Join the Circulation of Elites: A Review of Foundations of Politics

Photo by Marco Oriolesi

David Bardsleye

Disclaimer: The reviewer received a free registration in the course in return for a commitment to write this review.

Many people hate their boss. Yes, he has formal authority as the guy who hires and fires and perhaps even assigns how many hours you work. That only rankles all the more. Yes, he allegedly has experience in the field. So why is he such an idiot? He just doesn’t understand that if only you were permitted to improve this, that, or the other aspect of your job the whole business, and certainly your position, would run a lot smoother.

Sometimes people are correct about this. Other times, they’re terribly wrong.

I’ve been on both sides of that, but the biggest lesson I learned from being wrong was when I switched positions from being a software developer to a project manager. All those times I was told, “No, you can’t fix that bug. No, you can’t spend two weeks developing that feature. No. No. No.”–all of that suddenly made a lot more sense. Why? Because as a developer I had a very constrained vision. The problems I perceived were nose-to-the-ground problems and their solutions seemed obvious and sensible. However, when I switched positions, my vision of the whole project expanded. I saw how my team was developing only a part of a much larger endeavour with lots of moving pieces. I saw how all those pieces needed to be coordinated. Problems that once seemed huge as a developer took on a more appropriate scope and scale. The expansion of my vision to something larger and more accurate put the lie to my old assumptions and ways of thinking.

The vast majority of people throughout the world do not understand politics. They think they do. They think they see the problems clearly. They think the answers and solutions are obvious. They watch Fox News or GBN or you-name-it and they think, “Why are our elites so stupid–especially the ones on my ‘team’? Why can’t they see what seems so obvious to me?” However, the reason so many armchair political analysts are just plain wrong, even while they’re so sure they are correct, is that they have a much more constrained vision than they realize.

Foundations of Politics at The Academic Agency will expand your vision and give you a clear and realistic understanding of what politics truly is and how it actually works. By the time you finish Foundations of Politics, you will no longer be trapped in the 24/7 news cycle of hot-take punditry. You will no longer find yourself swept away by the outrage of the day. You will see through the attempts to subvert and control your thinking and perceive more clearly the realities behind the facade. More than being able to avoid wily tricks, you will know what the actual basis for power is, how to achieve it, exercise it, and wield it. You will have the proper tools at your disposal to build parallel institutions which just might have a fighting chance of joining and propelling the circulation of elites. Foundations of Politics, just as promised, will give you the expansive vision of seeing the world as it truly is, not as it should be.

The course consists of eight major lectures, bookended by an introduction at the beginning and a conclusion at the end. Each lecture is based on a single primary text and author, though plenty of secondary sources are also pulled in. The lectures are titled thus:

  1. “The Rulers and the Ruled” based on Gaetano Mosca’s The Ruling Class
  2. “The Circulation of Elites” based on Vilfredo Pareto’s Mind and Society
  3. “The Iron Law of Oligarchy and Organisational Structure” based on Robert Michels’ Political Parties
  4. “Sovereignty, Friends and Enemies” based on Carl Schmitt’s Political Theology and The Concept of the Political
  5. “The High-Low Middle Mechanism” based on Bertrand de Jouvenel’s On Power
  6. “Managerial Elites” based on James Burnham’s The Managerial Revolution and Managing the Managers
  7. “Elites and Ideology” based on Samuel T. Francis’ Leviathan and Its Enemies
  8. “The Therapeutic State” based on Paul Gottfried’s Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt

Each lecture includes the full-text script of the lecture, a PDF copy of the slides used during the lecture, and the video lecture itself. In order to advance through the course, the student must pass a ten-question test at the end of each lecture with a 100% score.

The introduction includes a master reading list containing not only the primary texts for each lecture but an exhaustive list of secondary reading material as well. Students who truly want to take things to the next level will be at no shortage of material to read and contemplate. The amount of research that went into this course shines through in each lecture as it becomes clear that Academic Agent drew knowledge from each of these sources and has woven it into an absolute master class on the science of politics.

The quality of the lectures is superb. Academic Agent clearly and succinctly explains new terminology. The structure and logical flow of the ideas presented in each lecture is sensible and easy to follow. The points made bring clarity and understanding. At no time during the course did I find myself confused, lost, or unclear about what was being taught.

Academic Agent’s delivery of the lectures is also very good. The audio is clear and the volume is appropriate. His diction and speed are very understandable. The delivery is in the drier style of a subdued classroom setting. If you’ve ever had a professor who gets loud, passionate, or emotional, that is not the style used here. There are a few moments in which you can tell Academic Agent is reading from his text script because there will be a pause in the sentence that isn’t quite right for the flow of the idea. Still, these moments are few and infrequent, and after all, this sort of thing happens even during a live lecture anyway (e.g., if the professor gets a dry throat, etc.). Regular listeners of Academic Agent’s content will find endearing his peculiar pronunciation of words like “juridical” and “sovereignty”, but these never distract from the lecture itself. Ultimately, the delivery always reinforces the content and never gets in the way of it.

As mentioned above, you are also provided with the full text of the lecture script. This is especially helpful for taking notes or pulling quotes that you want to remember. Taken all together they form an excellent reference material you can return to later. Some students may wish to print them out and perhaps put them in a binder for highlighting key sections or marking with inline notes. Occasional typographical errors can be found in the text, but none of them obscure the intended meaning. Each lecture is fully footnoted with references and is truly worthy of being called scholarly work. Having the full text of each lecture is the kind of feature that you wish your college professors gave you (assuming you had a class at a traditional university that was worth any lasting thought, to begin with).

The tests that conclude every lecture are multiple-choice and consist almost exclusively of questions that challenge your recall of the facts presented in the lecture. Students who pay close attention to the lecture will not have too much trouble determining the correct answer to nearly all questions. There are a few tricky ones, however–on about half of the lectures I got 9/10 correct on my first time through the test and had to retake it. It might have been nice to be confronted with a few analysis questions that force the student to take the ideas from the lecture and synthesize an answer for a proposed problem. That said, the recall format certainly helps to solidify the information in the mind. The rigour of requiring a perfect score to pass each test forces the student to take the material seriously.

The course ends with an excellent conclusion lecture in which all the key points of the lectures are brought together and summarized with core ideas and practical implications for our present moment. Although this final lecture is only about ten minutes long, it punches far above its weight, every minute filled with valuable insights. I will likely return to this final lecture several times as a refresher of the course’s main points.

Foundations of Politics sells for £350, which at the time of writing is approximately $460 U.S. dollars. This is, without a doubt, a substantial commitment. Those who regularly listen to  Academic Agent’s YouTube content and others within his intellectual sphere probably have heard little snippets of the core ideas included in this course. However, if you want those ideas and analyses organized, easily accessible, and presented in a way that expands your vision and understanding, this course is invaluable. Foundations of Politics delivers on every pound or dollar spent.

The current ruling elites will be undone by their own degeneracy and their attempts to defy the fundamental realities of the cosmos. When that happens a new set of elites must be ready to guide people through the ruins and toward building communities based on authentic human thriving. If you have any interest in being part of the new vanguard of elites or helping the best among them achieve great things, then it is well worth your time and money to register for this course. Join the coming circulation of elites! Buy Foundations of Politics now!

Buy the course HERE

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