I have confessed to being a serial Wikipedia editor in passing on this blog before.
Allow me to restate it: I love Wikipedia and have been fast at work editing the pages of the Claremont colleges.
Of course, the finest bit of audio I have been able to find is that of Professor Harry V. Jaffa on the principles of the Declaration of Independence. He addresses literally everything under the sun that deals with our political economy and the nature of truth as the basis of our republican experiment.
- Here is part 1.
- Here is part 2.
I promise you that with Professor Jaffa's permission I will get him to talk about the Declaration on video.
Listening to Professor Jaffa talk about the Declaration of Independence I have become more convinced that President Jack Stark committed a grave and tragic error when he forced Professor Jaffa into retirement. How could he reject a man whose writing heavily influenced a Justice of the Supreme Court and who drafted these words for Barry Goldwater? (Fortunately Jaffa still generously gives of his time to undergraduates through the Salvatori Center which every right leaning or free thinking Claremont student should join.)
Correction: A reader replies that....
"You should know that when Jaffa was retired, federal law required that professors retire at age 70. Stark’s hand were tied."That is certainly true, but there were quite a few colleges that kept their professors working at their college in some fashion or other until the crisis was resolved. Some even took them back on once the Age Discrimination in Employment Act was passed, which barred barred dismissal of professors after age 70 in the mid-90's. (I don't support the law, by the way, but understand its intent.)
I can understand mandatory retirement ages at research universities, but Claremont McKenna is a liberal arts college. Couldn't Jaffa have been re-hired or allowed to teach a seminar?
For my new freshmen readers curious as to what Straussians are and their influence on political theory and thought, please read this article on the importance of the American founding in City Journal. Note the reference to Jaffa.
This paragraph largely sums up his and other Straussians view of the American founding.
Straussians as a group emphasized the importance of "natural rights" as the powerfully legitimating basis of the American constitutional order. Where earlier scholars had largely dismissed the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence about man's natural endowment as just so much boilerplate—or empty glorifications of selfish individualism—Straussians insist that the idea of equal natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness establishes a moral standard. There is a higher law than man-made law that sets limits to what men may do to one another in the pursuit of their self-interest and instructs them in how they should live, when they apply their reason to finding it out.
I know the libertarians among us dislike the Straussian impulses, but I think that is more here and would recommend they listen to Professor Jaffa.
(If you are in the Claremont area between the weeks of August 18th to 25th and can drive Professor Jaffa, please let me know. I have a modest proposal for you.)