December 2008

Is the Research University Based on an Intellectual Swindle? Part II
By John von Heyking on December 01, 2008
This the second half of a two-part post. Read part I, published on Nov 24, here.

Kronman’s description of the researcher’s judgment of the liberal arts teacher as “unprofessional” and “self-absorbed” implies a moralistic strain. Unfortunately, his language eclipses the intellectual trick with which the researcher must delude himself. Of course the individual researcher is concerned with his own mortality. All human beings have an irresistible desire to question life’s meaning. But the researcher does not look to his research to answer or confront that mystery. He looks to his family, his community, or his church to address this mystery.

Or does he? Academics are notoriously non- or anti-religious. They are not terribly active in their community. And many of them sacrifice the well being of their marriage and children for their career. So it seems they do seek to address their mortality in their research. Perhaps this is why the pomposity of many is based on a fragile ego: they need praise to compensate for the incoherence and meaninglessness of their lives which are this way because the research ideal is incoherent. Yet, perhaps in their waking moments, they recognize the incoherence of looking to their research to give their lives meaning. After all, what better way to face the impasse of one’s existential condition than to bury oneself in one’s work? This is the advice deans frequently offer their faculty members who suffer misfortune or tragedy in their lives. Without making the effort to resolve this impasse, research as an answer to one’s mortality becomes a form of escapism, or what Pascal might have called a divertissement. The heroic spiritualism Max Weber attributed to the scholar has become a form of escapism.

Or perhaps the heroic spiritualism has become a form of libido dominandi. The moral case for adding to humankind’s storehouse of information is that this knowledge better enables human beings to control their environment, or to enact the “relief of man’s estate” as an early slogan of modern science attests. But science on its own cannot answer what human good it can do. It dogmatically asserts “relief of man’s estate” is the human good without questioning whether this is really so. Modern science prohibits the same question that Marx prohibits. Weber states bluntly the inability of science to answer what good it does: “Whether life is worth while living and when – this question is not asked by medicine. Natural science gives us an answer to the question of what we must do if we wish to master life technically. It leaves quite aside, or assumes for its purposes, whether we should and do wish to master life technically and whether it ultimately makes sense to do so.” The “answer” science seems to give when it tries to answer the question of life’s meaning is to control our world. Yet it cannot answer why one would want to do that, and scientists, who tend to promote the beneficial uses of science, tend also to shy away from asking hard questions concerning the destructive aspects of science, including the potential for worldwide destruction and tyranny. They seem to ignore Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s argument that civilizational progress does not in fact walk hand-in-hand with scientific progress.

Kronman’s analysis of the research ideal makes it difficult to determine how it can coexist with the liberal arts. No wonder the liberal arts are in such straits in the modern university. Yet, things are not totally bad. The majority of researchers are genuinely curious and intellectually honest. They are not intellectual swindlers. Rather, it seems it is the research ideal, under which researchers and nearly any academic in the Western world, operates and has established a set of incentives for modern scholars (as evidenced by the misery of academics whose calling is to teach instead of to conduct research).

By illuminating this swindle – or call it an impasse if one wishes – is to address not an end-point, but the beginning-point of an intellectual conversation.

It is identifying this beginning-point of the conversation of mankind that the liberal arts can make its mark in reforming the modern university.

Call for Papers: Politica- Society for the Study of Medieval Political Thought at APSA
By Gerson Moreno-Riano on December 01, 2008

Politica: Society for the Study of Medieval Political Thought

Call for Papers
Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association
September 3-6, 2009
Toronto, Canada

Panel Theme: Change and Complexity in Medieval Political Thought

Panel Organizer and Chair: Gerson Moreno-Riano, Regent University,

Given the 2009 theme of the APSA conference, Politica's panel would like to feature papers that consider the complex and fluid nature of medieval politics and medieval political thought. Much scholarship has demonstrated that the Middle Ages was a fertile seedbed of political principles, dilemmas, and controversies sure to have influenced later political action and thought. Thus, there is no shortage of questions and thinkers that can be considered from a variety of approaches.

For 2009, all APSA related groups will follow the same submission timeline and online submission system process as the APSA divisions. To submit a paper proposal for Politica's APSA panel, go here: To read the call for papers on APSA's site and submit your proposal, go here:

All proposals must be submitted no later than December 15, 2008 with notification of acceptance early March 2009.

Please direct any questions to:

Gerson Moreno-Riaño, Ph.D.
Chair and Associate Professor
Department of Government |  : 757.352.4470
regent university

Forget the Gettysburg Address and Think Paula Abdul
By Gerson Moreno-Riano on December 03, 2008

“We are taking a perfectly good country and flushing it down the toilet.” This was the sentiment of one of my Washington, D.C. colleagues during my recent visit to the nation’s capitol. While his sentiment was directed at what I assume were several national mismanagements, I immediately related his bathroom analogy to the current state of American higher education. You see, I had just attended the release of the 3rd annual study on American civic literacy sponsored by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). And the results of this national study suggest that American higher education may no longer be the envy of the world.

According to ISI's press release, more than 2,500 randomly selected American’s took ISI’s basic 33-question test on American political history, cultural institutions, foreign relations and market economics and more than 1,700 people failed, with the average score being 49 percent. Just as disconcerting is the fact that elected officials failed the exam with a lower average score than that of the general public- 44 percent. And perhaps more alarming is the finding that twice as many people recognize Paula Abdul as an American Idol judge than they recognize the phrase “government of the people, by the people, for the people” as part of the Gettysburg Address. It seems as if American Idol and its celebrities are more deeply ingrained in our collective memory than American history and its great leaders.

While colleges and universities are part of the cure, they are certainly part of the problem. ISI’s first two studies demonstrated that the impact of college in advancing civic knowledge is minimal at best. The studies unearthed what ISI terms negative learning- seniors at some of America’s most prestigious educational institutions know less about major themes in American history and institutions than entering freshmen. No legitimate business or organization would ever be allowed to operate in such a manner where the product at the end of the assembly process is in some ways worse than at the beginning.

Does civic knowledge really matter? In a world that is more and more global and digital, what is the benefit of civic and historical knowledge, of knowledge about a less interconnected and more archaic past? In short, such knowledge matters greatly. It is crucial for American wellbeing because the principles of our founding and our historical experience have yielded certain universal truths about human nature, government, and society; truths that are absolutely essential for the government of a free people. The fact that ISI’s studies have revealed the paucity of civic knowledge among college graduates, the general public, and public leaders may suggest that those responsible for American education no longer believe in the truths enshrined in our founding principles and attested to in the pages of American history.

What can be done to cure our growing ignorance and disdain for our principles and history? Here is a modest set of proposals:

  1. Designate American history and civics as areas of national need. While the decision to designate a discipline or area of study as a national need is complicated, the Department of Education considers the current and future professional workforce needs of the United States in such designations. If an informed and well educated citizenry is foundational to advancing the national interest and if political leaders, those who we elect or nominate to guide the ship of state, must make informed decisions about the continuance of the American experience, then substantive knowledge about America and its history and institutions is a national need that is just as important as medicine, biology, engineering, nursing, and computer science.
  2. Civic knowledge not mindless activism. Today’s Millenial Generation is more socially engaged than perhaps any other previous generation in American history. Young Americans volunteer at enormous rates fueled by a sense of responsibility and optimism. At the same time, today’s Millenials appear to be more civically ignorant than any other previous generation in recent memory. American colleges and universities are producing rudderless activists lacking in any substantive civic and moral principles. Colleges and K-12 education need to provide and mandate strong American civics courses as part of the general education curricula of all students.
  3. Outcomes Assessment and Quality Enhancement. For many academics, assessment is tantamount to a nasty four-letter word. But if the current climate of civic ignorance is to change, universities must begin to engage in the assessment of civic knowledge among their students and graduates. ISI’s report on civic literacy is, in essence, an assessment initiative. Universities and colleges should heed ISI’s call to action and begin to assess internally the practices and content of American civic education in their curricula and pursue quality enhancement plans to increase the excellence of such practices and learning outcomes.
  4. Board Governance. University boards play a crucial role in the direction and accountability of public and private higher education. Boards help to set the direction of an institution and can implement the needed mechanisms of accountability for a university’s president and cabinet. Boards need to be more deeply involved in the strategic inclusion of civic learning among their students and in the assessment of such learning. Further, Boards cannot be mere rubber stamps for university administrators. They must be actively involved in governing and leading the institutions as well as in disagreeing with university administrators. Boards thus should expect and require university administrators to outline comprehensive and mission-related plans for civic literacy.

American colleges and universities continue to be the envy of the world. Whether or not they are worthy of such a reputation, we can all agree that American higher education needs to be held accountable for the teaching of American history and institutions. As a matter of fact, seventy-two percent of respondents in this year’s ISI study believe colleges should teach our heritage and thus help to prepare citizen leaders. This is not a question of more financial resources. Rather, it is about the responsible use of our past and of the extensive resources already at our disposal. Only then can we avoid flushing our heritage down the toilet.

Text Recommendations for Introductory Classes
By Jen Schwarz on December 03, 2008

I recently received an email from a professor looking for book recommendations for two introductory courses, Intro to International Relations and Intro to American Government.

What are the best primary and secondary sources available? What has proved successful for you? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Millenials Talk Politics: Part III
By Gerson Moreno-Riano on December 05, 2008

In this third installment of this series, I would like to focus on a key concern of Millenials in regards to political discussion and engagement: the need and desire for authenticity.

The Millenial call for authenticity is pervading a number of sectors of contemporary society- from churches to employers, from marriage to friendships, today's young people crave transparency and authenticity as important facets of meaning and happiness. Such a call for authenticity is related to a deep distrust of bureaucracy and institutions.

Academic institutions and education itself has not escaped this contemporary distrust. And certainly neither has politics. Today's students perceive all things political as being part of a large "spin zone," one that is polarized with rigid categories with little room for nuance, complexity, and sincerity. A similar view is held by college students concerning their own educational institutions. Two recent "report cards" on the part of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni suggest that many students perceive their classrooms as polarized lacking any sense of intellectual equity.

This should lead us as educators to consider in what ways we foster a learning environment that is authentic, one that is academically free where there is truly an open exchange of ideas. This does not mean that there is no intellectual closure, that somehow this obligates us to accept all perspectives as equal and equally inspired. But it should lead to think of ways in which to create an authentic learning environment where healthy discussion and learning can take place and where we assist students in the crafting of their own political souls, a crafting toward excellence and virtue.

How can we do this? What are the best ways in which to accomplish this? What techniques do some of us use to integrate authenticity with serious discussion and learning? Is authenticity a need for learning or is it just a contemporary educational and cultural fad?

All comments are welcome.

Leaving Academia
By Lee Trepanier on December 08, 2008

This is an article, "I'm Leaving," by an anonymous professor who writes that he has become the professor he did not want to become — and needs to leave academia. It appeared on October 31, 2008 on the website, Inside Higher Ed. Its link is here:


"Diversity": Is There an Opportunity to Converse? Part I
By John von Heyking on December 08, 2008

I previously examined (and here) Anthony Kronman’s argument that the “research ideal” is antithetical to the liberal arts and humanities because its “regulative ideal” of increasing specialization makes asking the general question of life’s meaning “unprofessional.” Moreover, “life” is necessarily a nonsense term under the “research ideal” because the researcher does not experience his or her existence as a meaningful unit one might call a “life.” The researcher, like the faceless bureaucrat, is an anti-individual.

The anti-individual reappears in Kronman’s discussion of political correctness, but he also provides a useful way of moving beyond political correctness. Kronman clarifies the challenge the humanities and liberal arts face, and helps us see how to find the place in the modern university to ask the great questions that liberal education has always asked.

In the United States, “diversity” became simultaneously politically and academically legitimated when the Justice Lewis Powell of the Supreme Court ruled affirmative action programs are only constitutional if they are taken to promote diversity, which, in the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke case, meant racial diversity, but has now expanded to include numerous other forms. Powell judged that not only should universities promote diversity as a way of incorporating minorities as a matter of fairness, but diversity now became a goal of education. For the sake of politics and ideology, the Court explained to universities what their goal should be in providing an education. Kronman observes that Powell’s justification not only gave universities cover to maintain affirmative action, but it also gave humanities departments especially a key role in promoting it. After all, what might an African-American or Latino chemistry experiment look like? One might say that just as a Department of Theology at a Roman Catholic university promotes Roman Catholic doctrine, so too do humanities departments serve the state doctrine of diversity.

The problem with diversity has less to do with it suddenly tying the goal of liberal education to ideological and political liberalism, and more to do with the fact that diversity is utterly antithetical to the goal of liberal education, which is the liberation of the intellect from ignorance and, for Kronman, liberation from fate. Students “engage” with one another not in a conversation of shared enquiry, “facing the same eternal questions that every human being confronts and struggling together to meet them,” but as representatives of whatever groups with which they identify: “The individuals exchanging views cease to be individuals, and their exchange ceases to be a conversation” (Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life (Yale University Press, 2007), 151). Indeed, the types of identity acceptable to contemporary diversity advocates– race, gender, ethnicity (and sexual orientation, which Kronman does not discuss) – are fixed at birth or can be changed with only the greatest difficulty. What passes for debate and conversation ends up producing dispirited students who understandably feel like “the other” does not understand them, nor possibly can. The more aggressive take their despair and turn it into moralistic finger pointing as a way of guilting “the other” for treating them like “the other.”

This means identity politics produces a more monistic campus than found at a religious college or university. After all, one can always change one’s religion. Necessarily, then, diversity education becomes a form of finger pointing and instead of promoting genuine diversity, ends up dividing the world into the binaries of oppressor-oppressed or white male and everybody else. Instead of serving the liberal education goal of liberation, diversity is a form of moralism; it produces a dispirited, guilt-ridden anti-individual instead of a thoughtful individual capable of friendship and genuine liberation of the intellect.

Even so, diversity advocates do not appeal to racialism, gender determinism, and what not so much as appeal to the apparent spectacle that the aggregate of individual identities (which, in fact, are not individual) creates. The moralistic point of diversity is to assert “constructivism,” a way of thinking that views the whole of reality as “an artifact constructed by the human beings who inhabit it” (181). Claims of “right by nature” or “essence” are dismissed as cloaking interests of class, wealth, race, gender, and so on: “For a constructivist, all claims of this sort are projections onto the human world of a false necessity that belies the true generative freedom of the activity of meaning-making from which this world derives its very existence as a realm of meanings” (181).

Constructivism sits uneasily with the individual claimants of diversity who view the identities in roughly “essentialist” ways. For instance, few gay activists claim their sexual orientation is as arbitrary as constructivism would suggest it is. Even so, constructivism serves the collective interests of these claimants. Moreover, it serves as a faux-liberation of the will over one’s unchosen identity. One might be “stuck” with one’s identity, but one always has the will. This form of “liberation” apes the liberation of liberal education, which is one not of the will over identity (as rooted in the body), but one of intellect over ignorance. From this perspective, the polarity of unchosen identity and will perpetuates ignorance.

Kronman provides a helpful way of criticizing constructivism and why it fails to promote the humanities. In doing so, he maps a route out of political correctness that can help the cause of liberal education.

Before offering his two arguments against constructivism, he suggests the claim that constructivists are nihilists is ineffective because constructivists deflect those criticisms as interest-driven. However, Kronman overlooks the deeper point of these criticisms that they point out the hypocrisy of the constructivists who simultaneously affirm and deny truth. Even so, that criticism is also ineffective against a way of thinking that appears to ignore the principle of noncontradiction, and therefore implicitly takes hypocrisy as a virtue.

Kronman suggests two internal criticisms of constructivism are more effective. As we shall see, they are also more Socratic in so far as they begin with the premises of constructivism and demonstrate why the conclusions do not go where the advocates wish they would.

Part II of this essay will be published next week.
"Diversity": Is There an Opportunity to Converse? Part II
By John von Heyking on December 18, 2008
Part I of this article can be read here.

First, Kronman asks we grant constructivism to be appear true, that the human world (and the physical world, according to some versions) is an artifact. Still, the intelligibility of any constructive activity depends on its being carried out in accordance with rules that the person acting is constrained to accept (184). Keeping in accordance with those rules is a precondition necessary for any such act being intelligible at all, and a precondition of our being able to think or say anything whatsoever about it. Kronman appeals to Kant’s postulates to illustrative the precondition of meaning of action. Constructivism seeks to maximize freedom, but the intelligibility of freedom is predicated on that freedom being constrained as “a necessity that is freedom’s coeval enabling partner” (185). Recognizing the constraints of freedom, which are rooted in human mortality, is essential not only to political freedom but also to the project of the humanities. Curiously, Kronman omits mentioning the two postulates upon which freedom itself depends: God and human immortality. For Kant, the postulates form the indispensable horizon of our existence. Whether conscious of it or not, we act as if they exist though we cannot prove their existence. Noting the “hypocrisy” of constructivists is simply another way of pointing out that they can only ignore reality for so long.

Second, even if every value is an expression of interest or pre-rational desire, they are necessarily articulated. Passions are distinguished by “ideality.” Passions necessarily have an object that reason proposes to them. For example, one does not get angry at being mistreated unless one has a notion of what injustice is about. Kronman notes human sexual desire differs from the “thoughtless sexual appetites of other animals” by being formed by an element of fantasy. Since sexual politics is so crucial for diversity, consider Kronman’s appeal to philosopher Jonathan Lear’s discussion of Sigmund Freud on this matter: “An Instinkt, for Freud, is a rigid innate behavioral pattern, characteristic of animal behavior: e.g., the innate ability and pressure of a bird to build a nest…. A Trieb, by contrast, has a certain plasticity: its aim and direction is to some extent shaped by experience. To conceive of humans as powered by Triebe, as Freud did, is in part to distinguish humanity from the rest of the animal world” (291, citing Jonathan Lear, Love and Its Place in Nature, (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1990), 123-4)).

In the world of political correctness, Instinkt appears as identity, while Triebe appears as will (though not for Kronman, for whom “ideality” is a product of reasoning). This directedness in human passion, expressed as the difference between Instinkt and Trieb for Freud, and one might say inclination and choice for Aristotle, or perhaps phenomenal and noumenal for Kant, distinguishes human beings from animals. As insightful as Kronman’s discussion of “ideality” is, he is not very successful in bringing this out from the arguments of the constructivists themselves, except to assert that reason’s object is necessarily present to desires and interests. He would have been on better ground by observing that the “ideality” of their own interest is to gain liberation from the oppression (imagined and real) of the white male heterosexual European. In other words, the constructivist is a “hip” articulation of indignation at an injustice (real and imagined), as Aristotle would certainly understand. Despite the dead end of despair in one’s unchosen identity, on the one hand, and the solipsism of the will, on the other hand, that constructivists get into, Kronman helpfully points out how their own presuppositions actually affirm their participation in the common world of human beings seeking their genuine liberation from ignorance.

Kronman provides illuminating suggestions for starting a conversation with constructivists because he uncovers crucial starting points for conversation. Unfortunately, as he notes, the advocates of diversity campus politics are more “crude” in their thinking. Someone armed with Kronman’s Socratic suggestions hoping to convince a radical diversity advocate of the wisdom of Aristotle would likely come away disappointed. Conversation presupposes the willingness to converse. Willingness to consider these internal criticisms presupposes a certain openness to look within. Unfortunately, arguments are insufficient (though necessary) to convince one to look within. Fortunately, conversation presupposes certain non-verbal virtues that enable conversation. Philia and civility come to mind. Indeed, a simple display of affability can open up conversation. Of course, sheer intelligence and the ability to marshal rigorous arguments help too. Finally, acknowledging and perhaps commiserating over the individualistic pathologies that the modern research university sustains (and the research ideal legitimates) might disarm the more reasonable ideologues.

By the fruits …
By Joe Fornieri on December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas to all. I still speak these seemingly awkward words in the academy. And Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish students, friends, family, and neighbors. (Nancy Hiller’s heavenly latkes are the only non-Italian food item that graces the Fornieri family table on Christmas Eve). I rarely mention Kwanza since I have never met a single person in ten years of teaching who actually observes it. I also tend to distrust in principle any holiday that was invented by a college professor. Some of my colleagues invite me to their annual “boxing day” party, but I still don’t understand what “boxing day” commemorates? Does it really have something to do with boxes? I am afraid to ask since I might be considered provincial, which is probably true to an extent.

The Holiday I absolutely refuse to acknowledge is “Winter Solstice.” Why? Well, if you have ever grown up in Rochester New York you know that there is nothing happy about winter. It lasts for five months. There is no sun. Grey perma-clouds cast a monochromatic shadow over everything. Snow and slush, bone chilling cold, biting winds, dreaded “black ice”—a frozen tundra of winter oppression. Just going outside is a bracing reminder of one’s mortality. By the end of winter, people have usually gained at least ten to twenty pounds due to mammalian hibernation instincts. The neo-pagans and atheists can rejoice in their five months of winter; I dread it. (Some have told me that I should take up skiing or snow-shoeing to help adjust my mood during this time of year, others have gently suggested antidepressants).

All this “holiday” musing got me to thinking seriously about the role that faith and religion plays in our teaching vocation. I therefore raise the question for further reflection on this blog (it is admittedly more relevant for those of us who teach at secular institutions): how should faith and religion inform our teaching vocation? Is faith a purely private matter that has no bearing on our professional life? How may we bring our spiritual commitments into the classroom without proselytizing and in a manner that respects the faith traditions or even non-belief of others? Must we be anonymous Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists (did I forget anyone)? Merry Christmas—forget the solstice. I look forward to the light that illuminates the darkness.

What's music got to do with it? Popular Culture and Politics
By Gerson Moreno-Riano on December 19, 2008

In his ground breaking book Politics and Popular Culture (1997), John Street makes a convincing argument that there is symbiotic relationship between popular culture and politics- both inform and transform each other. This recent presidential campaign is a perfect example. Politics appeared in most every arena of popular culture. In February, rapper WILL.I.AM released what soon became a super hit: a video featuring numerous celebrities and Obama's "Yes We Can" campaign slogan. Later, Obama echoed Jay-Z with a reference to "Dirt Off Your Shoulders" in a campaign rally. In July, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton made their campaign day view through McCain's commercial portraying Obama as Mr. Celebrity. And right before elections in November, Saturday Night Live registered its highest ratings in close to 15 years with Sarah Palin on the cast.

Now, it is true that these references to popular culture and politics symbolize what I would call "mainstream" popular culture or mass popular culture along with mass party politics. A more radical popular culture making its big entrance has not really been seen since the 1960's. This was not a "mainstream" popular culture. Rather, it was what today one could call alternative popular culture, a type of culture that actively works to bring about change and altercation to the mainstream masses. Is there such a culture today? And what is its impact upon politics, education, and the young?

I would like to argue that among American high school students and college students, the indie and alternative popular culture is alive and well and having quite an impact. This culture is deeply skeptical of tradition, the nation-state, religion, and free-market economics. It is symbolized by alternative and indie bands like punk rockers Anti-Flag and the rap, heavy metal band Rage Against the Machine. These bands and countless others constantly portray politics as corrupt and all traditions, law, and legal institutions as deeply flawed and covers for greed, injustice, and raw power. For these bands and brands of popular culture, all politics is about blood, money, and injustice. Say good-bye to the sweet ol' days of the 4th of July and apple pie. And, it should be noted, these bands are not just into music. They are also into social justice. Some of the band members of Rage Against the Machine started the NPO Axis of Justice- an organization to network musicians and grassroots organizations to advance social justice and fight racism, intolerance, and social injustice. In one way, Rage Against the Machine is unique. Most bands in this anti-politics underground genre tend to foster destructive social tendencies. RAM, so it seems, has at least advanced some type of positive social action.

Now, we should ask what is the impact of such alternative popular culture on mass politics and the masses of the young. RAM is one, if perhaps only, example of an alternative band that is pushing people to become engaged in sociopolitical action. Most if not all alternative bands advocate a deep distrust and skepticism toward all social, political, and cultural institutions and some advocate anarchy itself. For young fans in this genre, such music leads them to question politics, to reject its representatives, to have no faith or confidence in their nation state, its traditions, or its governing documents. The only faith for these fans is in the movement itself, its principles, and the community and pleasures that it seems to provide.

We may wonder what sort of young people are involved in this type of popular culture. Maybe visions of punk hairstyles and all sorts of non-conventional hairstyles and clothing come to mind. Yes, some of this is correct. But, I must warn you that young people in this movement look quite conventional. We probably have students in our classes that we perceive as being "normal" or "conventional" but would be surprised when we realize that they really belong to a very anti-political and anti-American popular culture movement.

Now, my question is how can we engage and make inroads into this type of culture so as to begin a process of cultural change and renewal and with it bring about a change in attitudes toward politics, the nation-state, and other important political principles? Just how is this done? Can it be done? Or are there some cultural pre-requisites that are needed prior to such a change taking place? In other words, is there some amount of moral and cultural capital that must exist for educating young people toward wise and virtuous citizens? And if this capital is not there, what are we to do in the classroom? Furthermore, how can we use bands and examples of such culture as tools to foster sound education toward wise citizenship and politics?

All thoughts and suggestions are welcomed.

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