May 8, 2017 -- Education Matters is coming in June


We hope to host another symposium soon. Tuesday evening, June 27, is the likely date, though June 13 is also a possibility. Our topic will be "Education Matters."

Whom do you know in the field who might have interest in the following questions -- though we want the 4 panelists to discuss beforehand and agree together on the final version?
Education's Latin roots [ex (out) ducere (to lead)] declare the goal of leading the student out into the world.  Education is a journey that we take only once over a lifetime ... and although it has milestones, it is not repeated ... it is persistent.  If humans are maturational and education is progressive, are there necessary educational milestones and observable outcomes that could encourage us that we are on the right path or warn us that we have lost our way? 
What outcomes do we as a society expect from our educators? From our schools?
With regard to a funding plan that allows all parents to more freely and ably  choose whatever school they wish for their children (whether private, public, parochial, or home), do the harms outweigh the benefits?
What do you think? Who should be on this panel?  (We have one commitment already: Dan Snyder, faculty member at Classical School of Wichita and owner of an astonishing curriculum vitae.)
Please let me hear from you.  And forward this email to your associates for whom it will have interest.
In the bonds of civil discourse pursuing truth,
Mike Witherspoon, a trustee of New Symposium Society --

April 3, 2017 -- Planning for the April 18 symposium is finalized.

Let's gather in Room 200 of the Business and Technology Building at Friends University (northeast corner of the campus, near the intersection of Maple and Hiram) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18.
            The symposium for April 18 is, “Labor matters: artificial intelligence is killing labor, but don’t blame the robots.”  Then who or what is to blame?  The human heart?  Excessive expectation of profit?  The maladies or unfitness of the working classes? The Federal Reserve?  The educational system?  Globalism? The demise of labor unions? 
            After much internal discussion, the trustees of New Symposium Society think it best to return to a more "open format." We will retain a panel of principal dialogists but make room for significant questions and comments from those in attendance.  I will govern the flow of dialogue, when helpful.  At any rate, we'll sit close and see what wisdom emerges.
           The five primary dialogists are Robert W. Love, Dr. Russell Arben Fox, Dr. Malcolm Harris, Joshua Shorter, and Father Patrick Reilley. 
  • Robert Love was General Counsel and VP of Administration in the family business, Love Box Company, prior to his retirement.  His ability and willingness to bring profundity to any topic makes Bob a highly sought dialogist.
  • Russell Fox is Professor of Political Science at Friends University and is a frequent contributor to government forums and important local conversations on current affairs.
  • Malcolm Harris is Professor of Finance at Friends University. He has been an expert witness on market-based rates for pipelines, cost of capital, and accounting issues.
  • Joshua Shorter is the Quality Assurance Manager of Integrated Components, a family-owned business that specializes in contract manufacturing for OEM companies.
  • Father Patrick Reilley is an ordained priest currently serving the Sacred Heart Parish in Arkansas City.  He will represent the ethics of Catholic Social Teaching.
Additionally,  I hope each of you will have time to think over your responses to the following questions, maybe even do a little research prior to April 18:

          The competition between capital and labor is longstanding.  Investors seek profits.  Workers seek wages.  At what point of severity does the competition become too destructive to community:

•When communities are impoverished as investors flee to more profitable labor pools?

•When investors place short-term profiting before anything else?

•When relationships within the workplace grow embittered as reduced wages deny workers the traditional purchasing powers of the middle class? 

•What about the effects of fiat credit on the competition between labor and capital?

•Where is the justice when investors can gain cheap credit through government monetary policy and no longer have to rely on borrowed capital built from the saved wages of workers? 

•How deeply is the love of money rooted in evil?

•What will happen to human labor as investors find it easier and easier to replace them with “robots”? 

•What kind of a world is it when robots are taxed so that the government can issue welfare to more and more former workers? 

•Is human nature dependent on labor for personal dignity?

•How will this competition between capital and labor play out?

            If you wish, join the dialogue on the blogsite. All of us can access it – Simply go to the end of text under the section, “The Next Symposium,” and hit the small “comments” in the middle of the line . . . voila!  Try to keep a minimum of train thoughts/separate strands of dialogue.  Comment on others’ posts, if you will – though you may start your own post. 

In the bonds of civil discourse pursuing truth,

Mike Witherspoon

March 8, 2017 -- Change in plans!

       The venue for the April 18 symposium has changed.  We had planned to tape the dialogue in the studio of KPTS; however, we are now going to gather in Room 200 of the Business and Technology Building at Friends University (northeast corner of the campus, near the intersection of Maple and Hiram) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18.
       The reason for the change: we have only secured the commitment of one panelist, to date.  Given the set of responses to our numerous invitations to participate as a panelist, my explanation for the lack of commitments is that the time and preparation needed to be camera-ready, to be "on television" was a bit too much for most people's schedules.
       Victor Hogstrom, president of KPTS, stands ready to host and tape future New Symposium events, if we can generate an enthusiasm for that format/venue.  Mr. Hogstrom has been a pleasure to work with.
       The topic for April 18 has not changed: "Artificial intelligence is killing labor, but don't blame the robots."  We are renewing our search for panelists.  The commitment is less daunting.  The topic is progressively salient.  Though the conflict between capital and labor is longstanding, the aggressive replacement of human labor by automation is not only transforming the 21st century workplace, it is undercutting the dignity of human labor, threatening the middle class, and destroying hope among the lower. 
       That's my view.  What is yours? 
        Capitalists, laborers, moralists, economists, financiers -- please consider sitting at table for civil discourse on this topic. Declare your interest and willingness by emailing me at
       Bob Love's framing of the topic can be found at our blogsite --  Look under "The Next Symposium" and start commenting, if you wish.
       Per usual, all are welcome to be among those in the audience, for whom opportunity will be given to ask questions of the panelists or briefly share your view.
       A final note: New Symposium has filed articles of incorporation with the state of Kansas and is applying for 501(c)(3) status with the federal government.  We will be heretofore identified as New Symposium Society.
Making room for complexity and honoring honest dissent,

Mike Witherspoon
A trustee of New Symposium


February 12, 2017 --The next New Symposium event is taking shape:

"AI is killing Labor, but don't blame the Robots"

        The date for the next symposium is firm -- Tuesday, April 18 -- as are the topic and moderator:   Robert Love, a New Symposium trustee, is taking the organizational lead and moderating the dialogue. He will be especially adept in probing the deep political and economic roots responsible for the current milieu in which growing numbers of workers (American and global) are being or foresee being sidelined by "robots."
        Some place primary responsibility with cheap, fiat money that makes robots so affordable and more-than-subsistence wages unnecessary. Others might posit that fault lies within the human heart, for which the love of money is wickedly rooted, i.e., profits -- whatever the social cost! 
         It may just be me, but the healthy symbiosis between owner and laborer that American industry after WWII did so much to foster should be listed as an endangered species. Well, . . .   none will disagree that capital and labor are prone to struggle.  Hopelessly?  I hope not.  What do you think? What values sit behind your position on the topic?
        That briefly to say, we anticipate a fine dialogue when we do gather on April 18. Bob Love and I and the other trustees of New Symposium (NS) -- Russell Fox, Mark McCormick, and John Todd -- are seeking panelists willing to look deeply into our next topic, to do some blogging with their co-panelists prior to the event, and come prepared to respectfully dialogue.
        Are you/do you know a banker, business owner, labor leader, moralist, economist, or historian who might have interest in sitting on this panel?  If so, please apprise me:
        With enthusiasm, may I announce that NS is entering a partnership with the local PBS affiliate, KPTS, under the leadership of Victor Hogstrom, and taping this next and 3 future symposia there in order to offer for televised public viewing.
         Again, New Symposium is committed to rescuing discourse from the posturing of political parties and to establishing a public forum for civil discourse pursuing truth.  Join us, will you.
Believing that "humility makes room for complexity, and honors honest dissent (Nancy Gibbs),"

Mike Witherspoon
A trustee of New Symposium

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