ve been a part of a few anti-war protests.  Normally, I’m pretty much more interested in reading Aristotle’s Politics than being a part of it.

I do, however, believe in the [r]epublic, and I’m eager to be a part of the process.  So, let the debate begin!

Details:
Time: 6 pm
Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Location: Eaton Humanities, Room 250