Beer and Bureaucracy, Churches and Chocolate, Waffles and Western Civilization

After two years of graduate studies at the university, I felt that I did not have a sufficiently good education to merit the degree of Doctor in Philosophy. I confided my worries to one of the professors, who said: “What would you like to have in education?” I said: “I should like to know two things—first, what the modern world is thinking about; second, how to answer the errors of modern philosophy in the light of the philosophy of St. Thomas.” He said: “You will never get it here, but you will get it at the University of Louvain in Belgium.
                                     — Fulton J. Sheen, Treasure in Clay  

ISI Summer Seminar at Samford in Alabama

ISI Summer Seminar at Samford in Alabama

I arrived to the Brussels airport on Sunday morning. From there, I found my way to the train and purchased a ticket to Leuven where I would meet my friend Dan, who is studying there, and who I met at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute First Principles seminar this past summer at Samford University in Alabama. At the closing picnic, he and I had struck up a conversation, along with Vinny, who was studying at Leuven with Dan, too. We hit it off quickly discussing existentialism, phenomenology, and mysticism. They both encouraged me to consider studying at Leuven and to, at the very least, visit. So the seeds planted during that one conversation in Alabama were now bearing fruit in Belgium.

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Human Action versus Behaviourialism: Can Praxeology and Experimental Economics be Reconciled?

Here is my presentation on Human Action and Behaviouralism that I delivered at the Toronto Austrian Scholars Conference on November 2, 2013 at the University of Toronto.

At Yonge and Dundas Square: Collecting Street Propaganda so you don’t have to

So, I recently moved to Toronto. And often I pass by Yonge and Dundas Square, a main public square downtown. It’s always a lively and bustling place. You can count on seeing street performers and people handing out free stuff.

On day 2 here, I got bored of saying ‘no, thank you’ to everyone handing out tracts, pamphlets, etc. so I decided to accept anything anyone is handing out and share it with you in this blog.

You might say no to pamphleteers, but I know you’re curious about what they’re spreading around!

Free copies of the Qu’ran:

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Handbooks about Islam:

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Toronto Pig Save pamphlets:
“As long as there are slaughterhouses…there will be battlefields.” – Leo Tolstoy (quoted inside brochure)

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A Toronto Vegetarian Directory:

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And a promo piece for the Vegetarian Food Festival:

And reminding you to:

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And what would a public square be without conspiracy theorists?

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Time for a snack!

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Don’t be a Nodder: Painting, Poem, and Periagoge

On Saturday I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City with a group of wonderful students with whom I am currently attending the Witherspoon Institute‘s First Principles seminar.

Although it was my first time to the Met, being there reminded me of attending “Museum School” as a child. For one full week in Grade 3, my class and I had daylong visits to the Glenbow Museum where we explored art, artifacts, exhibits, historical documents, and international collections. We were given journals and encouraged to be curious and careful observers. The goal was to be still and observe with a sense of wonder, reflectively considering the “5Ws” – who, what, when, where, and why. We were encouraged to not try to observe everything, but rather to observe a few things well. We were educated to not race throughout the museum saying superficially, “That’s nice” and “That’s interesting.” In short, the most memorable lesson of Museum School was: “Don’t be a nodder.”

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The Ridiculous Woman: A Public Intellectual Parallels Dostoevsky’s “Ridiculous Man’s” Ability to Love

Capacities to Act and to Love

Recently, Marina Nemat gave participants at Acton University an account of her experiences as a political prisoner in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution of 1979. After an idyllic upbringing in a generally free society, everything changed when Nemat was arrested by Islamists at age sixteen. These perpetrators captured, interrogated, and tortured her relentlessly – almost to the point of death. When men beat the soles of her feet with cables, she wanted to die and says that she would have sold her soul to the devil in order to escape the pain. This thought perpetuated her agony because she was a Catholic who sensed in this moment that she was not fit to be a martyr. Arguing firmly that the purpose of torture is not to gain information nor punish, she insists the true purpose of torture is the destruction of the soul.  Eventually, Nemat was forced to “marry” one of her torturers. She went to his mother’s house and was warmly welcomed by his mother who showed her great hospitality.  Nemat wondered to herself: how can this woman be the mother of a torturer? Soon, this mother told her that her son had been the victim of even more severe torture. This marked a turning point at which Nemat says, “I realized then that he had been tortured – just like me. And I didn’t like that part because it made me recognize that he was a human being.” Briefly she considered revenge, perplexed by the possibility that someone can be the torturer today and the tortured tomorrow. But ultimately she conquered both this appetite for revenge and her desire to be placed in solitary confinement. Instead, Nemat chose to discover how to reaffirm her dignity in spite of the circumstances that made this seem impossible.
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Poem: Only the gods are wise

Only the gods are wise
The living imitations we ought not idolize
Refracted lights that shine quite dim
Emptiness overflows unto the brim

Seeking hungrily new knowledge
We eagerly provide a stage
The crowd is quickly hushed
So to listen to some sage

But the guru has no answers
And leaves no lasting impression
What was long anticipated
Becomes hardly worth a mention

What then is this philosophizing for?
We seem not to get too far
All these public intellectuals
And their speeches seem bizarre

Only the gods are wise
And our philosophizing is mere play
We must decide to live the questions;
They are not going away.

Amanda Achtman
May 4, 2013
Vancouver, BC 

Momentum Report: “Some Party That I Used To Know” (Updated 18 April 2013)

Thank you to everyone who has shared the “Some Party That I Used To Know” video with their family, friends, and fellow citizens through email, Facebook, and Twitter.

The response has been great! Here are some highlights:

YouTube View Count:
10, 248 (Views on YouTube in One Week)

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PCs = Political Censors – Amanda’s Twitter Account Suspended

CALGARY, ALBERTA (APRIL 12, 2013, 10:06)

We know the Progressive Conservatives don’t handle dissent very well. Yesterday, the last tweet I read before going to sleep said: “@AmandaAchtman stop spamming people.” The next morning, my twitter account had been suspended.


Please continue to share the video “Some Party That I Used To Know” on Facebook and Twitter. Tweet it to your friends, the media, and most especially, the PCs.

Will you send the PCs a message?

Alberta PCs: Some Party That I Used to Know

Alberta PCs: Some Party That I Used To Know
CALGARY, ALBERTA (APRIL 11, 2013)

Today marks the launch of the YouTube “Alberta PCs: Some Party That I Used To Know.” This video is a grassroots effort and is not affiliated with any political party.

Check out the video and share it with your friends and network and share your comments.

For more information and to support further related projects, please contact me at amanda.achtman@gmail.com

From the grassroots and for ordered liberty,
Amanda

Euthanasia Advocate: “Well, I think my family would like my money”

Earlier this year I attended Dying with Dignity seminar. After the day-long seminar on how to be a “choice in dying” apologist, I had some conversations with the elderly folks in attendence. The elderly are not a burden and the following clip demonstrates the urgent need for us all to help create a culture of life.

Listen: Euthanasia Talk Clip