In episode #10 of The Western Canon Podcast, Jordan presents an in-depth review and exploration of Jonah Goldberg's new book The Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Nationalism, Populism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy. Using Goldberg's book, listeners are treated to an examination of the values and ideals that underpin the West and make possible the prosperity and flourishing that characterize the modern Western world. The episode includes a lengthy interview with historian, podcast host, and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Thomas E. Woods. Also, tune in for the show's first ever mailbag segment. Here Jordan, in what will become a regular segment, responds to the questions and thoughts of listeners.
Interview: "Tom Woods on Natural Rights, Property, Social Contracts, Libertarianism, and the Constitution"
Thomas E. Woods--historian, political commentator, New York Times best-selling author, and host of The Tom Woods Show--joins the Western Canon Podcast to discuss several topics, including his background, his thoughts on the Libertarian Party, the Lockean theory of natural rights, the U.S. founders, Robert Nozick, Social Contract Theory, property rights, subsidiarity, constitutional originalism (“intent” vs. “textual” originalism), Trump, and much more. Please subscribe to our Youtube channel. Remember, we are also on Stitcher (https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/jordan-alexander-hill/the-western-canon-podcast) as well.
Creating and producing a professional-caliber podcast is not easy or cheap. If you care about the foundational stories, ideas, and principles of Western civilization, and wish to see their cultural value reinstated, please consider funding us on Patreon.
Interview: Mark Bauerlein on the Crisis of Higher Ed, the Decline of the Humanities, and Jordan Peterson
Mark Bauerlein joins the Western Canon Podcast to discuss the current crisis facing higher education and the decline of the humanities, which has been brought about by the rising cost of college, the growth of university administration, the decline of a high intellectual culture, the rise of identity politics, and hyper political correctness. In this interview, Dr. Bauerlein and Jordan Alexander Hill attempt to diagnose the problem and come up with some possible solutions. They also discuss the podcast revolution and how the alternative internet media is filling the gaps created by universities, institutions that have abdicated their responsibility to provide students with a sound liberal education.
Dr. Mark Bauerlein is a prolific writer, Emory University professor, and senior editor at First Things Magazine; he runs the magazine's new podcast First Thoughts. He has published several books, including his most famous and controversial one, The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don 't Trust Anyone Under 30). He has worked for the National Endowment of Arts, and he writes regularly for popular periodicals such as The Wall Street Journal, CNN, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, TLS, The Claremont Review of Books, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among other outlets.
In this second episode of the Liberty Lounge, we continue to explore the philosophical and political theories of the American founding fathers as we work our way through Thomas G. West's book The Political Theory of the American Founding. Jordan uses West's book as a jumping off point to explore John Locke's theory of natural rights, with the aim of answering the following questions:
-What is the difference between classical liberalism and modern liberalism?
-Is there a conflict between equality and liberty?
-Is inequality necessary? If so, what do we mean when we pursue equality?
-How do governments emerge from a "state of nature"?
-How do rights emerge from a "state of nature"?
-What is a "right"?
-Are natural rights universal? Are they objective facts?
-Who was right--Rousseau, Hobbes, or Locke? And why?
-What makes the American political system and the U.S. Constitution special?
-How do property rights emerge from a "state of nature"?
-Why do we need property rights to be free?
-Is taxation moral?
-Do men truly wish to be free?
The Liberty Lounge is a segment of The Western Canon podcast dedicated to reviewing great books that focus on the principles of liberty and freedom. In the first two (2) episodes, we look closely at the brilliant enlightenment ideas--such as natural rights, ordered liberty, limited government, equality, and virtue--that typified the founders' thought and went into the drafting of documents like The Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. If you enjoyed episode #2 of the Liberty Lounge, check out episode #1 at the following link: https://youtu.be/bUfPblXVwWU. Visit www.westerncanonpodcast.com for more info!
Interview: "Author Faith Moore on Saving Cinderella: What Feminists Get Wrong About Disney Princesses And How To Set It Right"
Writer and former educator Faith Moore joins The Western Canon Podcast to discuss her new book Saving Cinderella: What Feminists Get Wrong About Disney Princesses And How To Set It Right. In this interview, Faith describes a shift that has taken place in popular culture, as a small but very vocal minority of radical feminists have seized hold of the narrative, slandering Disney princess movies as toxic, regressive, and fundamentally “anti-feminist.” Faith explains why this view is completely wrong, and makes the case that feminists have misread and misunderstood classic Disney films, which are meant to be read symbolically. In the end, listeners will learn why young people--and young women in particular--need classic Disney princess films now more than ever.
Dr. Nathan Schlueter, Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Hillsdale College, joins The Western Canon Podcast to discuss the great ideas of Plato's Republic. Dr. Schlueter also explains why the Republic continues to be so relevant and why Western civilization needs Plato today. Visit www.westerncanonpodcast.com to listen to our catalogue of episodes, access resources, and view interviews with various guests.
Nathan Schlueter is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Hillsdale College, where he directs the pre-law program and also teaches courses in social and political philosophy, ethical theory and philosophy and literature. He is a recipient of Hillsdale College’s “Daugherty Award for Teaching Excellence.” Nathan has a B.A. in History from Miami University of Ohio (1993) and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Dallas (1999). He is the author of One Dream or Two? Justice in America and in the Thought of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Lexington Books, 2002), The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry, edited with Mark Mitchell (ISI Books, 2011), and co-author, with Nikolai Wenzel, of Selfish Libertarians and Socialist Conservatives: The Foundations of the Libertarian-Conservative Debate (Stanford University Press, 2017). His articles have appeared in First Things, Touchstone, Logos, Communio, Public Discourse and Perspectives in Political Science. Nathan has been a fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities (2005) and Princeton University (2011). He is currently working on his next book Playing with Fire: The Peril and Promise of the Utopian Imagination. He and his wife Elizabeth, who is a homemaker and homeschooler, have eight children.
Plato’s Republic (380 BC) is easily Plato's best-known work, and has proven to be one of the most influential works in the Western canon. The Republic is a Socratic dialogue that focuses on questions of justice: What would a just city-state look like? How should a just man behave? But this monumental work also touches on broad variety of other themes like metaphysics, knowledge, truth, the soul, immortality, the role of the philosopher, education, poetry, and many other topics. In Episode #9 of The Western Canon Podcast, we begin our examination of Plato's Republic by speaking with Hillsdale College Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Dr. Nathan Schlueter. Also, joining us to discuss Plato's influence on Christianity is Oxford classicist Spencer Klavan. Visit www.westerncanonpodcast.com for more!
The Liberty Lounge is a new segment (of The Western Canon podcast) dedicated to reviewing great books that focus on the principles of liberty and freedom. We kick off this first Liberty Lounge segment by reviewing a fantastic book by Thomas G. West called The Political Theory of the American Founding. This episode is the first of a three-part series that will go in-depth with West's book, using it as a catalyst for discussing the political principles and philosophical ideas of the founding fathers. In these three episodes, we look closely at the brilliant enlightenment ideas--such as natural rights, ordered liberty, limited government, equality, and virtue--that typified the founders' thought and went into the drafting of documents like The Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Federalist Papers.
In Episode #8 of The Western Canon Podcast, Gina Santiago, our Western Canon correspondent, stops by to talk about the philosophy of tragedy, specifically what Plato and Aristotle had to say about the subject. Later in the show, Jordan speaks with bestselling author and Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute, Yaron Brook, who joins the show to discuss many topics, including Ayn Rand’s philosophy--her approach to epistemology and ethics--as well as his own work. Yaron gives his thoughts on the inequality debate, Jordan Peterson, Jonathan Haidt, and how Objectivism can combat groupthink and a dangerous intellectual monoculture that is suppressing thought and stymying debate at our modern universities. Lastly, we end episode #8 with a segment called the Liberty Lounge. This is a new segment dedicated to reviewing great books that focus on the principles of liberty and freedom. We kick off this first Liberty Lounge segment by reviewing a fantastic book by Thomas G. West called The Political Theory of the American Founding.
This is the first installment of the “Guide to Great Books Colleges,” a new segment produced by The Western Canon Podcast. The “Guide to Great Books Colleges” is a practical resource for students and parents to the colleges and universities in the U.S. that offer students an education rooted in the Western literary and philosophical tradition. In this segment, host Jordan Alexander Hill takes listeners on a tour of those schools out there that still expose students to "the Great Conversation of history." The institutions included in this monthly segment are schools that have high expectations and standards; schools dedicated to transmitting critical thinking skills and wisdom; schools that teach students how to read well, write well, and think well; and schools that help students discover the good, the beautiful, and the true. In “Part 1,” Jordan offers a defense of the traditional liberal arts education and reviews three of our nation’s premier Great Books colleges. The first three to make the list are the University of Chicago, St. Olaf College, and Hillsdale College.
One of the most powerful and enduring of Greek tragedies, the Medea centers on the myth of Jason, leader of the Argonauts, who has won the dragon-guarded treasure of the Golden Fleece with the help of the sorceress Medea. Having married Medea and fathered her two children, Jason abandons her for a more favorable match, never suspecting the brutal and horrific revenge she will take. In episode #7, we do a lengthy summary and analysis of Euripides' Medea and we take a look at the play's mythic background. Joining us to discuss Euripides, the Medea, and the art of translation is Euripides translator and classics scholar Diane Arnson Svarlien. Listeners also get to experience the first part of a new and ongoing Western Canon Podcast segment called A Guide to Great Books Colleges. In this first segment, Jordan offers a defense of the traditional liberal arts education and reviews three of our nation's premier great books colleges.
In this interview, Dr. Diane Arnson Svarlien discusses her love of the classics, her work as a translator, Greek Tragedy, the playwright Euripides, and the Medea. Dr. Arnson Svarlien is a verse translator and classicist who lives in Lexington, Kentucky. Her translations of poets like Sappho, Semonides, Theocritus, Catullus, Horace, and Ovid have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present (Norton, 2010). She has published three collections of translations of the plays of Euripides--the first is called Alcestis, Medea, Hippolytus (published in 2007), the second is Andromache, Hecuba, Trojan Women (2012), and the third is Ion, Helen, Orestes, all put out by Hackett Publishing. Diane Arnson Svarlien has taught at Georgetown College, and she studied at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned her Ph.D in Classics and her MA in Greek; she also studied at the University of Virginia, where she earned her BA in English and Classics. She was awarded a Literature Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2010.
Who was Euripides? And how should we think about his legacy in contrast with the other two major 5th century Greek tragedians, Aeschylus and Sophocles? In episode #6, Oxford Classicist Spencer Klavan joins the program to discuss Euripides, City Dionysia, and the music of ancient Greek tragedy. In this interview, Spencer, whose work focuses on the relationship between words and melody in Hellenistic scholarship, practices his singing chops and gives listeners a feel for how ancient Greek music sounded and how it interacted with other elements of tragic drama. Spencer and Jordan also discuss the function of tragedy according to Aristotle and other thinkers from within the Western tradition.
British classicist and best-selling author Edith Hall joins episode 5 of The Western Canon Podcast to discuss 5th century Athenian tragedy, City Dionysia, her approach to scholarship, her "small m" Marxist approach to history, as well as her book, Introducing the Ancient Greeks.
In episode #5, listeners get a brief introduction to Greek Tragedy and a lengthy summary and analysis of The Oresteia, by Aeschylus. British Classicist and best-selling author Edith Hall joins Jordan on the program to discuss ancient Athenian drama, 5th century Athens, City Dionysia, as well as her book Introducing the Ancient Greeks. We also take a look at a famous 20th century adaptation of The Oresteia, Sartre's "The Flies" (Les Mouches).
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Homer's Odyssey is an epic poem that tells the story of Odysseus, the famous warrior and cunning hero who must defeat monsters and resist exotic temptations, as he makes his long journey from Troy to his homeland of Ithaca. In episode 4, we take a look at the Odyssey's influence on art and culture--especially on literature and film. We also take an in-depth look at themes such as xenia (or hospitality), phronesis (or practical intelligence), and the role of men and fathers in society. Joining us this episode is the first woman to translate Homer’s Odyssey into English, classicist and UPenn professor, Emily Wilson (47:47). In her interview, Dr. Wilson discusses her new translation of the Odyssey, her theory as a translator, her love of the classics, and gender in literature. We also chat with our Western canon correspondent, Gina Santiago (2:19:00).
In episode #3 of the Western Canon Podcast, Jordan takes listeners on a journey through the wine-dark seas of Homer's epic, the Odyssey--as the Greek hero Odysseus fights monsters, fends off temptresses, and struggles desperately to return to his homeland of Ithaca. With help from the goddess Athena, Odysseus battles his way through shipwreck and storm, the cave of a Cyclops, the deadly songs of the Sirens, the isle of the witch-goddess Circe, the gloomy underworld, and the vengeful wrath of the sea-god Poseidon, in order to return to his steadfast wife and faithful son. The Odyssey is not only a hero's journey, but a complex meditation on relationships--between fathers and sons, husbands and wives, as well as rulers and subjects. In this episode, Jordan is joined by New Yorker writer and bestselling author Daniel Mendelsohn (57:20), as well as philosopher and author of the book Explaining Postmodernism, Stephen Hicks (2:09:22).
Emory Professor Mark Bauerlein joins The Western Canon Podcast to weigh in on an increasing moral, aesthetic, and epistemological relativism among today's students; he discusses problems facing literary studies; he talks about his conversion to Christianity and the "failure of liberalism"; and he looks back on his 2008 book The Dumbest Generation.
After almost 3,000 years, the Iliad remains not only among the greatest adventure stories ever told, but also one of the most compelling meditations on the human condition ever written. In this episode, we discuss the story, themes, and historical context of Homer's Iliad. Jordan is joined by Oxford classicist Spencer Klavan (20:20) to discuss glory and honor, Homer's centrality to the Western canon, "the Homeric Question," diction and translation, and homosexuality in ancient Greek life. Gina Santiago stops by (1:18:15) to speak about free will and agency in Homeric epic. Also, Emory professor and author Mark Bauerlein (2:01:57) joins the show to talk about the current state of the humanities and literary criticism, moral relativism, Christianity, as well as his book, The Dumbest Generation. Additional topics include manliness and Homer's influence on the poet John Keats, among others.
In the age of identity politics, of social media and distraction, of instant gratification, of Trump--why engage with the classics of Western civilization? Why read Homer, Aristotle, Augustine, Dante, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and the many other writers who make up what critic Harold Bloom calls "The Western Canon"? What makes an author’s work canonical? Who decides what works merit inclusion in this canon? And finally, assuming that we can agree, at least to some extent, on a core selection of books, how should we read this literature? What values and standards do we apply as we grapple with the great stories and ideas that underpin the foundations of the West? In this episode, we approach an answer to these questions, while also discussing the current state of the Humanities.
About the Show:
The Western Canon is a monthly podcast dedicated to examining the timeless stories, ideas, and thinkers of the Western literary tradition. Working chronologically through "the great conversation of history," each episode focuses on a distinct canonical work, set of works, or intellectual period. Featuring lively summary, literary analysis, philosophical discussion, and guest commentary, the show also tackles social and political issues related to Western civilization, the modern university, free speech, well-being, and much more. Educate your mind and feed your soul by tuning in with Jordan Alexander Hill, Gina Santiago, and special guests on the 1st of every month!