January 2009

Spirit in an Age of Science Part II
By John von Heyking on January 06, 2009
This is the second part of a four-part series. Part I is here.


According to Kronman, the physical and social sciences (which are based on the quantitative mode of analysis of the physical sciences) enjoy authority for best satisfying the human yearning to know and because of the utility of knowledge (e.g., inventions, predictions of physical events and human actions) they generate: “Science today enjoys the authority it does not only on account of the practical inventions that flow from it and from their capacity to satisfy our desire for control, but because it satisfies more fully than any other form of knowledge we possess a second elementary desire, the desire to understand” (215).

The physical sciences are based on the experimental method, which provides for near-perfect knowledge in “aligning theory and observation” (213). In it, the universal and particular, the abstract and empirical, are united: “The experimental method is a technique for liberating our powers of reasoning from the limits to which sense experience otherwise confines them, while at the same providing a mechanism for testing the soundness of reason’s abstractions against experience itself” (213). The experimental method perfects the aspiration of Aristotelian science of providing theoretical knowledge while “preserving the appearances.” Aristotelian science aspires to remain consistent with common sense, which Kronman asserts is denied by the social sciences especially. Jonathan Swift’s satire of the Royal Society in the form of the Laputians, with one eye pointing above and one below, but none focused on the intermediate, the human, is a splendid lampoon done out of an Aristotelian spirit.

Whereas Aristotelian science attempted to synthesize theoria with the practical wisdom (phronesis) entailed in knowing particulars, the experimental model undertakes a “fusion of mathematical and empirical truth, the mathematization of reality” (214). The “solidity and objectivity” of the experimental method, along with the technologies it produces, provides it with its public authority.

Even so, the “truths of modern science, expressed in mathematical terms, are thus arrived at by a manipulative method that permits us both to use our experience and to transcend it” (214). The “manipulative” experimental method creates a “controlled experience,” meaning the “mathematization of reality” is the expression of the researcher’s experience of reality. It is the language of the subject conceptualizing his or her environment, or “the product of our intellectual manipulation of the world” which allows researchers to create the technologies that feed into our dreams of liberation from fate.

With the emphasis on the researching subject’s conceptualization of reality, Kronman indicates that the experimental method repeats Immanuel Kant’s alleged installation of the priority of the subject. Kant is frequently said to have reversed the epistemological question from “How does the subject know reality?” to “How does reality conform to the categories of understanding?” For Kronman, the experimental method similarly prioritizes the subject over the object of scientific inquiry, which is based on the myth that all knowledge is generated from the subject himself. This is the researcher who sets the conditions of control over the experiment. It is therefore unsurprising Kronman identifies wonder with self-love. The scientific researcher, alone in the controlled conditions of his laboratory, is the font of scientific knowledge. Reality is mathematized. His authority takes on added weight by virtue of his social prestige as the exponent of the most satisfying form of knowledge available in our time.

Even so, scientific research does not really follow the idealized version expounded by the “experimental method” as outlined by Bacon. The researching subject no more imposes her categories on infinitely plastic matter than does matter provide undiluted categories to the researcher. The process of research is more like that described by Michael Oakeshott, who describes the researcher as an inheritor of a tradition of learning, and who draws upon nondiscursive intimations for understanding as much, if not more, than “method.” The findings of research are not so much superimposed upon the object of research as they arise in the practice of research.


Part III will be published next week.
A Review of "Adventures in Podcasting"
By Gerson Moreno-Riano on January 07, 2009

Matthew Roberts, a professor at Hope College, wrote an important piece entitled "Adventures in Podcasting" in the July 2008 issue of PS: Political Science & Politics. Roberts' article was the result of his experience using podcasting in some of his political science courses. The reasoning behind his use of podcasts is itself somewhat funny (readers will have to engage Roberts' article for this bit of information). But the article and the study and data he presents offers important insights in the use of the new technologies for teaching in today's university classrooms. I myself was interested since I have used podcasting technology once before. So as a fellow podcaster I thought I could learn from an expert.

Roberts used podcasts for two of his courses (an introductory American politics course and a methods in political analysis course). More specifically, he "podcasted" (notice how the word can now be used as a verb, gerund, etc.) every lecture in both courses. He admits that this is a basic use of the technology but, frankly, it is quite admirable that he did all of this! In the article he reports on what he learned through the use of such podcasts. His conclusions are important for us to consider.

Conclusion 1: Content is more important than the "WOW" factor

Roberts found that while students are usually in awe of using iPods and podcasting in higher learning environments their awe is temporary and succumbs to their need and desire for academic content. Students are interested in being educated and look for strong educational and academic leadership. Roberts' research validates what I have noticed in my own courses. Students do want to learn and technology provides a medium through which to provide good, sound content. The WOW factor is important if only to pierce through the veil and couch strong content as "cool" and "up to date with the times." Frankly, I have no problem doing this if in the end I am able to get into the minds and hands of students the type of content that will educate them to be good thinkers and good citizens.

Conclusion 2: Context matters

Roberts suggests that his research demonstrates that podcasting is very useful in upper level courses and not just lower level courses. Most podcasting courses or content are deployed in large enrollment courses suggesting a "bang for the buck" approach. Roberts argues that professors should not overlook upper level courses. Here, I would suggest, Roberts may want to reconsider his criterion. Perhaps it is smaller courses that are more appropriate for podcasting than larger courses. Obviously, in larger courses the content net is spread over larger waters. But as in traditional face to face teaching, smaller courses are always richer and more robust. So too with podcasting. My own experience allowed me to create an iPod course using iTunes U. Students would then register for free with iTunes and arrive at a portal for my university. Once there they would find my course page and down load each weekly podcast. The class was a small one and I was even able to video record lectures and place them as podcasts. The small class size and the strong content of the podcasts allowed them to be highly favored and used by students. And, in turn, the class size also allowed for rich discussions as well.

Conclusion 3: Sound is not enough

As mentioned before, in my own experience, I not only used sound podcasts but also video ones. Roberts concludes that this is very important as well. Sound should also be augmented when possible with video. In my own podcasting I found that students really engaged the video podcasts and used them frequently to study and review for examinations and other assessments. Depending on the IT department at one's university or one's own computer, creating short videos is not very difficult or time consuming. And there are numerous online videos that one can link to in a podcast or video podcast that serve to enrich one's teaching.

Conclusion 4: Podcasting alone does not improve instruction

The danger with podcasting alone is that professors could make learning entirely passive. Roberts is right to suggest that podcasting should be used strategically to augment good teaching and not to replace it. Podcasts are a way to enrich already good teaching and are never meant to replace it. They can be use to provide content to students that prepares them for strong Socratic dialogue and discussion. They can also be used to provide auxiliary content and suggested content to enrich their learning. Podcasts should never be the sole method of instruction and/or content delivery.

As Roberts suggests, "podcasting is not for everyone." But he goes a long way to demonstrate that there are some important benefits to its use. As a podcaster myself, I wholeheartedly agree.

On Learning to Teach Political Theory: A Beginner’s Account, Part 1
By Steven McGuire on January 10, 2009

I’m a young man, so I’m not qualified to offer sage advice on the art of teaching. Nevertheless, in a series of posts, I’d like to present some reflections on certain questions that have arisen during the course of my still nascent teaching career. Consider, for instance, the following: as an instructor in political theory, is it my job to teach students my positions on the variety of political, philosophical, and interpretive questions that we examine in class?

The question arises because, on the one hand, I recognize that teaching students to hold a particular position offends against the very nature of philosophy (and scientific inquiry in general), while, on the other, I can’t say (as some professors do) that I don’t care what my students think, so long as they think. I do, in fact, care about what my students think, and, at the end of the day, I want them to agree with me (at least on important matters). If they don’t, then something (whether it be in my mind or theirs) isn’t right, which is particularly disconcerting on days when we’ve discussed something on which I’m fairly confident in my position (for example, on the question of whether or not moral relativism is irrational). What am I to do on such days when my students and I are at a disconnect? Should I get up on my soapbox and attempt to hammer home a point?

I find the beginnings of an answer in James V. Schall’s Another Sort of Learning (Ignatius Press, 1988), where he observes that “The teacher-student relationship is, in fact, primarily a spiritual relationship—both, teacher and student, participate in what is not properly theirs” (31). Here Schall reminds us that teachers and students are beholden to truth, which never “belongs” to either. This suggests to me that, even when I’m confident that I’m right, it should never be my goal to teach my positions to students. Instead, I should strive to lead them toward truth (and if that turns out to be in accord with what I think, then all the better, but that is a secondary consideration)—and they should feel obliged to seek it. We must let the arguments lead us where they will. Certainly, I must guide the students, but they must be allowed to draw their own conclusions. Thus, the decision to get up on that soapbox should depend on whether or not the students are openly seeking the truth, not on whether or not they happen to disagree with me on any particular point. Besides, if they wrongly disagree with me about something, then I’ve already failed to lead them to the truth and getting up there probably wouldn’t help anyway.

The next question for the next post, then, is how does one avoid getting to that point?

A Common Education in Citizenship?
By Lee Trepanier on January 13, 2009

As Aristotle observed in Book 8 of his Politics, the education of children is the preeminent concern of the state, for the cultivation of the youth determines the continuity and stability of the political regime. Education therefore should not only correspond to the political type of regime, e.g., a democratic education for democracies, but it also should correspond to the regime’s peculiarities as established at its founding. Thus a democratic education – the equivalent of the contemporary citizenship course – is not sufficient for Aristotle; rather, what is required is an American citizenship course that is at the center of a school’s curriculum.

To this extent, the Lehrman Center, with its resources like this website, is an Aristotelian attempt to place concerns like American citizenship at the center of professors' courses. By focusing on topics specific to the American republic, we are able to address the issues and obstacles of teaching citizenship that are peculiar to the United States as established at its Founding. In this sense, the site manages to avoid the vague, vapid “education-speak” that most pedagogical workshops offer: abstractions of citizenship that, instead of engaging concrete critical thought and discussion, boil down to common sense observations (at their best) or Maoist self-criticisms (at their worst).

However, one of the biggest obstacles to this type of citizenship education is the looming threat of the state: the replacement of a genuine exploration of what constitutes American citizenship for state propaganda. Aristotle himself recognized this problem, as he stated that ultimately the “best character is always a cause of a better regime.” One of purposes of education, perhaps its primary one, is the cultivation of intellectual and moral excellence of citizens who, in turn, will promote an improved political regime. In other words, the regime exists for the education of its citizens instead of education existing for the sake of the regime.

Recognizing that the state does not have a monopoly over excellence or knowledge, Aristotle rejects a pedagogy that merely parrots the clichés and myths of the regime; rather, the state must realize that standards of excellence and sources of knowledge exist outside of it and consequently its children should learn from them in order to make the state better. For example, the United States had codified slavery and segregation, but, when civil right leaders looked outside the state for the notion that all citizens should be afforded equal rights and then were able to persuade their fellow citizens of this idea, the republic had become a better regime. By appealing outside of the state, civil right leaders were able to educate the people to have better characters and thereby make the republic a better state.

Of course, the pendulum can swing too far in the other direction. When nothing is revered, valued, or respected about the state and its founding, then there is no common standard for citizenship. When the American Founding Fathers are only dismissed as racist, misogynist, or economic elites; when representative government and the free market are automatically written off as forms of structural oppression; and when values like liberty, civility, and toleration are perceived as types of inauthentic existence; then the question needs to be asked what constitutes a citizen – what is held in common – in the state? Is the state then nothing more than a cauldron of subjective whims and differing opinions where nothing of value can be learned?

This is not to ask for an education where, say, the American Founding Fathers are placed upon a god-like pedestal; but it does not mean either that they are viewed solely as swindlers, fanatics, and exploiters. Certainly we can learn from the American Founders and even respect and admire them, while at the same time recognizing their faults and shortcomings. That the state does not have a monopoly over excellence and knowledge does not mean that the state has no possession of them whatsoever.

As the site where most of our education takes place, the state thus is placed in a paradoxical position. On the one hand, the state must draw upon its own reservoirs to educate children about their peculiar history, while, on the other hand, the state must be open to standards of excellence and sources of knowledge outside of itself, for these are places where citizens can learn about the regime’s shortcomings in the hope that they will seek to improve it. Aristotle recognized that a critique of the state was necessary, and could only come from a place outside of it, but he would disagree with those who think that the purpose of such a critique is the promotion of self-esteem rather than the start of a common project for all citizens to make the regime better.

Spirit in an Age of Science Part III
By John von Heyking on January 15, 2009
This is the third part of a four part series. Part I was published on Dec. 29, 2008 and part II was published on Jan. 6, 2009.


Like the physical sciences, the social sciences (especially economics) “satisfies… our desire to understand the mechanisms of human society for the sheer pleasure of such understanding itself” (226) as well as providing reams of useful data on such things as “opinion-testing devices to frame positions and develop strategies, and their constituents depend on these same devices to judge the performance of those in office” (221). The “systematic and impersonal forms of knowledge” of the social sciences have replaced the premodern reliance on “statesmanship and personal allegiance and on the basis of common sense and anecdotal knowledge” (220).

Kronman’s estimation of the social sciences is probably the weakest part of his book. Practicing politicians use the filtered results of social science their aides glean for them as part of their deliberations, but they would be quite surprised to learn they do not need to practice the practical wisdom associated with statesmanship and that they do not rely on personal allegiances and anecdotal knowledge that gets conveyed from those allegiances. One might consider Michael Oakeshott’s criticism of “rationalism” in politics. Or one might consider German scholar Tilo Schabert’s empirical (though not positivist) treatment of Francois Mitterand during German unification as a case study that undermines Kronman’s Weberian claims.

The larger problem with Kronman’s treatment of the social sciences is that he retreats somewhat from his criticism anthropological reductionism found characteristic of political correctness. There he criticized the claim made by exponents of diversity that all moral and political claims are simply expressions of interest or desire. He pointed out that all passions have an element of “ideality,” meaning all passions or interest exist at some level of articulation and self-awareness. In other words, nonrational inclinations are at some level mixed with reason and choice, and are therefore subject to rational analysis.

Kronman’s rejection of reductionism is the basis of his muted criticism that social science’s quantification of human behavior includes “a number of simplifying assumptions about the sources and character of human motivation,” including “the inherently purposive nature of the human actions they study” (224-225). Social science, as Harvey Mansfield points out of behavioralism’s treatment of the Constitution, provides a model of choice that filters out the people’s ability to make choices; or as William Riker once said of his model that identifies the interests rational actors pursue: it “permits one to transcend the obstacle of the existence of choice” (see Harvey Mansfield, America’s Constitutional Soul, (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), 159).

I write this article amidst the global economic meltdown that likely has its sources in people acting not by self-interest but out of panic, which makes me skeptical of the rational actor model implicit in the social sciences. Social science, then, amplifies what Freud called Instinkt over Trieb, or what Aristotle called passion over choice, or what Kant called phenomenal over noumenal. By transcending “the obstacle of the existence of choice,” social science posits a false liberation. It seeks to liberate human beings from fate by placing them under fate. Only the social scientist himself, the subject who conceptualizes reality, seems to escape this fate.

While social scientists have largely been chastened of behavioralism, this reductionist tendency can still be seen among evolutionary psychologists who have difficulty accounting for choice, and thereby end up speaking as though genes have intentionality when they enable humans to perform highly specific and culturally particular tasks. Curiously, it seems physicists also have the tendency to speak as though subatomic particles have the human characteristic of intentionality.

These peculiarities of social and physical scientists aside, for Kronman, both derive their authority from “rigor, objectivity, impersonality, a reliance on quantitative methods, [and] the framing of hypotheses that are vulnerable to empirical disconfirmation” (225). Recall they gain these qualities by a synthesis of universal and particular knowledge, of synthesizing the abstract with the empirical. The experimental method claims to fulfill the Aristotelian aspiration of combining theoria with phronesis, except the experimental method rejects the personal (or “anecdotal”) knowledge that the Aristotelian aspiration implies in favor of impersonal knowledge. While for Aristotle, the combination of theoria with phronesis is expressed in the human personality by the full activation of the intellectual and moral virtues that are most exercised among friendships of contemplatives, it is unclear of what the personal expression of the “fusion of mathematical and empirical knowledge” consists. I should remind the reader that Aristotle considers it immature for people to expect the study of human phenomena to have the same precision as physics.


Part IV of this series will be published next week.
National Standards for Citizenship
By Lee Trepanier on January 20, 2009

In my last post I looked at the paradoxical relationship between the state and the education of its citizens, especially its children. The state must educate its children about its peculiar history and its excellences, while, at the same time, be open to standards of merit and sources of knowledge that are outside of it. By being open to these strands of knowledge outside the state, citizens will be able to critique the state in order to improve it. This type of education is able to promote a common citizenship among its populace without slipping into propaganda.

If Aristotle is correct, then what should be the form of the state’s educational institutions? For Aristotle, the answer is a public educational system supervised by the state: private schools and arrangements, such as home-schooling, should not be permitted. Furthermore, extra-circular activities also should be done in the public system, for education is not merely academic training for Aristotle but also the cultivation of habits with an eye towards virtue. In short, all pedagogical activities should be done and supervised in a public system.

Such a recommendation probably would not be desirable in the United States, given its peculiar founding, government, and history. Education initially was a private affair; or if public, was controlled locally in this country. Also, the fact that most public schools arose in the United States to Americanized, i.e., Protestantized, Catholic and Jewish immigrants makes Aristotle’s case for an exclusive public education look more like state propaganda. Given the uniqueness of the American history, Aristotle’s recommendation would produce more backlash than benefit.

Of course, Aristotle himself recognized that different regimes required different forms of education given their unique founding and history, so it is not inconceivable that Aristotle would accept private education in this country given the country’s peculiarities, especially when compared to his time: a federal instead of unitary state, the philosophy of liberalism rather than the political thought of the polis, and so on. But what we can learn from Aristotle that may be applicable to our regime is the notion that “Since there is a single end for the polis as a whole, it is evidence that education must be necessarily one and the same for all.” I think it matters less how that education is delivered – whether home-schooled, charter school, or in the public system – as to what it consists of.

In other words, national standards are crucial for any regime, if it wants to cultivate a common citizenship among its children. I will probably get some resistance for this statement on this site, but legislation like No Child Left Behind is a step in the right direction. Like some people, I have grave reservations about the specifics in law as well as its implementation and evaluation system, but the notion of a common national standard seems to follow the Aristotelian path. In fact, I would argue that national standards should be used for the evaluation of all children in this country and include an academic and extra-curricular citizenship component. If we truly want to promote a common citizenship among our populace, especially as our country becomes more pluralistic, then we need to revisit the notion of national standards, while allowing a plethora of ways for our children to reach them, in order for the continuity and preservation of our regime.


Michael Burlingame on Obama and Lincoln
By David Kidd on January 21, 2009

LASC Summer Institute teaching faculty member, Michael Burlingame, considers Obama's similarities to Lincoln in Going In, A Lot Like Lincoln.

Both Lincoln and Obama assumed office in the midst of a great national crisis. Lincoln had to deal with secession; in the period between his election and inauguration, seven states in the Deep South pulled out of the Union. As he carefully prepared his inaugural address, he sought to be conciliatory enough to prevent the eight other slave states from seceding; while at the same time he sought to remain true to the Republican Party platform, which condemned slavery and pledged to keep it from spreading into the western territories. His inaugural managed to do both…
The day after his inauguration, however, that plan collapsed as Lincoln discovered that the federal garrison at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor would soon run out of food. Either he must resupply the fort or abandon it — if he chose the latter course, he would implicitly recognize the legitimacy of the Confederacy.
President Obama faces a similar challenge in dealing with today's economic crisis…

Read the rest of the commentary at the Hartford Courant.

Questions on Adventures in Podcasting
By Gerson Moreno-Riano on January 21, 2009

Lee Trepanier read my recent blog post on adventures in podcasting and, in his comments, raised a number of questions about the use of such technology for teaching. In this post, I would like to respond to Lee's questions through an account of my own use of iPods and podcasting in one of my own classes. The course itself was an introductory course to the study of government and politics. This course serves as a gateway to the government major here at my university and can also be taken as a general education elective. Thus the course serves a number of different student constituencies.

In my course, I used podcasts to do two things. First, provide a general audio thematic introduction to each week's lectures and discussions and, second, to offer videos of each in class presentation. The first use allowed me to create 5-10 minute podcasts for each week of the course. These would be posted to iTunes and students would download them prior to each course week. In these podcasts I would provide a general thematic introduction to each week of the course as well as offer substantive questions for the entire class to consider during the week.

The second use entailed video. Here, each of my lectures/presentation/class discussions would be video recorded and formatted for iPod and iTunes use. These would only be available to on campus students the week of the exam in case they were needed for review. I also taught exactly the same course online only and for this course I made each video lecture available in the courses' iTunes page.

The use of these materials was completely optional to the student. I did not assess in any way whether or not the podcasts or iPod lecture video content was useful except for receiving anecdotes that the content was very helpful. Since the examinations contained the content of the lectures and readings (the same content appeared on the video files), students were assessed, then, in terms of the material presented in class. I did not specifically tailor any assessment for the podcasts themselves.

In my situation, making the podcasts was actually enjoyable and not time consuming. The process is quite simple. And the university's media services department video recorded all of my lectures and converted them for iTunes use. Uploading them was quite simple as well. In this sense, a strong media services department is a tremendous benefit since they assist faculty with technological issues. All of my responsibilities were to provide content.

Once all of this was done, all of the podcasts and video lectures are archived and ready for future use.

In this sense, podcasting was for the most part supplemental to the student. The video lectures gave students the opportunity to review material and prepare further for examinations. And the podcasts simply set or prepared the stage for discussion. I found the podcasts to be extremely helpful since I could reference their content in class to build a community of learning and intellectual expectation.

All in all, I would podcast again and plan to do so in the near future.

Job Announcement: Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of West Florida
By Kelly M. Hanlon on January 26, 2009

The Department of Government at the University of West Florida invites applications for a visiting appointment as Assistant Professor of Political Science in the area of constitutional law and American political thought. The appointment, which is contingent on funding, is for two years, with the possibility of renewal for a third year, assuming performance meets or exceeds expectations.

Qualifications include a Ph.D. in Political Science and expertise in constitutional law, jurisprudence, and American political thought, particularly at the time of the founding. The successful candidate will teach three courses per semester and serve as the Department's Pre-Law Advisor.

Applicants ought to familiarize themselves with the program's degree plan, available at http://uwf.edu/govt/prelaw.cfm. Salary is commensurate with experience. Search committee review of applications will commence on March 2, 2009, and continue until the position is filled. Applicants must apply online at https://jobs.uwf.edu. Any person requiring special accommodations to respond may contact the UWF ADA Office at 1-850-473-7469 (Voice) or 1-850-857-6114 (TTY).

Some Thoughts on "The Unknown Citizen" and In Praise of Interference
By Gerson Moreno-Riano on January 27, 2009

W.H. Auden's poem "The Unknown Citizen" is remarkable in its bureaucratic portrayal of modern citizenship (I have taken the liberty to paste the entire poem below). Citizenship is bound up in one's conformity to an external bureaucratic and corporate measuring rod. As the poem suggests, modern citizenship (at least in the mid 1900's) is conceived as an entity that can be measured and quantified, a silent and unobtrusive conformity to bureaucratic and social scientific measures of what constitutes the right and the good.

Most interesting is the poem's suggestion that modern citizenship entails the silent acceptance of public education. The unknown citizen, so we are told, is a model of public virtue because, among other things, "teachers report that he never interfered with their education." The good citizen trusts in the state for the state seems to know what is best. The state is an expert. Citizens are not.

One of the spheres in which the state truly influences citizenship is in that of public education- K-12 and university education. Here, millions of Americans give the state the freedom and opportunity to shape and influence their minds and lives as well as those of others. And millions of Americans silently accept their education and never "interfere" with it or its purveyors. Why is this the case?

On the one hand, one could argue that citizens trust the expertise of their government and its staff. This primordial trust is important for any society to function well. But what happens when educational experts betray this trust? When the curricula and philosophies of education are morally and intellectually bankrupt? One would imagine that citizens would rise up and cry "foul." Some actually do. But most do not. Here I am convinced that those who remain seated on the sidelines, the multitude of "unknown citizens" remain silent not out of a desire for civility but out of ignorance. Most citizens would not know morally and intellectually bankrupt education and pedagogy even if it hit them in the face. Citizens are silent not because they are trusting and knowledgeable but because they are naive, ignorant, and place a blind faith in the educational system.

A case in point is the entrenched educational philosophy of facilitation. In university classrooms from sea to shining sea, college professors are told that they are to be "guides by the sides" of students and not "sages on the stages" of universities. We are to facilitate, to allow students to "construct their own knowledge," to guide students to "craft their own epistemological horizons." To be a sage is to be a dictator, to foster an oppressive learning environment, to, in essence, molest the young minds of college students and to corrupt them henceforth.

Thus, college professors (particularly new, tenure-track professors) are shoe-horned to facilitate and guide but never to be a "sage." And, more importantly, these new college professors are thus encouraged to be "unknown citizens" who never interfere with the avant-garde educational philosophies of the establishment. To suggest the virtues of classical teaching, of truth and knowledge, of epistemological realism is to "interfere."

I say "College professors of the world unite- you have nothing to lose but your chains!" Not only is the guide vs. sage dichotomy false, it is damaging to student and teacher alike. Education requires great teachers- advanced learners who are able to lead other learners (not as advanced as the teachers) toward the true, good, and beautiful. College teaching requires a "sage" that guides toward truth not a "guide" that unleashes students upon an intellectual jungle.

There is virtue in being a "known citizen," in interfering with a bankrupt educational philosophy. Obviously, prudence is of the utmost importance. But, you will find that in prudently articulating the virtue of classical teaching and learning others will agree and join your call to action. They will agree not because they simply share your "ideology." They will agree because there is something deeply human about this kind of teaching. Because to disagree with it goes against the grain of our very nature.

So, be a "known citizen" and bring others along with you.


The Unknown Citizen

(To JS/07/M/378 This Marble Monument Is Erected by the State)
He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for he time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.
-- W. H. Auden
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