Politics

The City Podcast: Let’s Talk Politics

by Timothy Motte on March 10, 2014

The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.

Featuring: Ben Domenech, Dr. John Mark Reynolds

Today, Dr. Reynolds sits down with The City editor-in-chief, Ben Domenech, to talk politics.

What can a politician achieve while losing an election? Is there any possible scandal that could touch Hillary Clinton? Does the president need to have an opinion on everything? And some extremely early speculations about the 2016 election landscape. (Don’t worry: we won’t do this every week.)

Ben is a professional political commentator and Dr. Reynolds is a very well-read and insightful political watcher. This conversation is a joy to listen to, whether you care about the politics or not.

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Email us at podcast@hbu.edu with your thoughts, questions, or suggestions for future episodes.

The City Podcast: Communism in Practice

by Timothy Motte on December 9, 2013

The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.

Featuring: Dr. Barbara Elliott, Cate MacDonald, Dr. Holly Ordway, Dr. John Mark Reynolds

HBU professor, Dr. Barbara Elliott, has received the Eleanor Roosevelt human rights award, been very active in the non-profit sector, served in the Reagan administration, been the editor of the journal Imprimis, and worked as an international television reporter.

But most importantly for this podcast, she was there when the Berlin wall came down, and in her helping refugees to escape she discovered the story of the role of people of faith in that momentous event. That story is told in her book, Candles behind the Wall: Heroes of the Peaceful Revolution That Shattered Communism.

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Email us at podcast@hbu.edu with your thoughts, questions, or suggestions for future episodes.

You might also be interested in The City Podcast: Human Perfectibility and the Role of Govenment.

The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.

Featuring: Dr. Barbara Elliott, Cate MacDonald, Dr. Holly Ordway, Dr. John Mark Reynolds

Many of you may have a hard time caring about politics because it seems unintelligent, uncharitable, and irrelevant to how you live your day to day life.

What if we told you that this was not always the case?

Enter Dr. Barbara Elliott. She is the founder of the Russell Kirk Forum for Cultural Renewal at HBU, and she was able, to the delight and mild surprise of our regular podcasters, to show how the Conservative movement is not a political ideology, but an entire approach to life (including politics). Russell Kirk is the influential author who put all the pieces together in the middle of the 20th century.

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Email us at podcast@hbu.edu with your thoughts, questions, or suggestions for future episodes.

Mentioned in this podcast:
The Imaginative Conservative
The Intercollegiate Studies Institute
The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk
The Work-Faith Connection

The City Podcast: Should You Think for Yourself? – Redux

by Timothy Motte on November 18, 2013

The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.

Featuring: Dr. Holly Ordway, Dr. John Mark Reynolds

Following our first podcast on the topic of thinking or not-thinking for yourself, we received a very insightful email response from a listener under the moniker of Paul O’Tarsus.

Because Dr. Ordway was not on the original podcast, we tapped her to help Dr. Reynolds respond to Mr. O’Tarsus. Together, they take this topic to a much deeper and nuanced level.

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Email us at podcast@hbu.edu with your thoughts, questions, or suggestions for future episodes.

Russell Kirk and the Moral Imagination

by Robert Stacey on November 5, 2013

This past week my students and I had the honor of a visit from Annette Kirk, widow of Russell Kirk.  Mrs. Kirk led us in a discussion of her husband’s classic essay “The Moral Imagination.”  The term moral imagination actually comes from Edmund Burke, the 18th century author of Reflections on the Revolution in France and father of modern conservatism.  Burke believed that the French revolutionaries were systematically destroying the critical, civilizing influences that are necessary to preserve valuable culture.

“All the decent drapery of life is to be rudely torn off. All the superadded ideas, furnished from the wardrobe of a moral imagination, which the heart owns, and the understanding ratifies, as necessary to cover the defects of our naked shivering nature, and to raise it to dignity in our own estimation, are to be exploded as a ridiculous, absurd, and antiquated fashion.”

Kirk elaborated on the moral imagination brilliantly.  “The moral imagination,” he wrote, “aspires to the apprehending of right order in the soul and right order in the commonwealth.”  It goes beyond our personal, individual experiences to help us fathom the depths of human dignity in light of God’s creation.  It “instructs us that we are more than naked apes.” It has been practiced by a diverse pantheon of great artists, from Virgil and Dante to Eliot and Tolkien.  Our lives are all much richer for it.

What Kirk feared, and what we today experience more and more as Unlightenment grips our country, is the eclipse of moral imagination by the idyllic imagination, first spun out by Jean Jacques Rousseau–the “insane Socrates of the National Assembly” as Burke called him. [click to continue…]

The National Debt

by Robert Stacey on November 1, 2013

If you are feeling confident that America is “headed in the right direction,” as the pollsters say, I encourage you to visit a handy website called USADebtClock.com.  There you can casually watch millions of dollars being added to the national debt very few moments. The tens of thousands of dollars click by too quickly to really observe.

Just the interest on the national debt cost the country $414 billion in 2010.  That is more than 3-times what we spent on the Department of Education, the Department of Transportation, and NASA combined.

But “national debt” only captures part of the story.  The national debt is money the government has already borrowed.  But the government has also made extensive financial commitments legally required to be funded over many years.

Consider the following scenario.  Suppose you lose your job and have no money coming in.  If you were to then sign up for, say, Netflix and promise to pay them $25 per month for streaming and DVD rentals, you would have an annual liability of $300 with no ability to pay it.  In real life, Netflix would simply cut you off when you failed to pay.  But things work differently in Government World.

Through perpetual entitlement programs such as Medicare, Social Security, and now Obamacare, the government has at this moment committed to pay out $125726005545981 beyond the national debt already contracted.  [Full disclosure: I had to make up the last 6 digits--they fly by so quickly that the human mind cannot process them. No matter.  By the time you read this, many millions will already have been added...]  Accountants call these commitments unfunded liabilities and consider them to be another form of debt.

$126 trillion in unfunded liabilities makes the paltry $17.4 trillion national debt look almost insignificant.  Altogether, you (and every other man, woman, and child in the U.S.) are on the hook for about $450,000.  That is a lot of Netflix.