Stanley L. Olsen
Stanley L. Olsen

Augustana College
Sioux Falls, SD

Stanley L. Olsen
Chair of Moral Values

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2014-2015 activities

Date: 9 Sept 2014
From: "Joel Johnson"
To: "Everyone Everyone" ,
Subject: Constitution Day discussion 9/17

But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?
-James Madison

Dear Colleagues,

Having lived under the Constitution for more than two centuries, it is easy to forget the momentous nature of the American founding. It's also easy to forget that the Constitution is an expression of certain shared values, stemming from moral and political philosophy: a commitment to equal basic liberties and rights, a balancing of power between center and periphery, a separation of the traditional powers of government into many different hands, and so on. As time passes, we owe it to ourselves to reflect critically upon those basic values, and to determine whether the Constitution adequately protects them.

To these ends, I invite you to participate in a Constitution Day conversation on Wednesday, September 17, from 12:00 to 1:00 in HUM 102. We will discuss a number of proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution, with an eye to whether those changes would bring the document better in line with our core moral and political values. All are welcome, so please spread the word among your students.

If you have a few minutes before next Wednesday, please review the following three documents. The first is a list of amendments proposed by Larry Sabato, a political scientist from the University of Virginia. The second is an account of retired Supreme Court Justice Stevens' new book, in which he argues for six amendments that are broadly consistent with liberal priorities. The third is a synopsis of The Liberty Amendments, a book by Tea Party favorite Mark Levin.

My guess is that everyone can find something to like in these proposals, so bring a lunch and join the conversation!
Best wishes,


Stanley L. Olsen Chair of Moral Values
Associate Professor
Department of Government and International Affairs
Augustana College
2001 S. Summit Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD 57197


My small contribution to a large debate about the purpose of college.
It appeared in the print version of the New York Times on 16 Sept 2014.

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