Two or three times each year, I post links to several exceptional articles I’ve read in the past couple of months.  I think you’ll find them interesting.  And, since we’re now entering the holiday season, it seems appropriate to post a few today.

The first, “America is disastrously failing to educate internationally literate citizens” by Margee Ensign, president of Dickinson College, for the Philadelphia Inquirer.  She concludes:

“ .  .  . in education, we need to lead. Even in the face of opposition, we need to lead. If students or parents or even our president fail to see why learning about the world matters, we must have the courage to persevere and require that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in our globalized world. There is so much that our citizens need to know to participate responsibly in our democracy and to hold its leaders accountable.

 Once again, President Trump has sounded a wake-up call. We are, clearly, disastrously, failing to educate internationally literate citizens and leaders. All of us have a right to demand better of our schools, our colleges and universities and of ourselves.”

The second is particularly important to revisit as we move into January and welcome our new Senate and House of Representatives.  It is an opinion piece published in the Lincoln Journal Star: “Hagel: ‘Freedom is not just a word’ by Don Walton.  (Hagel is a former U.S. Republican Senator and Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration.  The piece concludes:

“I’ve done a lot of things and have never found ever in my life a person, a philosophy, a party, an institution that is right all the time,” Hagel said.

 “I’m not. Can any of us say that we’ve been right all the time?”

 That’s what’s so important about Room 111 and the other classrooms and meeting places on university campuses, Hagel said.

 “Here you can get an honest exchange of opinion. And no other institution in the country allows for that.

 “Freedom is a reality that has to be protected,” he said.

 “Freedom is not just a word.”

My final suggested reading selection comes from AEON “Why the Enlightenment was not the age of reason” by Henry Martyn Lloyd and concludes:

“.  .  .  So the philosophical suspicion of reason was not a rejection of rationality per se; it was only a rejection of reason in isolation from the senses, and alienated from the impassioned body. In this, the philosophers were in fact more closely aligned with the Romantics than the latter liked to believe.

 Generalising about intellectual movements is always a dangerous business. The Enlightenment did have distinct national characteristics, and even within a single nation it was not monolithic. Some thinkers did invoke a strict dichotomy of reason and the passions, and privilege the a priori over sensation – Kant, most famously. But in this respect Kant was isolated from many, if not most, of his era’s major themes. Particularly in France, rationality was not opposed to sensibility but was predicated on and continuous with it. Romanticism was largely a continuation of Enlightenment themes, not a break or rupture from them.

 If we are to heal the divides of the contemporary historical moment, we should give away the fiction that reason alone has ever held the day. The present warrants criticism, but it will do no good if it’s based on a myth about some glorious, dispassionate past that never was.”

I think you’ll find all three of these articles good reading.  Happy Holidays!  More on January 2  –  –  –

 — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning
December 19, 2018
www.itclearning.com/blog/  (Mondays & Wednesdays)


 (This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner, jhbillwalton@gmail.com, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)