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Archive for January, 2010

The Northwest Objectivists will host historian Scott Powell for a single lecture event Saturday, January 30th.

Mr. Powell is the creator of the acclaimed adults history program on the history of Western civilization entitled A First History for AdultsTM.  He is also the creator and teacher of the HistoryAtOurHouse secular homeschooling curriculum for students from 2nd to 12th grade.

This single lecture event is entitled “A Tale of Two Cities: The Story of the Athenian Democracy and the Roman Republic“.

In this two-hour presentation, Mr. Powell will give a narrative overview of the rise of these two governments, with the purpose of elucidating the key political concepts “democracy” and “republic.”  The purpose of this history lesson is to draw on these original and dramatic classical examples to help audience members better understand the distinction between the two forms of government, and — most importantly — to provide audience members with the intellectual ammunition to defend a correct view of the American system of government, which the Founding Fathers deliberately crafted as a republic, and not a democracy.

First, the story of the rise of the Athenian democracy will help students understand the correct definition of the term  “democracy”, which is so often misrepresented by modern politicians.  The evolution of this government from monarchy to aristocracy to timocracy, and later to tyranny (in the ancient Greek sense) and finally democracy, will illustrate a straightforward progression in the distribution of power.  However, the basic failure of the Athenians to repudiate the idea that a government may rightly initiate force against its own citizens is also seen through various important cases, culminating in the infamous trial of Socrates, which so aptly demonstrates the totalitarian potential of unlimited majority rule.

The story of the rise of the Roman Republic provides an excellent contrast to the failure of the Athenian system.  In Rome, the repudiation of monarchy was likewise followed by the establishment of an aristocracy.  But at this point, the story of Rome’s progress deviated significantly from that of its Greek counterpart.  In Rome, a decisively original premise was injected into the political system — the (implicit) political concept of individual rights — leading to the development of institutions that have no parallel in history…until the development of the American government.

The lecture will begin at 10:00 AM, Saturday, January 30, and will be followed by a Northwest Objectivist club social.  For details, please contact Northwest Objectivist club leader Rachel Miner at rachelminer@mac.com.

Objectivist clubs or social groups interested in hosting Mr. Powell’s lecture can contact him at: scott@powellhistory.com.

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