Book Talk on ‘Uniting Mississippi: Democracy and Leadership in the South’

At the Clinton School for Public Service, on Monday, October 19, 2015 at noon.

I am so grateful for two lovely introductions, one from Dean Skip Rutherford of the Clinton School and a former student of mine studying there, Rob Pillow. This video includes only the talk and Q&A. If I can get their intros, I’ll post them too. The Clinton School folks are excellent at what they do and were wonderful hosts. Here’s the video of my book talk:

You can find the video on the Clinton School’s speakers site here.

If you’re interested in inviting me to speak with your group, visit my Speaking and Contacts pages. 

If you want to know what a symbol means, you can learn a lot from who fights for it.

Secessionists defending the Mississippi state flag.Students today called for taking down the Mississippi state flag from the center of campus at the University of Mississippi. In counter-protest, members of the League of the South came to defend the flag, with the emblem of the Confederate Battle Flag in its canton. The League of the South has been labelled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Six of the protesters also wore shirts with the logo of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

The silver lining of this protest is the fact that members of the campus community can see what is at stake and what priorities most strongly motivate defenders of the flag.

The saddest part to me today was the presence of their young children.

Orson Welles

Orson Welles circa 1975.

Update: I had to link to another video on YouTube. The good news is that this one is captioned properly.

Philosopher Vince Evans today shared with me (and others on FB) this great video illustration of Plato’s allegory of the cave. It’s from 1973 and was narrated by Orson Welles, which is already very cool. It was illustrated with artwork by Dick Oden, according to the description posted on YouTube. If you’ve got 8 minutes, check it out.

This is perhaps the most influential allegory in the history of philosophy. You can read the original text of the allegory on the Internet Classics Archive. Book VII of the Republic opens with the allegory.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., waving to a crowd.My Philosophy of Leadership course at the University of Mississippi focuses extensively on Plato’s Republic for the first third of the class. Plato had a great deal to say about the virtues of the soul, of the city, and of the kinds of people that his Socrates believed we need if we are to have a just society. For those who think that Plato is not the right thinker to inspire leaders in a democratic society, I suggest you read the interview that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave, in which he said that, not counting Scripture, his “desert island book” would be the Republic.

Southern Secessionist Defends MS Flag – MPB Intvw

Southern secessionist

You need to watch this. William Flowers, a man from Georgia, came to a demonstration in Jackson, MS, as a leader in the effort to defend the Mississippi flag, which features an emblem of the Confederate Battle Flag. He leads the self-described southern nationalist group, League of the South.

This interview is not simply someone with a video camera. This is Mississippi Public Broadcasting interviewing a spokesman for the organized protest.

Claytoonz cartoon.

Cartoon posted with permission, copyright Clayton Jones. Claytoonz.com

The man speaks of the cultural attack on southern heritage as a genocide. That is the language and strategy of the Ku Klux Klan. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I returned home from Germany this August to find a message on my answering machine from a Presidential candidate arguing for a fight against the genocide of the white race. This man refers to genocide of southerners, which is novel, at least to my experience.

The argument reminds me of a powerful cartoon by Clay Jones, on right, featuring an African American man carrying a shot child, grieving silently, next to a wailing southern white man carrying his Confederate Battle Flag, in a shape resembling the child on left.

When asked about secession, Flowers openly advocates for it. He is explicitly a secessionist, who then says that he’d prefer a political solution. That sounds like a threat to me.

If you ever needed a demonstration that the Confederate Battle Flag is divisive, this fellow made it crystal clear. He refers to heritage, then dismisses any relation to slavery. He’s unhinged. We have this stuff scanned and online now. Mississippi’s first statement explaining its causes for secession says that slavery was its fundamental cause.

If you’ve visited my site before, you know where I stand on this. If you haven’t check out:

But seriously, watch this first:

It’s 7.5 minutes long, but you can get the most important stuff within the first 3 minutes.

If you haven’t already, visit and “like” my Facebook author page and connect with me on Twitter (@EricTWeber).

“‘Acceptance & Happiness with Stoicism,’ Ep1 of Philosophy Bakes Bread”
by Eric Thomas Weber

Sorry, listening to the audio on this website requires Flash support in your browser. You can try playing the MP3 file directly by clicking here.

Philosophy Bakes Bread
March 14, 2015

PBB-Logo-1-itunesHere’s episode 1 of Philosophy Bakes Bread, titled “Acceptance & Happiness with Stoicism.” You can listen to it here above or you can visit the podcast’s page for this episode here. You can subscribe to the podcast’s RSS feed here. If you prefer, you can download the MP3 file here and listen to it later.

iTunes has it too, though for some reason as I post this the episodes are out of order.

“Acceptance & Happiness with Stoicism”

This first episode of Philosophy Bakes Bread presents a very personal story about how stoic philosophy can make a profound difference for the better in our lives when we encounter difficulties beyond our control.

The transcript for this episode is available here.

Check out the other episodes of Philosophy Bakes Bread here.

Finally, if you’d prefer to “watch” the podcast on YouTube, here it is:

If you prefer that format, here’s a playlist of the podcast episodes on my YouTube channel.

Interview on Practical Philosophy in Berlin

Professor Chris Skowronski, Associate Professor of Practical Philosophy in the Institute of Philosophy at Opole University, Poland, interviewed me at the Berlin Practical Philosophy International Forum conference on August 13, 2015.

I’m grateful to Chris and to Maja Niestroj for the interview, the video, and the hospitality while I was in Berlin. It was a great conference on a wonderful public philosophy, Dr. John Lachs, who has been my mentor in philosophy since around 1998 or 1999.

“‘Purpose in Life and Work,’ Ep2 of Philosophy Bakes Bread”
by Eric Thomas Weber

Sorry, listening to the audio on this website requires Flash support in your browser. You can try playing the MP3 file directly by clicking here.

Philosophy Bakes Bread
Thursday, May 21, 2015

PBB-Logo-1-itunesHere’s episode 2 of Philosophy Bakes Bread, titled “Purpose in Life and Work.” You can listen to it here above or you can visit the podcast’s page for this episode here. You can subscribe to the podcast’s RSS feed here. If you prefer, you can download the MP3 file here and listen to it later.

iTunes has it too, though for some reason as I post this the episodes are out of order.

“Purpose in Life and Work”

This second episode of Philosophy Bakes Bread considers the challenge of envisioning and choosing the right purposes for oneself and for one’s organizations in life and at work.

The transcript for this episode is available here.

Check out the other episodes of Philosophy Bakes Bread here.

Finally, if you’d prefer to “watch” the podcast on YouTube, here it is:

If you prefer that format, here’s a playlist of the podcast episodes on my YouTube channel.

Logo for WREG channel 3 of Memphis, TN.I gave an interview in 2010 on the Day of Dialogue at the University of Mississippi on February 22nd. You can watch the interview here.

Date: February 22, 2010
Time: 09:00-09:15 a.m.
Appearance: 2010 Interview on Memphis’s WREG, Channel 3’s Live at 9 Morning Show
Outlet: Memphis's WREG, Live at 9 Morning Show
Location: Memphis, TN
Format: Television

If you'd like to invite me to come speak with your group, visit my Speaking page.

Gave a 2013 interview on SVT Nyheter, Sweden’s national TV news service, talking about corporal punishment in Mississippi. You can watch the interview here.

Date: August 29, 2013
Appearance: Interview in 2013 on corporal punishment for the Swedish National TV News Service
Outlet: SVT Nyheter, Sweden's National TV news service
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Format: Television

If you want me to come speak with your group, visit my Speaking page.