Skip to comments.Deep Thoughts and Free Beer
Posted on 07/18/2006 1:53:00 PM PDT by JSedreporter
Young conservatives in DC apparently like intellectual stimulation in a lecture format, but then again the free beer might have been on more than a few minds.
Last Wednesday night, more than 80 young conservative intellectuals crowded into a back room of The Brickskeller on 22nd St, NW to listen to a professor talk about vocation, to eat and drink, and to meet their peers and colleagues.
It was the first meeting of Conservatism on Tap presented by the ISI (Intercollegiate Studies Institute) Young Alumni group of DC founded by Princeton graduate Evan Baehr.
The event was a success, with Baehr having to turn down people RSVPing too close to the event.
But the lecture presented by Professor Patrick J. Deneen of Georgetown University, was perhaps unusual both for its content and its setting.
Deneen, who is an Associate Professor of Government and a chair of Hellenic studies, began his remarks by saying that conservatives have trouble living like conservatives.
That is, they no longer grow up in a hometown and stay there and contribute to the good of a community throughout their lives, said Deneen.
Quoting Alexis de Toqueville, Deneen explained that what makes Americans different are laws of inheritance. With estates being broken up among heirs, people are no longer tied to a location like de Toqueville himself was.
We are the opposite of traditional aristocratic conservatives, said Deneen.
He [de Toqueville] saw that with this Americans were restless creatures and had the ability to be more mobile than people in other nations.
Youth grow up and eventually say this sucks! Im outta here, said Deneen.
De Toqueville also noted that there was impermanence about American society, an anxiety about committing too much too quickly, Deneen explained.
According to Deneen, what all of these differences come down to is that Americans must work very hard to succeed [without traditional class status], they believe in perfectability, and in work they no longer think about vocation.
We talk about jobs, which means pieces, or career, which was from the word that meant what horses did around a race track, said Deneen.
But vocation comes from vocare: to have a calling which means it comes from outside of ourselves, the professor told the crowd. Belief in calling requires a presumption that we are parts of a whole, and that each in our own calling contributes to the common good.
Adam Smith relieved us all from our need to contribute to society by stating that pursuing our individual wants would be good for the whole, Deneen said.
Smith represented a change in the understanding of the division of labor, said Deneen, but a tradition preceded it. The Biblical tradition is very different.
After sharing the story of Cain and Abels offerings to God and Abels murder by Cain, Deneen concluded that self-interest is the default position.
1 Corinthians 12 is all about division of labor, said Deneen, and about how each person thinks that their gift is the best but that doesnt make it true.
It is the tendency of human beings to see the parts instead of the whole, said Deneen, but as parts we have to understand it is Gods way of showing us the whole.
And in our age, the whole is much bigger than it used to be which means that our capacity for impact is very small, Deneen explained.
So what constitutes the common good now? asked the professor in concluding his remarks.
The next meeting of Conservatism on Tap will be on August 8 from 6 to 8pm at the Brickskeller to discuss The Roberts Court. It will feature William Saunders, a Senior Fellow from the Family Research Council. Please email email@example.com with any questions about that event.
Julia A. Seymour is a staff writer for Accuracy in Academia.
Good idea for a forum and good speech.
Wow. I haven't been to the brickskeller since 1986, I think. I also think that last chick I met there is still stalking me.
Something I have neither of....
Remember the great bread and cheese plate? Lots of gummint bureaucrats returned after lunch much happier for visiting the 'skeller'.
I remember the hundreds of varieties of bier, mostly. LOL.
"Why do people in ship mutinies always ask for "better treatment"? I'd ask for a pinball machine, because with all that rocking back and forth you'd probably be able to get a lot of free games."
"If I lived back in the wild west days, instead of carrying a six-gun in my holster, I'd carry a soldering iron. That way, if some smart-aleck cowboy said something like "Hey, look. He's carrying a soldering iron!" and started laughing, and everybody else started laughing, I could just say, "That's right, it's a soldering iron. The soldering iron of justice." Then everybody would get real quiet and ashamed, because they had made fun of the soldering iron of justice, and I could probably hit them up for a free drink."
"Fear can sometimes be a useful emotion. For instance, let's say you're an astronaut on the moon and you fear that your partner has been turned into Dracula. The next time he goes out for the moon pieces, wham!, you just slam the door behind him and blast off. He might call you on the radio and say he's not Dracula, but you just say, "Think again, bat man."
"I hope if dogs ever take over the world, and they chose a king, they don't just go by size, because I bet there are some Chihuahuas with some good ideas."
"If you were a poor Indian with no weapons, and a bunch of conquistadors came up to you and asked where the gold was, I don't think it would be a good idea to say, "I swallowed it. So sue me."
"As I bit into the nectarine, it had a crisp juiciness about it that was very pleasurable - until I realized it wasn't a nectarine at all, but A HUMAN HEAD!!"
"As we were driving, we saw a sign that said "Watch for Rocks." Marta said it should read "Watch for Pretty Rocks." I told her she should write in her suggestion to the highway department, but she started saying it was a joke - just to get out of writing a simple letter! And I thought I was lazy!"
"When I was a kid my favorite relative was Uncle Caveman. After school we'd all go play in his cave, and every once in a while he would eat one of us. It wasn't until later that I found out that Uncle Caveman was a bear."
"I wish outer space guys would conquer the Earth and make people their pets, because I'd like to have one of those little beds with my name on it."
Why yes Patton, yes I am. I am right behind you now. Don't turn around. Just keep reading the screen....I like to look at the back of your head.
(why do I keep looking over my shoulder?)
CAUSE YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME!!!!
Which is why I stalk....to make you see me....even when I am hiding under your desk. DOn't look.....continue typing as if nothing odd is going on.
The girl in question used to leave flowers under my windshield wipers. At college, at work, wherever.
Two years after I got married, she was still calling my house, "Wanna go out?" My wife would answer the phone, and say, "No."
I think me & your wife could be friends if she would just share you.
I have no time to stalk you & John Cusack.
You stalk patton; I stalk you.
If I could just get patton to stalk me, the cycle would be complete.
Not going to happen, you pervert. ;)
Go beg your llama!
Somewhere in the Bahamas.
Is that you shooting on the range? You are a woman after my own heart! :-)
"To Alcohol ....... The cause of, and solution to, ALL of life's problems."
Yes, but "I am no longer a redhead.