Introduction to Government

180 lessons, in both video and audio format.

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The standard government course generally dives right into the various areas of life in which we allegedly need government involvement. This course is different.

This course begins not with government itself but with the rights of the people, with several lessons on the natural-rights tradition in Western civilization. And unlike the standard government course, which gives government the benefit of the doubt, this course considers whether the people themselves might not be able to provide the various services for which we are told we need government.

After taking this course, you will:

  • Be conversant with major political thinkers
  • Understand the origins of natural rights
  • Understand the origins and role of property rights
  • Have a firm grasp of the consequences of government involvement in labor relations, science, welfare, foreign aid, monopoly prevention, drugs, money, health care, and more
  • Be able to discuss comparative systems: fascism, communism, social democracy, constitutional republicanism, monarchy, and more
  • And much more (see below!)

This course is aimed at ninth graders, but I assure adults that you will not feel talked down to at all if you choose to take this course yourself. The vast bulk of the lessons also include recommended reading assignments, and a suggested writing assignment is included with each week’s material. Treat yourself, or your student, to this smorgasbord of knowledge today!

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1. Introduction
2. Natural Rights Theories: High Middle Ages to Late Scholastics
3. John Locke and Self-Ownership
4. Natural Rights Theories: Argumentation Ethics
5. Week 1 Review

6. Locke and Spooner on Consent
7. The Tale of the Slave
8. Human Rights and Property Rights
9. Negative Rights and Positive Rights
10. Week 2 Review

11. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the General Will
12. Critics of Liberalism: John Rawls and Egalitarianism
13. Critics of Liberalism: Thomas Nagel and Ronald Dworkin
14. Critics of Liberalism: G.A. Cohen
15. Week 3 Review

16. Public Goods
17. The Standard of Living
18. Poverty
19. Monopoly
20. Week 4 Review

21. Science
22. Inequality
23. Development Aid
24. Discrimination
25. Week 5 Review

26. The Socialist Calculation Problem
27. Working Conditions
28. Child Labor
29. Labor and Unions
30. Week 6 Review

31. Health Care
32. Antitrust
33. Farm Programs
34. War and the Economy
35. Week 7 Review

36. Business Cycles
37. Industrial Policy
38. Government, the Market, and the Environment
39. Prohibition
40. Week 8 Review

41. Taxation
42. Government Spending
43. The Welfare State: Theoretical Issues
44. The Welfare State: Practical Issues
45. Week 9 Review

46. Price Controls
47. Government and Money, Part I
48. Government and Money, Part II
49. Midterm Review
50. Week 10 Review

51. The Theory of the Modern State
52. American Federalism and the Compact Theory
53. Can Political Bodies Be Too Large?
54. Decentralization
55. Week 11 Review

56. Constitutionalism: Purpose
57. The American Case: Self-Government and the Tenth Amendment
58. The American Case: Progressives and the “Living, Breathing Document”
59. The American States and the Federal Government
60. Week 12 Review

61. Monarchy
62. Social Democracy
63. Fascism I
64. Fascism II
65. Week 13 Review

66. Marx I
67. Marx II
68. Communism I
69. Communism II
70. Week 14 Review

71. Miscellaneous Intervention: Postwar Africa
72. Public Choice I
73. Public Choice II
74. Miscellaneous Examples of Government Activity and Incentives
75. Week 15 Review

76. The Industrial Revolution
77. The New Deal I
78. The New Deal II
79. The Housing Bust of 2008
80. Week 16 Review

81. Are Voters Informed?
82. Is Political Representation Meaningful?
83. The Myth of the Rule of Law
84. The Incentives of Democracy
85. Week 17 Review

86. The Sweeping Critique: Lefevre
87. The Sweeping Critique: Murray N. Rothbard
88. Case Study: The Old West
89. The Economic Freedom of the World
90. What Have We Learned?