In the next installment of my interview with Tom Alexander, we continue our discussion about the life and legacy of moralist and education reformer, John Dewey. Alexander is the author of John Dewey’s Theory of Art, Experience and Nature: The Horizons of Feeling, and topics of the interview include democracy in education, social justice and life in the age of "the post-truth society."
For every dollar the US government spends, 1/50th of one penny is spent on the arts. Even so, more than a dozen news outlets have reported in the last 2 days that President Trump wants to eliminate that - to defund the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Fortunately, there are others with better ideas.
"I believe that the school is primarily a social institution. Education being a social process, the school is simply that form of community life in which all those agencies are concentrated that will be most effective in bringing the child to share in the inherited resources of the race, and to use his own powers for social ends." - John Dewey, My Pedagogic Creed (1897)
Beyond the nightmare of genocide, slavery and the engineered poverty of today, beyond the transgressions of morally bankrupt leaders in the East and the West, beyond the starvation and unmet basic needs allowed to happen around the world, people must, as well, fight for education, architecture and art. Being civil means being willing to do the work necessary to protect a vision of beauty -- to enshrine local, national and global treasures -- to stand up and defend the ability to express oneself creatively. These things make the life water of the soul.
There’s no getting around the fact that Donald Trump is an over-the-top narcissist with extreme bombastic tendencies and a moral compass as vile and toxic as a nuclear waste site. It is truly a political nightmare in every sense of the word. Even so, there’s also no getting around the fact that Barack Obama has been a charlatan and an absolute fraud—his presidency an irreparable failure—and his political party a sloppy hot mess with only itself to blame.