Eight Month Syllabus for Student Chapters: Part II


discussionThese last two years teaching Radical Traditionalism to college students has been fun, rewarding, and has made very happy to know that I’ve had a direct impact on improving students’ philosophical education.  The students and discussion participants who have done the readings and attended reading discussions have had an education unlike anything they will find at IU-Bloomington, or anywhere else for that matter.

The student group at IU-Bloomington was humble and quiet at times, but we were also the first of our kind in the entire Western hemisphere.  There has not been an authentic Radical Traditionalist student group of this size or of such activity anywhere in North America.  We have rocked the boat, made some waves, and in some cases managed to attract attention from across the nation.  This was the power of just one regularly active student group.  I cannot travel the country to lead multiple student groups at once.  I can, however, empower college students with the reading material and discussion questions to start their own student groups.

This is the second eight-month syllabus that I have produced.  It is set up in eight discussions, ideally to be held during the four months on each side of the Christmas break.  Because most students are gone during the summer this syllabus is designed to coincide with the beginning of the fall semester and spring semester’s end.  Some of the reading selections are also arranged in respect of major national events, but this outline is only a suggestion.  The group leader should feel free to select new readings as necessary.

I have included a list of key words for some of the readings.  This list should not be used to quiz or “test” discussion participants, rather it is something to help readers identify important concepts and definitions.  Some of the discussions have recommended reading and viewing.  The recommended reading and viewing are optional, they are not requirements.  You might also consider arranging a private screening If you find a good movie, documentary or other piece of media that complements the reading discussion.

Reading discussions should be semi-guided.  What this means is that the group leader is not lecturing for the whole hour, nor is he or she trying to quiz, test, or “correct” someone with a contrary opinion.  Group participants should be encouraged to agree or disagree with anything from the reading, and then to back up their claim with evidence from the text.  Certain care should be made to make sure that the reading discussions don’t devolve into one long series of personal anecdotes or yarns that only loosely relate the reading, neither should the leader permit the reading discussion to be guided so far off topic that the reading is no longer being addressed.  The discussion leader should re-focus the conversation in such a way that it goes back to the reading and to investigating the text.

Discussion 1

Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, “Games and Victory.”

Direct link to download Revolt Against the Modern World:
https://archive.org/details/RevoltAgainstTheModernWorld

  • “Games and Vicotry
    • This is Evola’s view on what the proper role of organized sports and games should be.  For this reading, please focus on finding Evola’s idea of what sports and games should be used for, or how he has defined their significance.  Also, ask yourself what role that organized sports should play in society for the purpose of positively contributing to culture, and whether or not that purpose fits within Evola’s view of sports and games.
  • Focus of discussion:
    • How are sports a part of our current lifestyle?
    • What are Evola’s observations about organized sports activities?
    • If organized sports do serve a positive purpose in society, what is that purpose? Would Evola agree with you?
    • If organized sports do not serve a positive purpose in society, why is that the case?  What would Evola say about why it is failing to serve a positive purpose?
  • Recommended viewing: If you have time, consider watching the chariot race scene from Ben-Hur after finishing the reading.  The cultural and religious function of chariot racing is mentioned specifically in “Games and Victory,” and the chariot race clip from Ben-Hur can at least give some insight as to what it might have been like for all parties involved.  Longer cuts of the scene are available on YouTube, so browse around and find something else that strikes your eye.

Discussion 2

Theodore Adorno, Critical Models: Interventions and Catchwords, “Prologue to Television.”
Gail Sulivan, “Iranian cleric issues fatwa against the internet.”
Nancy Wu, “Not a cure all.”

Direct link to download Critical Models: Interventions and Catchwords, “Prologue to Television”:
http://www.csub.edu/~mault/Prologue%20to%20television.pdf

Direct link to read:
Gail Sulivan, “Iranian cleric issues fatwa against the internet.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/09/02/iranian-cleric-issues-fatwa-against-the-internet/

Direct link to read:
Nancy Wu, “Not a cure all.”
http://www.idsnews.com/article/2014/11/not-a-cure-all

  • Theodore Adorno is, to be sure, from outside of the Traditionalist School but still speaks to Traditionalist values.  We will look at a short news article from the Washington Post, and a longer reading from Theodore Adorno.  The second piece of required reading comes from The Washington Post, and is an article about an Iranian Cleric who issued a fatwa against the Internet.  The headline in this case is misleading, because the Cleric’s fatwa was against a very specific form of internet communication technology.
  • Focus of discussion:
    • What are the authors’ acceptable or ideal uses for television, internet and cellular technology?
    • Is Adorno’s recommendation for intervention compatible with the Iranian cleric’s fatwa?
    • Does Wu’s opinion column track with either of the other two readings?
    • Do you see any the recommended interventions happening in America, and if so, do you think they’re effective?
  • Recommended viewing prior to discussion:
    Please consider the following photos as part of the discussion:
911 selfie

Self-photo at Ground Zero.

iwo selfie

Group self-photo at Iwo Jima memorial.

 

Discussion 3

Eric Ritter von Kuenhelt-Leddihn, The Menace of the Herd: Procrustes at Large, “Identity Versus Diversity.”

Direct link to download The Menace of the Herd: Procrustes at Large:
http://mises.org/document/3082/The-Menace-of-the-Herd-or-Procrustes-at-Large

  • (from Wikipedia) “Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (born July 31, 1909 in Tobelbad (nowHaselsdorf-Tobelbad), Austria-Hungary; died May 26, 1999, in Lans, Austria) was an Austrian Catholic nobleman and socio-political theorist. Describing himself as an “extreme conservative arch-liberal” or “liberal of the extreme right”, Kuehnelt-Leddihn often argued that majority rule in democracies is a threat to individual liberties, and declared himself a monarchist and an enemy of all forms of totalitarianism. Described as “A Walking Book of Knowledge”, Kuehnelt-Leddihn had an encyclopedic knowledge of the humanities and was a polyglot, able to speak eight languages and read seventeen others. His early books The Menace of the Herd and Liberty or Equality were influential within theAmerican conservative movement. His best-known writings appeared in National Review, where he was a columnist for 35 years.”
  • Kuenhelt-Leddhin posits that the true threat to society is what happens when we give over the government’s power to the masses, or when we try to create a democracy.  The herdist, as described by Kuehnelt-Leddhin:

“The individual courage of the herdist may be limited, but attacking with  the herd he can become an easy victim of a true mass psychosis and perform ‘wonders.’  The Soviet films dealing with revolution and civil war have always emphasized the success of mass frenzy.  The herdist’s lack of true humanity even makes him predisposed for sadistic acts such as we have witnessed during the Spanish Civil War or in many a concentration camp.”

  • Focus of discussion:
    • Is a definite good that can come of a democracy, and is it even possible to have a democracy?  Encourage discussion participants to make strong claims either in support of or against democracy, and ask them to back up their claims with sections from the reading.

Discussion 4

Rene Guenon, Crisis of the Modern World, “Social Chaos.”

Direct link to dowload:
http://tohno-chan.com/ddl/src/Rene_Guenon_-_The_Crisis_of_the_Modern_World.pdf

  • (from Wikipedia) “René Guénon (November 15, 1886 – January 7, 1951), also known as Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahid Yahya, was a French author and intellectual who remains an influential figure in the domain of metaphysics, having written on topics ranging from metaphysics, “sacred science” and traditional studies to symbolism and initiation.In his writings, he proposes either ‘to expose directly some aspects of Eastern metaphysical doctrines’, these doctrines being defined by him as of ‘universal character’, or ‘to adapt these same doctrines for Western readers while keeping strictly faithful to their spirit’; he only endorsed the act of ‘handing down’ these Eastern doctrines, while reiterating their ‘non-individual character.’”
  • Key words: Equality, aristocracy, democracy, materialism, modern, modernity.
  • Discussion focus:  Participants should investigate the question of whether or not we are morally, politically, intellectually and physically more well off living in our present state of affairs.  Encourage participants to argue one or both sides of these topics, and to try cite examples from the reading to back up their claims.
    • The United States of America has a robust and well functioning political system– or does it?
    • Is our government’s dysfunctionality a bug or a feature, and does this (dis)functionality lend itself to creating an oppressive and irresponsible oligarchy or a powerful and responsible aristocracy?
    • All things being equal about elected leaders, is it possible for citizens of a state to elect suitable leaders?

Discussion 5

The Havamal.  Stanzas 1 – 35.

Direct link to download The Havamal:
http://sigewif.com/library/Havamal-Chisholm.pdf

  • From Wikipedia:  “Hávamál (English pronunciation: /ˈhɑːvəmɑːl/ hah-və-mahl; ‘sayings of the high one’) is presented as a single poem in the Poetic Edda, a collection of Old Norse poems from the Viking age. The poem, itself a combination of different poems, is largely gnomic, presenting advice for living, proper conduct and wisdom.”This reading discussion should focus on the question of how to renew ourselves in the new year, what kinds of changes we should like to see in ourselves, and how we can use the Havamal’s wisdom to be better friends, neighbors and members of the community.You can read either a very literal interpretation of the stanzas, or you read it as a series of allegories with mystical teachings.  In either case the focus of the discussion is about what we can do as individuals to be better members of our communities.

Discussion 6

Julius Evola, Metaphysics of Sex, “The Metaphysics of Modesty,” pp 96 – 101

Direct link to download Metaphysics of Sex:
https://ia601508.us.archive.org/0/items/JuliusEvola/JuliusEvola-The_metaphysics_of_sex.pdf

  • Discussion focus:
    • Is modesty absolute or relative?
    • Is the female body truly so dangerous that we should have legislation and social controls to forcibly conceal a woman’s arms, legs, or face?
    • How do men perform modesty, and is it equally important for men?
    • What would Evola say about well meaning women who wear yoga pants to church or other mundane places, and the infamous topless protests by Femen?
    • What about men who wear muscle shirts (or no shirts) outside the gym.  Does protection of the law justify this kind of behavior by men and women, and if it does, what should the law look like?
    • If protection of the law does not justify immodest behavior, why is this the case?
    • Should the state have any authority to legislate forms of modesty, or should this be the sole responsibility and jurisdiction of non-governmental groups like churches and civic organizations?
  • Discussion participants should be told ahead of time that there are no “correct” or absolutely right answers to the questions posed for discussion.  Given the wide range of religious and ideological convictions of group members it may not be even be possible to arrive at a consensus, neither is this specifically the point of discussion meetings.  Participants should be encouraged to take a strong stance either in support of or against something relating to the idea of how people perform modest behavior and why it is (or is not) important.
  • Recommended viewing:Watch for Kailin See’s performance as Sarah Hite in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007).  She appears first as a seemingly modest woman, yet is later shown to be anything but.  This woman’s immodest behavior drives Wood Hite (Jeremy Renner) to an attempted murder of the man whom slept with her.  It is not available for streaming on Netflix, but your local library or university library may have a copy for viewing.

Discussion 7

Julius Evola, Metaphysics of War, “The meaning of the Crusades,” and “The greater war and the lesser war.” pp 35 – 46.

Direct link to download:
https://ia601508.us.archive.org/0/items/JuliusEvola/JuliusEvola-TheMetaphysicsOfWar.pdf

  • These two short readings come from Evola’s Metaphysics of War.  Words like crusade, crusader, holy war, jihad, and hero shouldn’t be thrown around as if they’re a punchline.  These words have very specific meanings with their own metaphysical and mystical definitions.  The readings should help to understand what a hero is and why this is an important and revered societal status.
  • Keywords: Jihad, holy war, crusader, crusade, crusades, war, greater war, lesser war, hero
  • Discussion focus:  The militant group ISIS (also referred to as IS, or ISIL) is regularly accused of committing violence in the name of Islam, or in defence of Islamic values.  Meanwhile, once or twice a year in the USA there are stories about “Christian extremists and radicals” killing abortion doctors, assassinating political figures, or bombing buildings.
    • Agree or disagree:  Do ISIS militants and American Christian radicals have any claim to being crusaders or knights in a Holy War, and should they be regards as heros?  Ask participants to state why they agree or disagree with the discussion focus by backing up their claims with sections from the readings.

Discussion 8

Herbert W. Simons, “Requirements, Problems, and Strategies: A Theory of Persuasion for Social Movements.” The Quarterly Journal of Speech, Volume LVI, February 1970, Number 1.

Direct link to download:
http://astro.temple.edu/~hsimons/Simons1970.pdf

  • This reading is aimed specifically at leaders of a social movement.  This is not an instruction manual or paint-by-numbers guide with guaranteed success, it is a scholarly article that presents some of the most valuable roles that a social movement must consider.There are some very important issues raised about how a social movement leader should interact with followers.  Many social movement members will not be fit to lead.  The burden of command, as the military might call it, is a very serious responsibility and is integral to the success or failure of a functioning group.  If a man or woman is simply lacking in command or fails to perform a leader’s roles and responsibilities, it does not mean that person is unable to be of benefit to a given movement.  It is the leader’s responsibility to find ways to engage followers in a productive manner.  The group’s followers will abandon membership if the group leader is unable to keep them positively engaged.  All people are necessary for the success of a social movement, and the only time that a person should be dismissed from a group is when he or she proves to be directly counter-productive and destructive to group activity.
  • Key words: Moderate, militant, power-vulnerable, power-invulnerable.
  • Discussion focus:  Discussion participants should discuss what it means to be a militant or moderate activist, which kinds of activism techniques will be better suited for each type of activist, and when activism and agitation against a target should start or stop.

  • Vasili Bakagias

    Voice of Albion – Jez Turner of the London Forum IONA

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  • Radu-The Orthodox Nationalist

    Sounds like a great series of discussions,comrade Matt!I hope that the students will progress even more into the depths of the real values that had built our civilization before and will surely influence this one either!I salute your initiatives and the fact that you run one of the most active chapters of th movement!
    I got in touch with the TYN almost 2 years ago and I definitely remember being really content that there are young people in our generation that are fighthing the good fight,for Faith,Family and Folk!I wish you all the best in your future actions!

    • Thanks for the compliment, but neither Parrott nor Heimbach wrote this syllabus (I wrote it). I’m going to try and keep this up as a regular thing and post another syllabus about this time next year.

  • Radu -The Orthodox Nationalist

    My mistake,I meant comrade Thomas!I
    I hope that you will continue what you are doing.
    With brotherly love and admiration,
    Radu Simion,an romanian comrade

  • Hey there-

    Just finding this from Unorthodoxy.

    I love this idea, as my 18 year old son is off to college this fall. I will forward it to him.

    Thanks for this effort.

    Scott, http://www.courtshippledge.com

discussion

By: Thomas Buhls



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