Donald Trump is not an American phenomenon, solely an American phenomenon. We see Trumps emerging all across the West, all across Europe—Western Europe and Eastern Europe. And they are repeating themselves in very similar ways.
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Geologists are trying to recognize the magnitude of this change by giving our epoch a special name: “the Anthropocene,” the age of humans. Some people find this depressing because they think that the Anthropocene is inevitably a bad thing. But it’s not. Because we aren’t bacteria. Those brains that give us the ability to harness energy also give us the ability to shape the way the planet is transformed. We can design our future.
In America now, you can defend the humanities but only on economic grounds. So a theater improves a neighborhood. Or many people who study English become McKinsey consultants. But the fact is that you do it for itself, intrinsically, and you do it for the cultivation of the person and the cultivation of the citizen. Which should be reward enough.
I’m very diffident towards values, any kind of. Because you know, values can be very dangerous. And as the poem of Yeats says, the passionate intensity in believing in something can be very dangerous.
I had a life-changing moment in 1984 that finally got my students excited about learning. Apple launched a program called Kids Can’t Wait and gave every school in California a computer. Unfortunately the computer did not come with software.
Today we’re going to have a discussion about what I call liberation pedagogy. And by this I mean a secular version of liberation theology which takes forward the same values. The same values of independence, the same values of creativity, the same values of the integrity of the individual person, even if that person is a peasant, even if that person is illiterate, even if that person is not fully formed in the modern sense.
Well I believe there is a truth we share. I think it’s our sense of justice. I think of the great Paul Newman depiction in The Verdict, his closing argument when he speaks to the jury and says, “You are the law. I believe there is justice in our hearts.” So the truth, the verdict. Vera dictos, speak the truth. That’s what juries are told to do.
When you talk about learning and traditional educational styles, there’s this very common inclination to try and force information upon people rather than having them just kind of discover it of their own volition or discover it by accident.