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The West: Current and Future Prospects

April 27, 2017

American Academy of Distance Learning conducts seminars and offers distance learning courses on subjects of interest to American citizens about American history, economics and the civilization of the West. We do that because so much has been forgotten as  a consequence of the politicization of American higher education that has occurred since the civil disturbances of 1968.

But, even before then, “Progressives”–at the beginning of the 20th century–began to argue that economic interests of the Founders of the Constitution were hidden from scrutiny by a philosophy of limited government and federalism. Economic reality, not philosophy, was the key to understanding the Constitution of the United States. The concept of a “changing Constitution” was advocated in light of the argument that the Constitution originated in economic interests, not political philosophy.

During the Great Depression, the traditions of Classical liberalism that could be traced as far back as Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and focused on individual liberty, free market economics and Constitutional limits on the federal government began to be replaced.  A more accurate description of what happened to Classicial liberalism is that it was” wiped out” and quickly replaced by socialist and Keynesian economic principles focused on government intervention in the economic life of the American nation.

Thirty-five years later, those radical changes, occasioned by a worldwide economic depression that destabilized American politics, were followed by civil disturbances in the 1960s and the 1970s.  Ours readers who lived during those times may have seen some of that on TV when the Democrat National Convention was held in Chicago in 1968. Riots in the streets of Chicago shocked the nation and set in motion forces that destroyed the New Deal coalition of the Democrats. The American two Party system prevailed, but what those parties represented changed dramatically.

For at least fifty years, therefore, high school and college educated Americans have not been required to study the principles of limited government from the perspective of long traditions rooted in Madison’s Notes on the Federal Convention.  Economics that had long explored how markets work and the role of entrepreneurs in what was called the free enterprise system was now focused on Keynesian economics and the history of Western civilization was dropped from the curriculum of almost every college and university.

This proposal for renewed examination of Western civilization is founded on the belief that now may be the time to seriously consider why we have experienced a decline of commitment to the West in civil society at large–and its consequences.

This decline is evident throughout Western Europe where the Judaeo-Christian tradition is no longer the foundation of civil society. And in Australia, the late Paul Ramsay, founder of Ramsay Healthcare, thought the loss of knowledge of Western civilization was so grave that he bequeathed the sum of three billion dollars to remedy the loss of courses on Western civilization in the curricula of Australian universities by establishing a fund to promote Western civilization studies.

American Academy of Distance Learning conducted a one hour seminar on this subject on November 22, 2016 in an event co-hosted by the Family Research Council that was televised by C-SPAN. That event attracted enormous numbers of visitors who replayed the Webcast of the seminar and led us to believe that this is a topic of great interest to ordinary citizens who are concerned about the moral condition of American society, a general decline of civilization and culture, and the deleterious contribution of American education to that decline.

What is the true condition of Western civilization in the United States and Canada, and in East, Central and Western Europe? What is the West? and how does Western culture affect personal and community life in our time?

What are the forces contributing to the West’s decline, and can Europe as an identifiable culture and civilization survive if “the West” continues to lose influence? What are the consequences for that for the United States and Canada?

Budgeted to include Webcast services, this seminar will reach an international audience who access the presentations of these six scholars.

Dr. Peter Wood, president, National Association of Scholars

Dr. Aurelian Craiutu, Professor of Political Science, University of Indiana

Dr. Grant Haver, Chairman, Philosophy Department, Trinity Western University

Dr. Richard Bishirjian, president, American Academy of Distance Learning

Dr. Barry Cooper, Professor, Department of Political Science, Calgary University

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