If you’re tired of the pablum and drivel you’re fed by the corporate media there are alternatives, and the Illahee Lecture Series is one of the best you could hope to find. Since 1999, Illahee has brought over 100 environmental, social, and economic innovators to Portland. The Illahee Lectures have consistently been in the vanguard of exploring topics crucial to the fabric of our culture here in the Pacific Northwest, and to the survival of our civilization on the planet.
Now’s the time to catch their 2012 series on “Sacred Cows”- paradigms or practices that deliver mixed results but are resistant to criticism or change. If you missed last Wednesday’s opening speaker, Christopher Phillips, you’ve already missed a lot. Christopher is the force behind the Socrates Café gatherings, informal philosophical discussion groups now held in over 600 locations around the world. His latest project, Constitution Cafe, is an effort to engage everyday Americans in constructive dialogue and debate about the nature of our government, the meaning of citizenship and our most important political documents. Christopher covered issues like the Founder’s view of the Constitution, the problem with holding it as a sacred and unchangeable document, where it’s strong and where it’s flawed, and what other people have proposed as fixes to the Constitution AND our government.
For example, everyone knows that there are 435 members of the House of Representatives, so every Congressional Representative represents about 640,000 people. This large constituency tends to increase our separation from our Congressional Representatives. But did you know the Constitution says “The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at least one Representative”? In other words, it puts a lower limit on the size of the House, but no upper limit? Under the Constitution, right now our House of Representatives could be as much as 10,233 people. (We’re stuck at 435 because the 1920 census showed that the majority of Americans were concentrated in cities. Nativist congressmen, worried about of the power of “foreigners,” blocked efforts to give them more representatives.) It would be unwieldy, yes, but the up side would be a stronger relationship with our representatives, diluted strength of lobbyists, and more. So why don’t we have more reps? Should we? Illahee is full of questions like this, but the answers are left to us to find.
If you’ve missed the Illahee lectures so far, don’t cheat yourself. Join us for any of the remaining speakers below. For further information, just visit click here to visit the Illahee website.