Becoming Mortal Gods and the End of Liberal Democracy

A critical theme running throughout Modern, and Modern Liberal Political Theory is the recognition of, and consequences that result from, the Death or Displacement of God. Ever since Machiavelli Displaced God from the Cosmos and the Human Mind, it has now become necessary for Human Beings to Create the Moral, Economic, and Political Institutions that bring Order, Security, and Peace to Human Life. Humans must now do the Work that God used to do. However, within this extraordinary observation is a fascinating, empowering, and terrifying ambiguity. In our most recent podcast, "Becoming Mortal Gods and the End of Liberal Democracy," we trace the meaning of this ambiguity, and identify both its tremendous power and terrifying consequences. Enjoy!

The Age of Acquisition and the Perfection of Inequality

The Washington Post proclaims: "The GOP Tax Reform is a Scam." As Millions of working and middle class people are discovering that their tax returns are either significantly lower, or, that they actually owe substantial amount of money, they feel conned. And yet, while the recent GOP tax reform does represent one of the largest transfers of wealth in the History of American Politics, and while that transfer of wealth overwhelmingly benefitted the super-rich, nothing has gone wrong. No one has been Conned. In this episode, "The Age of Acquisition and the Perfection of Inequality," we argue that the system worked perfectly. The legal, economic, and political space of American Democracy was designed specifically for the emergence of a "New Aristocracy of Acquisition" that mobilizes inequalities of talent, ability, ambition, and intelligence. The Vulgar are only now learning they are the Vulgar. Enjoy.

Government Shutdown, Executive Power, and the Coming Authoritarianism

As the Institutions and Processes of Government continue to falter and breakdown, another Government Shutdowns looms, and the ominous threat of a Declaration of National Emergency darkens the American sky, we investigate what all three of the phenomena have in common, and how they will contribute to the emergence of an Authoritarian Regime.  In our latest episode, "Government Shutdown, Executive Power, and the Coming Authoritarianism," Walker and Professor Dungey not only investigate what each of these dynamics mean, but also situate each dynamic in the deeper philosophical context of Modern Political Philosophy and it's Liberal variant--the Artificial Nature of Politics and its Inherent Fragility. Enjoy.

DSU LIVE FB Event Recorder 10/21/17 - Winning the Culture Wars and the End of Liberal Democracy

In our Fourth, Special DSU Event, we share with you the audio from a DSU Live Event, recorded on October 21, 2017. In this episode, we examine the renewed attempt by powerful groups within American Society and Democracy to ACQUIRE AND EXERCISE POLITICAL POWER FOR THE PURPOSE OF ASSERTING A SPECIFIC CLAIM TO THE MEANING AND PURPOSE OF LIFE. This is extraordinarily dangerous. If a particular group ever "WINS" the Culture Wars, if means the END of Liberal Democracy as we know it. No one "WINS" a Culture War.

The State of Nature, Social Contract, and Guns

In the wake of yet another mass shooting that left 17 young people dead at a high school in Parkland, Florida, the nation is once again torn apart by suffering and vicious ideological debate about gun ownership in America. In this episode, "The State of Nature, Social Contract, and Guns," Professor Dungey and Walker approach the issue of guns from the deeper historical and philosophical ideas that animate early Modern political theory, and especially the emergence of Liberal Political Philosophy.

We approach the issue of guns from the perspective of Hobbes's State of Nature, his notion of Radical Equality, his penetrating account of Human Vanity, and the role these ideas play in the escape from the State of Nature through the Social Contract. Despite the presence of legal and political institutions, is contemporary America coming to resemble, more and more, Hobbes's terrifying and violent State of Nature?

DSU LIVE FB event recorder 10/14/17 - Chaos as a Political Strategy

Recently, Donald Trump said he "likes governing by chaos." And, there are many who would say that his administration is chaotic. In this episode, Professor Dungey investigates the philosophical origins and meanings of the idea of Chaos as it emerges in Early Modern Political Theory. What role did the idea of "chaos" play in the early development of Modern Political Philosophy? And, what does it mean to govern "chaotically." Much of Modern Political Philosophy is specifically designed to contain and escape chaos. Can Liberal, Democratic Institutions and Processes survive Chaos? Enjoy

Welcome to the Post-Truth Presidency

For two years we have been told that the informational, social, and political crisis now unfolding has been set in motion by the emergence of the Post-Truth Language and Thoughts of Trump. Indeed, last year, Chuck Todd declared, "Welcome to the Post-Truth Presidency." In this counter-intuitive episode, Walker and Professor Dungey discuss how this Narrative is actually wrong, and more importantly, Dangerous. Enjoy.

DSU LIVE FB event, recorded 11/11/17 - Boethius, Machiavelli, and Lady Fortuna: The Modern Philosophical Origins of the Sexual Assault Crisis

In our Second, Special DSU Event, we share with you the audio from a DSU Live event, recorded on November 11, 2017.

In the past two years, the Sexual Assault Crisis has exploded over every facet of our lives. From Entertainment to Politics, to Corporate America, and Sports, the avalanche of stories of sexual abuse, assault, and exploitation have ripped open American consciousness.

In this unflinching episode, "Boethius, Machiavelli, and Lady Fortuna: The Modern Philosophical Origins of the Sexual Assault Crisis," Professor Dungey identifies and traces one critical component to this crisis to Machiavelli's Radical, Aggressive, and potentially Violent re-Imagination of the Great Prince's Relationship to Lady Fortuna.

To view the original video, please go to our DSU Facebook page, and search under videos. The original video is also available on our DSU YouTube Channel.

DSU LIVE FB event, recorded 11/2/17 - Collusion, Conspiracy, Trump, and Locke's Account of the Dissolution of Government

In this SPECIAL DSU Podcast event, we share with you the audio from a DSU LIVE Facebook Event, recorded on November 2, 2017.  In this episode, "Collusion, Conspiracy, Trump, and Locke's Account of the Dissolution of Government," we examine Locke's specific examples of when actions taken by a political leader, or one seeking political power, render the Regime Illegitimate and therefore Dissolved. Locke argues that when a Leader, or one who aspires to acquire power, conspires with a Foreign source "TO ALTER THE ELECTORAL PROCESS," the Regime is illegitimate and therefore should be Dissolved.


If you want to see the original video, please go to our Dungey State University Facebook page, and search in the video section.

Much Love, ND


We are thrilled to be back

After an eight month hiatus, the DSU podcasts are back! In this episode, Walker and Professor Dungey welcome the DSU family and muse about the most significant themes and events that have transpired since April 2017. In this episode we discuss the idea that in the Modern, Liberal Philosophical tradition, democracy is a form of human art, that is it inherently unstable, sometimes dangerous, and that it must be actively re-authorized across historical time and space. What we are witnessing and living now is a existential and constitutional crisis that reveals the terrifying and sublime truth of democracy. We are thrilled to be back. Enjoy!



Living "Life as Art:" The Ana Kasparian Interview

In our most recent episode: "Living 'Life as Art:' the Ana Kasparian Interview," we revisit our most favorite theme. In a past episode titled, "Life as Art," we raised the question of what it would be like to treat consciousness, meaning, and even life itself as an aesthetic experience. Living life as an artistic process means to find the emotional strength and creative clarity to give one's life meaning, beauty, and value. In this episode we interview Ana Kasparian and discover how she found the emotional strength and the creative and intellectual energy to re-imagine her own life and career, and in doing so, has managed to re-define the social and political space. Powerful stuff. Enjoy. 

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Deconstruction of the Administrative State

In a recent interview, Stephen Bannon, the Chief Advisor and Intellectual Strategist of the Trump Administration, said that the Primary Goal of the Trump Administration is the "Deconstruction of the Administrative State." In our most recent episode, titled, "The Mythology of the 'Deconstruction of Administrative State,'" we examine Bannon's provocative assertion. Placing Bannon's assertion in the deeper historical and philosophical context of the Enlightenment, we demonstrate how Bannon is not only misinformed about the nature of the "Administrative State," but more importantly, how the strategies and policies of the Trump Administration are actually doing the very opposite of what they claim: They are deepening and almost perfecting the "Administrative State." Enjoy.


The Crisis of Legitimacy of Meaning and the Rise of Informational Tribalism

Recently, Donald Trump stated: "The Past 'Phony' Jobs Numbers are now 'Very Real.'" In our last episode, "A Very (Brief) History of Truth," we investigated the philosophical meaning of the "Truth" and traced its historical transformation across different philosophical epochs. In our follow-up episode, "The Crisis of Legitimacy of Meaning and the Emergence of Informational Tribalism," we explore the crisis of meaning that threatens to destroy the very foundation of our social and political space. The emergence of "Fake News," "Alternative Facts," and the collapse of the "Fact/Value" Distinction has brought us to an unprecedented moment of Informational Tribalism where "Meaning" and "Reality" serve the Whims of those in power, or those who are willing to exercise power to impose their "Reality." Contrary to what many believe, Donald Trump is not the cause of this, but rather a symptom of a crisis in meaning and information that has now reaching its perfection.


A (Very) Brief History of Truth

The headlines declare: We live in a Post-Truth world, characterized by Alternative Facts and Fake News. What the hell is going on? In our most recent episode, "A (Very) Brief History of Truth," we discuss the historical origin and philosophical meanings of the idea Truth. In order to try to disentangle what is meant by Post-Truth and alternative facts, we have to establish the philosophical assertions about Truth, trace the the transformation of the idea of Truth across historical epochs, and identify the boundaries and implications surrounding the debates about Truth. Only then can we investigate what Post-Truth and Alternative Facts really mean. Enjoy!


Liberal Philosophy, Happiness, and Affluenza Anonymous

In our most recent episode, "Liberal Philosophy, Happiness, and Affluenza Anonymous," we continue our discussion of the Ancient-Modern debate surrounding the meaning and pursuit of Happiness. In this episode, we investigate the historical and philosophical origins of the Modern, Liberal conception of Happiness and investigate the personal and political consequences. Has the Modern, Liberal account of happiness made us happy?  Or, has it turned us into a culture of addicts and prepared the way for political authoritarianism?  Controversial stuff, no doubt. Enjoy.


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Locke's Prerogative Power, Trump's Executive Order, and the 'Appeal to Heaven.'

In light of the extraordinary legal, social, and political events of the past week, we return to an examination of Locke's notion of Prerogative Power, The Take Care Clause, and Executive Orders.  In addition, we examine Locke's fascinating and terrifying analysis of what happens when there is a potentially irresolvable conflict in the political community between the citizens and the President about the legality and public good of the President's Executive Order.  Locke's famous statement that when this arises, there is only an "appeal to heaven" is code for the potential and justification for revolution. This is very serious stuff.


The Great Debate Between Hobbes and Locke Finally Settled?

While Hobbes and Locke are two of the most important thinkers of Modern, Liberal Political Philosophy, they had radically different views about the best sort of regime human beings could create through the Social Contract. According to Hobbes's pessimistic view of human nature, he believed individuals were too vainglorious and ambitious to create, and participate in, a representative democracy. Only an all-powerful authoritarian ruler would be able to keep the citizens in line and the state stable and secure. Locke took a different approach. Individually and passionately opposed to any form of monarchy or centralized power, Locke argued that individuals were more reasonable than Hobbes thought, and the civil institutions of society more deeply grounded. Human beings could, Locke argued, create a democratic form of government with limited power, and sustain the enterprise over time. As we know, Locke seems to have one the debate, but recent socio-cultural and political events may prove Hobbes right.

The Philosophies and Tactics of War and the DAPL Protestors

In our most recent episode, "The Philosophies and Tactics of War and the DAPL Protestors," we examine the recent, alarming events at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Grounding our conversation in Locke's famous warning to all citizens, that if you are not vigilant and on guard against the extraordinary acquisition of power by government, then the day will come when your right to protest, resist, or alter the direction of power may be impossible. We have arrived at that day. There are two elements to Locke's warning. First, the acquisition of sophisticated technology and military instruments by government may make government power so overwhelming that physical and material resistance is impossible. Second, the decision by the government to deploy tactics and strategies of war on citizens will erode and ultimately dissolve the distinction between Citizen and Enemy Combatants. The recent decision by the government to threaten a Siege and denial of resources to protestors, to criminalize other citizens for attempting to supply protestors with food, medicine, and materials, and the FAA creation of a No-Fly Zone over the protest site, effectively demonstrate the government's deployment of Techniques and Strategies of War on Citizens. Siege and No-Fly Zones are both tactics of War. The threat of Siege, the criminalization of support for the protestors, and the creation of the No-Fly Zone effectively means that the government has declared war on its own citizens.


Boethius' Philosophy of Happiness and False Happiness

In our Thanks giving episode, "Boethius' Philosophy of Happiness and False Happiness," we explore Boethius' ancient and powerful account of human happiness and fortune. In this episode we investigate Boethius' philosophical and poetic fusion of Platonic philosophy and Stoicism. By identifying Boethius' account of Reason and Fortune, we are given deep insights into the meaning and purpose of human life, the emotional and rational strength necessary to survive the blows of Fortune, and the clarity to avoid being seduced by False Happiness. It is a perfect discussion in this time of giving thanks.


Liberal Philosophy, Tolerance, and Where We Go From Here

In our first episode after the most controversial Presidential Election in American History, we return to a discussion of the fundamental and irreconcilable differences that generate Liberal Philosophy and the creation of American Democracy. Intimately connected to the recognition of irreconcilable difference is an understanding of what Tolerance is, and what it is not. We conclude with a discussion of where we go from here by contextualizing our current political situation in the historical and theoretical account of Locke's notion of Revolution and Civil Society. Enjoy.