The Conditions of Modernity
Conservatives spend a lot of time studying subjects like the Greco-Roman classics, the Great Books, the Protestant Reformers, the American Founding, or the meaning of Abraham Lincoln.
These are all valuable topics. But they miss out on critical knowledge necessary to understand and live in our world today.
America and the West underwent a fundamental societal shift in the post-1870 era, caused by large scale industrialization and modernization, large scale urbanization, the rise of mass media, and incredible technological transformation. How did electricity, the telephone, megacities, the automobile, the airplane, film, TV & radio, the Internet, etc. change the way humans lived? The impact of these changes on society must be understood in order to make sense of life today.
Filling in that gap is why next year I will be conducting a year long introductory course on these topics called “The Conditions of Modernity.”
This course will be part of my Member program, the community for my closest supporters. We have Member only interactive Zoom sessions roughly twice a month, and also a private Slack group. Next year I will be using one of our Zoom sessions each month to discuss a selection of readings that survey the nature and impact of several of these topics.
To encourage you to sign up for the Member community and course, I’m making a special holiday offer through the end of the year to join for only $35/month (regularly $50/month). Being a Member gives you all the benefits of being a Subscriber, so if you are already a Substack subscriber, that price is only a net of $25/month.
You can become a Member at this special rate on Patreon or at Gumroad. You can also get an even bigger discount with the annual rate of $360 (equivalent to $30/month) by upgrading to a Member right here on Substack.
Note that my Patreon and Gumroad still use my old newsletter name “The Masculinist.”
Here’s an outline of what we will read and discuss in the Conditions of Modernity course.
Cultural Change: To Change the World (Speech) by James Davison Hunter; Optional further reading: To Change the World (Book) by James Davison Hunter.
Early 90s Populism: The Secession of the Successful (Essay) by Robert Reich; Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future (Essay) by Edward Luttwak; Optional further reading: The Politics of Rich and Poor (Book) by Kevin Phillips
Social Class: Digby Baltzell’s Sociology of Elites (Essay) by Aaron M. Renn; Optional further reading: Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia (Book) by E. Digby Baltzell
Mass Media: Amusing Ourselves to Death (Book) by Neil Postman. Optional further reading: The Gulf War Did Not Take Place (Book) by Jean Baudrillard
Gender: The Misandry Bubble (essays) by Imran Khan. Optional further reading: Gender (book) by Ivan Illich
Post-Christianity: The Return to Paganism (Essay) and The End of Christianity (Essay) by Chantal Delsol
Managerialism: James Burnham’s Managerial Elite (Essay) by Julius Krein; Understanding the Managerial Revolution (Essay) by Aaron Renn
Technology: Questions About the Current Pandemic From the Point of View of Ivan Illich (Essay) by David Cayley; Medical Nemesis (Book) by Ivan Illich
Real World Risk: What Do I Mean by Skin in the Game? My Own Version (Essay), Real Life is Risk Taking (Essay), An Expert Called Lindy (Essay), The Intellectual Yet Idiot (Essay) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb; An Antifragile Church (Essay) by Aaron M. Renn. Optional further reading: Fooled by Randomness (Book) and Antifragile (Book) by Nicholas Nassim Taleb
Strategy: 4th Generation War (Book) by William Lind
Industrialization: The Hind Tit (Essay) by Andrew Lytle
Legacy of Sigmund Freud: Century of the Self (BBC docu-series by Adam Curtis)
I selected mostly essays and articles rather than books to limit the amount of necessary work. I provided longer form work as optional supplements if you are interested. For example, we will read a speech version of James Davison Hunter’s cultural change theory rather than reading his book. The book is optional. For those topics where I did select a book for the reading, it is short and easy to digest, like Amusing Ourselves to Death.
Did you see what I did there? I just gave you the syllabus, so it’s not necessary to become a Member to do the reading yourself. Make no mistake, I do need financial support to make my work viable, but my primary goal is to equip people. Please consider that course outline my gift to you.
Today is Giving Tuesday. While I’m not a charity organization, as you think about what people and ministries you want to support in 2023, I hope you’ll consider supporting me by becoming a Member. Unlike with large organizations, your paid subscriptions or membership here make a big impact. The major growth and influence of my three worlds of evangelicalism model this year was only possible because of the support of people like you. With your help, we’ll work to continue elevating our game next year.
Again, you can become a Member and get all the benefits of that, including the Conditions of Modernity course, plus all benefits of being a Substack subscriber, for only $35/month (regular $50/month) through December 31st. Become a Member today on Patreon or Gumroad. Or become an annual Member for an even bigger discount on Substack for $360/year (equivalent to $30/month). Because your help does make a difference.
Thank you so much.
Hey Aaron. I signed up for an annual membership via Substack. How will I receive further information about member benefits (slack channels,zoom invites, the course)?
Sounds great. What time are the zoom sessions held?