Alan E. Johnson

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Roger Williams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Ab ...more

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Alan E. Johnson is the author of The Electoral College: Failures of Original Intent and a Proposed Constitutional Amendment for Direct Popular Vote (2018), The First American Founder: Roger Williams and Freedom of Conscience (2015), First Philosophy and Human Ethics: A Rational Inquiry (2000), and other publications in the fields of history, constitutional law, political science, and philosophy. He is currently preparing a replacement or substantial revision of First Philosophy and Human Ethics under the provisional title Reason and Human Ethics. He holds an A.B. (Political Science) and A.M. (Humanities) from the University of Chicago and a J.D. from Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He is retired from a lon ...more

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Alan E. Johnson Pinker's argument about inequality is standard libertarian doctrine with which I have been long familiar, having been a libertarian fellow traveler…morePinker's argument about inequality is standard libertarian doctrine with which I have been long familiar, having been a libertarian fellow traveler from about 1973 to about 2001. I would agree with his statement as a very abstract proposition. all other things being equal. But all other things are not (and have never been) equal—either in the United States or elsewhere. The very wealthy have rigged the economy, through laws (or the absence thereof), fraud, and other predatory practices, against everyone else such that we have the greatest economic inequality since the years before the Great Depression. And that economic inequality is deleterious to the economy as a whole, as the stock market crash of 2008 and ensuing Great Recession proved. See, for example, All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera. Now the libertarians will say that practices such as those leading to the 2008 crash were unlibertarian. For example, libertarian theory (except for anarchocapitalism) argues that the government should promulgate and enforce laws against fraud (see, for example, Ayn Rand, who eschewed, however, the "libertarian" label). In practice, however, the wealthy usually get away with it (hardly any individual was prosecuted for the fraudulent practices leading to the 2008 debacle). Why? Because the governing class has been bought off by the wealthy. We have a plutocracy, not a democracy. Among many other books, see also Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, which I have reviewed here, and Tula A. Connell's Conservative Counterrevolution: Challenging Liberalism in 1950s Milwaukee, which I have reviewed here.

The utopian libertarian vision is very pretty, but it ignores political and economic reality. I started having serious doubts about it in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The clincher for me was the 2008 crash, which demonstrated that libertarianism was "just a theory" (to channel, ironically, a standard antievolution trope) that had no basis in historical reality. It just gives the extremely wealthy (the Kochs, for example) a figleaf to justify their predatory practices, legal and otherwise.(less)
Alan E. Johnson Since you are a member of the "Political Philosophy and Ethics" group, you can post something in that topic if you explain how it is relevant to the…moreSince you are a member of the "Political Philosophy and Ethics" group, you can post something in that topic if you explain how it is relevant to the topic. Although this seems evident from the book title, you might want to elaborate a bit.

Alan E. Johnson, Founding Moderator(less)
Average rating: 4.14 · 7 ratings · 6 reviews · 3 distinct works
The First American Founder:...

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First Philosophy and Human ...

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The Electoral College: Fail...

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* Note: these are all the books on Goodreads for this author. To add more, click here.

My book The First American Founder: Roger Williams and Freedom of Conscience is available in paperback and Kindle e-book editions at Amazon websites throughout the world. I have posted errata and supplemental comments here. On August 6, 2015, I was interviewed about Roger Williams and this book. A video of the interview is posted here. This video is part of my YouTube channel regarding Roge... Read more of this blog post »
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Published on August 10, 2015 00:00 • 483 views • Tags: liberty-of-conscience, providence-rhode-island, rhode-island, roger-williams, separation-of-church-and-state

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Alan Johnson Alan Johnson said: " I read the R. H. M. Elwes English translation of Spinoza's Theologico-Political Treatise (1670) and Political Treatise (unfinished manuscript written shortly before Spinoza's death) in the spring of 1967 when I took a course on these writings. Since ...more "

 
On Rhetoric: A Th...
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" Feliks wrote: "Glad to contribute. You know Alan, your upcoming book on ethics might be one with the most interesting footnotes of any volume in its f ...more "
" Addendum to my preceding post:

In "On a Forgotten Kind of Writing", Chicago Review 8, no. 1 (Winter - Spring, 1954): 64-75, Leo Strauss responded to c
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The Mask of Enlightenment by Stanley Rosen
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Question Of Being by Stanley Rosen
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" Anatol wrote: "some other food for thought: An opinion why there's no point in bridging the lines: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/20......"

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More of Alan's books…
“Roger Williams died sometime during the early months of 1683. Some of what he said and wrote during his lifetime belongs to the seventeenth century. But much of his historical and philosophical record speaks to us across the centuries.”
Alan E. Johnson

“The first questions naturally raised by a person emerging from the fog of childhood are the same questions that led Aristotle and other great philosophers to think and write deeply on the subjects of first philosophy and ethics.”
Alan E. Johnson, First Philosophy and Human Ethics : A Rational Inquiry

“During the nineteenth, twentieth, and early twenty-first centuries, certain politically active religious movements sought to have the United States declared—officially, if possible, but at least unofficially—a "Christian nation." This was an attempt to reverse the church-state separation principles and achievements of such great Founders as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Roger Williams, who was more religiously devout than just about anyone living in later centuries, opposed all attempts to call a particular nation "Christian," just as he opposed the terms "Christendom" and "Christian world." His arguments included a profound analysis of the importance of separation of church and state as well as a deep religious understanding of what Christianity is.”
Alan E. Johnson, The First American Founder: Roger Williams and Freedom of Conscience

“What I do not know, I do not think I know.”
Socrates

“It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.”
Earl Weaver, It's What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts

“It is always more easy to discover and proclaim general principles than to apply them.”
Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm

“Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defence.”
Abraham Lincoln, Speeches and Writings 1832–1858

“Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

[Commencement Address at Yale University, June 11 1962]
John F. Kennedy

137714 Political Philosophy and Ethics — 2072 members — last activity Dec 13, 2018 01:09PM
Study and discussion of important questions of political philosophy and ethics, beginning (but not ending) with the questions asked by Socrates. Rules ...more
21085 United States Constitution, law and history — 111 members — last activity Jul 01, 2018 04:49PM
Dedicated to the study of the United States Constitution, history of the Constitution, and development of constitutional law, and to sharing ideas, ph ...more
21708 SCOTUS History and Philosophy — 45 members — last activity Jun 05, 2018 01:26PM
A discussion of cases and issues and books related to the U.S. Supreme Court. Some basic ground rules: Please cite sources and focus on books (this is ...more
25x33 Religion and Philosophy Reseach — 116 members — last activity Jul 19, 2017 05:54AM
This group is dedicated to sharing knowledge, books, sources, and assisting in researching information in religion and spirituality via the following ...more
17226 17th Century History — 23 members — last activity Nov 27, 2017 01:18PM
Group to celebrate and discuss the 17th century, and books. I find there are never many groups about this period, despite the momentous events that oc ...more
30736 History of the Early American Republic — 48 members — last activity Aug 09, 2015 05:58AM
This group is dedicated to the study of and literature discussing the early American Republic. We will be discussing a wide variety of topics and idea ...more
1913 Ancient World — 427 members — last activity Jan 31, 2018 07:36PM
For those who love books about the pre-Christian era. Anywhere. Group is new and welcomes all comers, and ideas.
501 The Brain and Mind — 3074 members — last activity Nov 23, 2018 01:59PM
This is a group for readers to recommend and discuss books related to real and/or artificial brains. Categories include but are not limited to: neuros ...more
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This group is for Moderators and Co-Moderators to discuss, ideas, solutions and the challenges of running a Goodreads group. You must be a moderator t ...more
552915 Supreme Court of the United States(SCOTUS). — 67 members — last activity Jun 06, 2018 07:41AM
For All Your Issues on, Populism, Political Science, Political Philosophy and the Constitution of the Constitution. Oral Arguments -- Supreme Court of ...more
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