Colloquy Downeast Blue Hill Maine

Colloquy Downeast

Spirited Conversations in Great Company

Unfortunately, on October 19, 2017, this colloquy had to be cancelled.
American Democracy Threatened?: New  Forms of Dictatorship/Authoritarianism

Has the election of 2016 put America at a political and moral crossroad?  Can America’s gift of freedom survive into history?  Human politics has  been entwined with morality and balance including the social and common good.  Serious people say that America is desperately in need of moral, wise and prudent  leadership.  Claims are made that this is the age of post-truth politics  and “alternative facts” explaining away an unchecked grasp for power and disregard for the rule of law. There seems little inclination to compromise in Congress or in society. American democracy and the dignity and freedom  of the individual human seem at risk. How dangerous are Donald Trump, his advisors, political parties and the present American moral and political mood?  Is the present American psyche tipped toward “populism” masking fascism or semi-fascism?  Institutions are only as good as the people who serve them. Current articles and accessible brief reading will focus our discussion.

Ronald JP Lesko is a retired Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, State University of New York.

  ▼ Syllabus/Reading


Here are some initial comments and observations.
This Colloquy is not solely a criticism of the results of the last presidential election.  It is a reflection on the nature of the American political public, their ideas and values. In other words, it is about all of us trying to live together.
A tentative outline of our meetings will be forthcoming, along with suggested articles and resources.  For the moment, I would encourage you to reflect on the two volumes listed below which will be our textual starting points. The Dionne book listed should be read first and the Sandel book could be read selectively ( according to your personal concerns and interests)  for further reflection on the subject.
Our Divided Political Heart: the Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent
      by  E.J. Dionne, Jr.
    Bloomsbury, 2012
Democracy’s Discontent,  American in Search of a Public Philosophy
      by Michael J. Sandel
   Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, 1996
We look forward to a good dialogue based on fundamental questions that are necessary before any easy answers.  It is hoped that we will be free of ideologically closed doors.
More communication to follow.
Keep any eye on the website for possible additional material.
Feel free to contact me. —-Ron Lesko:

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