July 10: Individual Freedom and the Common Good: Can We Get the Right Balance? (with Phil Mikesell)
Wednesday, July 10
2:00pm – 4:00pm
From the beginning, Americans have embraced seemingly conflicting political goals. The Declaration of Independence emphasizes Americans’ “inalienable [individual] rights.” The Constitution sets as one of its purposes, “To promote the general welfare.” Throughout U.S. history, finding the right balance between individual freedom and collective good has guided policy making and has fueled political debate. When war or some other external threat appears, Americans have come together, but in “normal” times we tilt heavily toward our own more narrow interests.
In this seminar, we will consider the ways in which Americans seem especially skeptical of government programs aiming at any sort of common purpose. Does that matter? And if so, what might be done to restore a more fruitful balance between narrow and broader interests?
Phil taught political science for over 40 years at Wabash College, Indiana. Since his move to Leelanau County he has regularly offered short courses on issues of contemporary interest in the Extended Education Program at Northwestern Michigan College.
Phil is also a trustee of the Village of Northport and an avid recreational bicyclist.