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July 30, 2003

Jeremy Shearmur on Sale

Friedrich --

Another good Teaching Company lecture series has gone on sale, Jeremy Shearmur's Ideas in Politics. I enjoyed the series, and got a lot out of it -- and I say this speaking as someone with a temperamental aversion to politics.

Shearmur is an intelligent, organized and modest presenter -- about as helpful as a prof can be. Here, his goal is to take politics and make the subject intellectually interesting; as the series' title suggests, this isn't a course about backroom dealmaking or quarreling politicians, it's a course about ideas.

In the first half, Shearmur lays out the histories and philosophies of what (as I recall, anyway) he sees as the three main currents in Western political thinking: conservatism, liberalism, and socialism. In the second half of the course, he discusses the ways these tendencies manifest themselves in the present-day world -- as feminism, for instance, or multiculturalism. Big-picture/small-picture: it's a great way to get some perspective on what so many people seem to love arguing about, god only knows why.

Once again, a resource that'll leave you feeling a little less stupid than you usually do. Grab it now, because the Teaching Company is taking the course out of circulation soon. Why, I don't know -- it's one of their best. On sale, it's a bargain: 12 hours of terrific lectures for only $34.95. (A first-rate college-level course for $34.95!) Listen to it yourself, then pass it along to a friend or to a public library.

Shearmur, by the way, teaches in Australia and is an interesting thinker in his own right. He worked with Karl Popper for many years, and has turned out books on Popper and Hayek. Here's a piece he wrote for Policy magazine discussing -- surprise, surprise -- the New Urbanism.

The lecture series is buyable here.



posted by Michael at July 30, 2003


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