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I wish I could say, after these nine weeks (!) of Beck University classes, that last night's was the craziest class yet. That it went out with a tremendous, oh-my-God-guys-can-you-believe-this-shit bang. But it didn't. Instead, it ended with Professor James Stoner, the only real professor on Beck U's faculty. (Here's my review of Stoner's Charity 102 class.) And almost a hundred percent of the class made perfect sense and was not at all offensive.

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Stoner talked about the origin of our rights, and how much of the Constitutional language came from William Blackstone, an English law professor whose Commentaries formed much of the basis for the Bill of Rights. Basically, the rights Blackstone suggested that wound up in the Bill of Rights ensured that the people had a right to be protected from their own government. Stoner says that "Progressives" at the time of the framing of the Constitution were opposed to Blackstone's idea of rights, believing that rights should come from the government, not from the people. While I disagree with him that it was a progressive belief—you can make a very good case that the Founding Fathers were progressive and not conservative—that was a serious debate at the time. Stoner argues, and I agree with him, that Constitutional power comes from the people and not the government.

Stoner only gets scary when he brings religion into it. He says that liberals believe that "Everyone needs to be the creator of his own universe," and then he extrapolates: "It’s a contradiction to speak about rights in a universe in which there is no right or wrong." I think philosophy is Stoner's weakest point, and he is unfair to atheists when he perpetuates these ideas. But for the most part, I wish more conservatives were like Stoner. He's thoughtful, he's willing to follow ideas back to their roots, and he's usually eager to look at things from the opposing perspective.

That's why the post-class chats on the Charity series are always the least exciting, with people asking simple civics-class-type questions and Stoner providing substantive answers.

[Comment From Naita: ]
What is self expresion?

[Comment From Joe in PA: ]
what was the biggest reeasons why did the founders not want a democracy but a republic?

The biggest news of this class was Glenn Beck's introduction (The video was blurry, making Beck look like a bad 1980s music-video special effect.)

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When the screen cleared up, Beck looked incredibly tired. "We’re going to take a nap for a while,” he said, explaining that after the 8/28 rally and starting The Blaze, he and his staff were going to go on a vacation. But Beck said that they've gotten comments from Beck U attendees and the results were that "You want more. Longer classes, more classes, more of everything." And then he announced that, starting in October, “fall and winter classes” would begin at Beck University.

As Slog's resident Beckspert, I suppose I should continue with my higher lower education and take those classes, too, when they start. But as a human being, my stomach is churning at the thought of nine more weeks of this. I'm willing to bet, though, that when classes do start up again, Professor Stoner's name won't be on the course list. As the other two courses have shown, there is no room for rational thought in Beck University.

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