In 2020, The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) postponed its annual Mary and David Nichols Great Book Conference because of the Covid pandemic.  We are pleased to announce that the department of Political Science at Baylor University has stepped up to co-sponsor the postponed event.  It will occur at Baylor University, October 8-9.  Dr. Flagg Taylor, Professor of Political Science at Skidmore College, will direct a conversation on totalitarianism.

Dr. Flagg Taylor

The event will have five sessions during which relevant writings by such luminaries as Hannah Arendt, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Leo Strauss, and Czeslaw Milosz will be examined.

Those interested in attending the event or would like additional information are urged to contact Dr. Timothy Burns, Professor of Political Science and Graduate Program Director at Baylor University at

Below is the schedule of events and a PDF of all assigned readings can be found here.


AHI Mary and David Nichols Fall 2021 Conference on Totalitarianism
October 8 – 9, 2021
Discussant: Flagg Taylor

All selections are from “The Great Lie: Classic and Recent Appraisals of Ideology and Totalitarianism” by F. Flagg Taylor (Wilmington, DE: ISI Publications, 2011).

Day 1 – October 8

9:30 Breakfast

10:45 Welcome and Introduction

11:00-12:30 Session 1

Hannah Arendt, “Ideology and Terror: A Novel Form of Government” 124-147

Claude Lefort, “The Image of the Body and Totalitarianism” 177-191

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-3:00 Session 2

Leo Strauss, “German Nihilism” 219-240

Aurel Kolnai, “Three Riders of the Apocalypse” 241-259

3:30-5:00 Session 3

Czeslaw Milosz, “The Pill of Murti-Bing” 329-345

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, “The Smatterers” 346-365

Day 2 – October 9

9:30 Breakfast

11:00-12:30 Session 4

Václav Benda, “The Parallel Polis” 460-476

Václav Havel, “The Power of the Powerless” 477-508

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-3:00 Session 5

Alain Besançon, “Moral Destruction” 553-574

Pierre Manent, “The Return of Political Philosophy” 575-592