Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Morgan Miller's Summer Internship at Acton Institute

This summer, Morgan Miller (Political Science and Philosophy double major and Ashbrook Scholar) did an internship at the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She worked with the Programs and Education team whose main project was Acton University, a three day conference with over 1,000 participants from 80 different countries. Here is how Morgan describes her work:  "Before the start of Acton University, some of my duties included assigning course monitors to Acton University sessions, preparing course packets for the participants, and creating stipends for international and domestic fellowship students. After Acton University, I helped create reports ranging from 30 to 400 pages in length with the information gathered by the participants of the conference. The Acton Institute hosted many luncheons for the interns to discuss thinkers like Frederick Hayek and Abraham Kuyper. 
"In the few months I worked for the Acton Institute as an intern, I was surrounded by like-minded people that pushed me to think seriously about the way I viewed the world--everyone was eager to have a discussion or provide materials to help me expand my understanding on a particular area of study. It was in these months at Acton that I began to realize the implications of man as created in the image of God endowed with creativity to flourish fully if given liberty and a free market. I believe that because of my time at the Acton Institute, I have a fuller understanding of why these principles are important as well as a deeper passion for defending them."

Taylor Essay Award Winners

Every semester Ashbrook Scholars compete in an essay writing competition.  Authors chose their own topics and a first draft is critiqued in a writing seminar; winners are chosen from the revised versions.  Below are the winners from the FA 2017 competition.  Congratulations all!  You can read the first place essay at the bottom of the page and in subsequent days, we'll add the second and third place essays.  In the spring all the winning essays will be published in Res Publica.  

First place:       "The Good Catastrophe" by Caleb Boyer
Second place:  "We Have Less Time Than We Think" by Jackson Yenor
Third Place:     "Waiting for Change: It's Time to Abolish Tipping"
                            by Lucas Trott

Honorable Mention:  
           "Through the Lens of Mary" by Morgan Miller
           "Contrasts in Community: Healing at Home by Looking Abroad" 
                 by Dennis Clark  
           "In the Midnight of the Mind" by Tyler MacQueen

The Good Catastrophe
by Caleb Boyer

Most of us stopped reading fairy tales a long time ago. We often stop reading them as we get older. At the least, we stop taking them seriously. When I say fairy tales, I recall the fantastical stories written by C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and authors like them. Their writings are the noblest and most complete kind of fairy tale, because they contain what Tolkien called “eucatastrophe” or, put simply, the good catastrophe. This term represents the sudden turn of events in a story which ensures the triumph of the good and the consolation of a happy ending. In his essay On Fairy-Stories, Tolkien claimed that such stories did not deny the existence of sorrow, failure, or evil. On the contrary, the existence of evil only heightens the joy of the good that is to prevail. However, fairy tales containing eucatastrophe did deny “universal final defeat.” In the end, goodness and virtue win against all odds.
Then we grow up. Experiencing the reality of our world has a way of invalidating our hope in goodness, virtue, and happy endings. Eventually we disregard fairy tales entirely and cease to believe in the existence of the good catastrophe. Instead we desire stories that reside in moral grey areas with “complex” characters that flippantly adhere to good and evil without consequence or redemption. We crave books, movies, and television series that end in catastrophe and final defeat. We argue that these stories are more valuable and relevant to our lives, because they seek to accurately reflect our reality and reveal something true about who and what we are as human beings. In actuality, we find these stories more attractive than fairy tales, because they demand little of us.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Dr. Paddags' Sabbatical Update

While on sabbatical, Dr. Paddags has found a temporary home at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbuettel, Germany, where he is a visiting scholar during the Fall 2017. The library has an extensive collection of works from the early modern period, including the 18th century. Also, it is famous for the Evangeliar of Henry the Lion, one of world's most precious books. For Dr. Paddags research at the library has been very productive, thanks to the excellent collection, the knowledgeable and helpful staff, and the various seminars and lectures held at the library. In particular, it was a joy to get a hold of some of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's works - first editions! Also, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing used to be the head librarian for some time and reading some of his letters (in German, Latin, but most of them in French) in the original has been another special treat. In the picture below you can see Dr. Paddags in front of the library's main entrance.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Update from Brian Le in South Korea

Brian Le's study abroad experience in South Korea is turning out to be more interesting perhaps than he expected.  One of the two photos below shows him at an historical site in Seoul, and the other is a picture he took of a South Korean border guard in the DMZ between the South and the North; two North Korean border guards peer into the room through the window, trying to intimidate the visitors inside.

He also wrote this on Friday:  "If you have not heard by now, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck the southeastern coast of South Korea with its epicenter a mere 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) away from my school on Wednesday afternoon. By Wednesday night, all of the international students had been moved to a nearby church where we rested and were fed. On Thursday morning, state officials inspected the buildings and declared all the dormitory buildings to be safe to enter, and Thursday night, we returned to our dorms. There is supposed news that a larger, magnitude 7-8 earthquake will hit, but only time will tell. Until then, the school has officially paused all campus activities and classes, to be resumed on December 4th, the last week of classes, and then finals week. My credits will still be viable, but in regards to what I will be doing in class those last two weeks, I have no idea. I wanted to let you and the other History/Poli-Sci professors and the Ashbrookers know that Jakson Kennedy and myself are safe, and that as of right now, I am taking advantage of our two week break to go to Seoul and obtain a visa to go to China and visit Beijing on an impromptu solo trip."

Monday, October 30, 2017

Brian Kilmeade Lectures on Andrew Jackson

Brian Kilmeade, the co-host of Fox and Friends and host of the nationally syndicated radio show, “The Brian Kilmeade Show”, will deliver the second Peter W. Schramm Memorial Lecture on Friday, November 3, 2017 at 7:30 PM, at the beautiful Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield, Ohio.  The title of the lecture is "Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans."

Peter W. Schramm, was a long-time member of the Department of Political Science and Executive Director of the John M. Ashbrook Center.  The Lecture is sponsored by Samuel H. and Maria Miller. 

For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact
Carrie Clever at cclever@ashbrook.org or call toll-free 877-289-5411.

Brian has written 4 books, 3 of which were New York Times best sellers: ”The Games Do Count”, “It’s How You Play the Game” and more recently, “George Washington’s Secret Six” and “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates” cowritten with Don Yaeger. His fifth book “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans” is due out in the fall of 2017, again teaming up with Yaeger with the hope of mirroring their previous success.