“Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.” – John Adams (1765)
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it.” – George Santayana (1905)
“Brevity is the soul of wit.” – William Shakespeare (c. 1600)
“Figures can’t lie, but liars will figure.” –Mark Twain (1913)
I once took an intro to philosophy course. It was a broad brush of a lot of philosophical thought. And it was fascinating. So fascinating that I took a full-blown philosophy class. And I hated it. It was boring. And so abstract. Not like math and science. It is beyond me how one of my friends and colleagues actually pursued a degree in this stuff. Who can be as pompous and boring as a pompous and boring prestigious university professor. Because of this we don’t let him write unfettered here.
I’ve read some books about the American Civil War. A couple of my favorite books are Living History the Civil War (The History of the War between the States in Documents, Essays, Letters, Songs and Poems) published by Tess Press. And The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. The general who won the Civil War. Fascinating reads as they take you back to that period. Quite awhile later I read The Civil War for Dummies. To see if I could recommend it to friends who wanted a broad overview of the Civil War without reading a library of books. It was also a very good read. In fact it’s a nice compliment to the more detailed histories of that period. The big picture combined with very detailed little pictures within the big picture.
I have even read other ‘for Dummies‘ when reading about a new subject for the first time. To get the big picture. And then following that with more detailed books on that subject. Sort of like taking an intro course on a new subject. Then following that with other full-blown courses on that same subject. I have even found that being already knowledgeable makes further reading easier. As it expands and builds on what I’ve previously read.
I had a macroeconomics course taught by a professor who was a hardcore Keynesian. He actually spent his summers in Central and South America teaching classes in those countries with runaway inflation. Countries that embraced Keynesian economics. And countries that he embraced for practicing the ‘correct kind’ of economic policy. As his students believed to be the ‘correct kind’ of economic policies when they completed his class. But the real world did not reflect what he taught. Keynesian policies did not work. The Seventies proved that. Yet they were still teaching these policies in our universities after the Seventies.
I had another economics class much later. With a professor who spent more time discussing the Austrian school of economics. And the things that course discussed were not discussed in that other economics class. But they did appear to more fairly reflect what was going on in the real world. It explained the failure of the Seventies. And the success of the Eighties. Making perfect sense. But what was really fascinating about these two courses was that they often used the same set of data to draw two completely different conclusions. Clearly showing that someone was politicizing the data for some reason.
This website provides an entry-level introduction to weekly topics. Indicated by the ‘101’ following the subject headings. The hope is that this will encourage you to read further on these subjects. And that this will make your future readings easier by providing a familiarity with these subjects. We try to write in a conversational tone to make the reading less textbook like. And more enjoyable. Even if it’s not good grammar (those readers who use English as a second language please note this). And we try to be brief. As brevity is indeed the soul of wit. And it also helps to prevent the falling asleep while reading.
So this is a teaching website. The ‘101’ pieces providing an introduction to various topics. While we use the Week in Review pieces as teachable moments. Pulling samples from the week’s news that can elaborate some underlining principle. While the Fundamental Truth is more opinion but also elaborates on underlying principles.
Teaching is a heavy responsibility. We make no claims to being the definitive source for any knowledge learned here. The student must remember what Mark Twain said. History is full of facts and figures. And sometimes some people will parse the historical record to suit their political needs. So the student of history needs to be wary. And check other sources. Even here. No matter how brilliant we may sound. You should always check other sources. Because even we can make a mistake. Accidents happen. Editing while tired. Or after a few adult beverages. And on the rare occasion we may just be wrong. So always read with an open mind. And explore these subjects further.
Thank you for visiting our website. We hope you enjoy your visit here. If you do please tell a friend.
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