bobsheridan at earthlink.net
Sun Apr 9 10:53:53 PDT 2006
Good thoughts, Sean, thank you.
The difficulty with examining the assumptions beneath the assumptions is
that there are assumptions all the way down, as the old lady in Prof.
Stephen Hawking's history of time put it when referring to all those
turtles on which the globe stands, and we each have our own set of
turtles, or assumptions on which we stand.
Democrats and Republicans stand on different piles of turtles, of
course. Switching turtles from one pile to the other is a problem
during real-time. We rely on historians, much later, to do it for us,
after everything is sorted out on the ground, politically, after a lot
of muddling and conflict, and wonder why things weren't so clear at the
time. Before the Civil War, Abolitionists stood on one pile of turtles,
which later turned out to be the one of choice. Who knew?
Sean Wilson wrote:
> You know, we fail students if we do not get them to use cognition
> analytically outside the desire of what they want to be true. I see
> far too often -- especially in non-southern academia -- a desire among
> students to simply emulate liberal notions uncritically. When I was
> teaching in Alabama, the situation was different. Those kids had a
> world view that was too simplistic. You had to pitch the material in a
> way that challenged the simplistic notions of family, church and
> country that are propagated so much in the local culture. In the
> north, what I see is the opposite. Students who take political science
> courses are so uncritically liberal to the point of being flighty in
> the way that they go about the process of comparison and contrast.
> There is a real lack of the application of philosophical rigor to
> their political morality. It is as if these political passions have
> somehow been encouraged to develop (or planted) by their professors
> without first deconstructing their foundation. As I always say,
> deconstruction shouldn't be applied selectively. Hence, when I teach
> in the north, I find myself having to pitch subject matter in an
> opposite direction to get students to think about not what they have
> said, but what founds it.
> You might want to engage in a socratic exercise with the student so
> that he or she becomes aware that the belief being adopted appears to
> be contingent upon several unknown facts: (1) that clandestine regime
> terror is not a new form of war that is significantly dangerous in the
> new world; (2) that the new forms of counter-intelligence designed (by
> game theory) to counteract the strengths of terror networks
> have little benefits compared to their costs; (3) that the people
> being detained bear no relationship (either operationally or
> informationally) to the actual attacks launched and being planned
> against American and Western cities; (4) that Republicans are actually
> using terror as an excuse to win elections unfairly (the student
> probably believes this); (5) that the world that existed in the
> 1970s still exists today and Iraq is just like Vietnam and Bush like
> Who knows? Perhaps history will break in the direction of these
> assertions, and your student will have had incredible foresight. But
> at the very least, he or she should see what underlies these beliefs
> and should be forced to confront them. The goal is not to plant a
> world view in their heads; it is to see if they can get their
> own "noodle" turning.
> */Bob Sheridan <bobsheridan at earthlink.net>/* wrote:
> A student suggested today that the post 9-11 detentions, etc.,
> were our
> version of the 1942 West Coast Japanese-American internments, perhaps
> somewhat more diffuse and not as focused as in the domestic
> concentration camps experience.
> How could we do this? Well, they're only Arabs and Muslims, right,
> many of them are hostile to the U.S. Definitely bad people we need
> to fear.
> Korematsu has that loophole for compelling state interest, as I
> that Justice Robert Jackson, if recollection serves, said was like a
> loaded gun lying around waiting for someone to pick up. If the
> student's impression is correct, history may well judge that we
> it up.
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> Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
> Penn State University
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