Upon the adjournment of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin responded to a question about whether the convention had given the emerging nation a monarchy or a republic with the quip, “A republic, if you can keep it.” This summer, our host Ken Taylor is busily working on a book with the working title Farewell to the Republic We Once Dreamt Of. In it, he argues that we Americans have failed to keep Franklin’s republic. Indeed, Ken insists that Franklin’s republic was never fully achieved to begin with; it was always only a dream, and one he fears may have faded. That said, Ken tells us that his book is not meant solely as a counsel of despair - it is also meant as an urgent call to arms. He seeks to inspire action in those who still aspire to finally achieve a true American republic and hopes that the book will kickstart the work of imagining a new American republic. Who better, we thought, to begin the task of reimagining the American republic than you, the fans of Philosophy Talk!
To help get your imaginations working, we’ve included a few episodes from our archive in which we ourselves discuss various aspects of democracy and its future. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, but we think it’s a good place to start. We also include for your consideration a brief except from Ken’s book as a blog entry, a link to his article, The Will of the People, in which he advocates for the abolition of the electoral college, and a link to a video recording of a half day conference on Trump, Philosophy, and American Politics in which Ken and others sound the alarm about the current state of the republic. It’s all worth listening to, but if you want to skip to Ken’s bit, it begins at about the 1:57:00 mark. Imagine away!