How do you folks train/learn?

So, I’ve been on this site for three and a half years now, and I’ve learned a lot.  I’ve held conservative beliefs since college, and learning from you all has reinforced the fact that I generally agree with most of the “conservative” movement.  Clearly not necessarily Republicanism (is that a word?), because it’s hard to tell what a Republican is nowadays, but I believe in low taxes, small government, individual rights, strong defense…generally just leave me alone to work hard and provide for my family, and protect me when necessary.

I want to take this to the next level now.  I have an engineering background…so I know very little about political science or history, save for whatever I tried to ignore in Social Studies in school.  Yes, I know the common stuff that everyone knows, but not much beyond that.  So while I know I’m a conservative, I have a hard time articulating that beyond the standard talking points.

I’d like to know how you learn, especially you front pagers and others who are intelligent, active contributors.  I’m looking for concrete suggestions – so not “read books”, but rather read xyz specific book.  There was a blog a week or so about about the Federalist Papers – I had no idea what those even were, but it was mentioned those were a good starting point.  Maybe there’s a website you really like that have intelligent, educational articles.  Those are the kinds of suggestions I’m looking for.

Also, are there any conferences/seminars/training events that people recommend?  2 days here or there…whatever.  Something in person, where you can be immersed in what you’re learning and not be distracted by work, family, life.

I want to be able to hold my own in a discussion, and persuade people that conservatism is the best way to keep America strong, and to best protect ourselves as individuals.  I’m willing to put in the work – I just want to make the best use of my limited time to build and better understand my foundation.

Thanks for your help, 

– Jon