The Death of "why?"

The Death of "why?"

The Decline of Questioning and the Future of Democracy

Book - 2009
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Schlesinger (executive director, Drum Major Institute for Public Policy) believes that American society has come to value questions over answers and warns that debasing the value of inquiry is dangerous to democracy. She blames the media, particularly the Internet, in part, but spends most of her text examining the public school system, arguing that it has shifted from preparing students to question their democracy to preparing unquestioning workers for the economy. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

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Obsessed with answers, we have lost sight of the power and value of questions. Debates over globalization, climate change, health care, and poverty will not be “solved” with simple answers, but that’s what Americans are being trained to expect. Andrea Batista Schlesinger argues that we’re besieged by cultural forces that urge us to avoid critical thinking and independent analysis. The media reduces politics to a spectator sport, standardized tests teach students to fill in the dots instead of opening their minds, and even the Internet promotes habits that discourage looking deeper.
But the situation isn’t hopeless. Schlesinger profiles individuals and institutions renewing the practice of inquiry—particularly in America’s youth—at a time when our society demands such activity from us all. Our resilience will depend on our ability to struggle with what we don’t know, to live and think outside comfortable bubbles of sameness, and, ultimately, to ask questions.
""There's a reason,"" writes Andrea Batista Schlesinger, ""that The Secret has sold nine million copies."" Americans want answers to weight loss, health care, globalization, climate change. We want to believe that we can fix things once and for all, if we only find the right solution. In this impassioned critique of America's growing disengagement from civic life and ideals, Schlesinger, Executive Director of the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, dissects the forcible erosion of our youngest generation's capacity for inquiry. In The Death of ""Why?"" she provides recommendations for restoring the social, educational and political infrastructures that are prerequisites for a healthy democracy.

Publisher: San Francisco : Berrett-Koehler, [2009]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2009
ISBN: 9781576755853
Branch Call Number: 306.432 SCHLE
Characteristics: viii, 254 pages ; 22 cm


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Aug 11, 2016

I am really skeptical and wary of books along these lines, and equally wary and skeptical of Andrea Batista Schlesinger.
First, at what time have Americans asked the next question, for goodness sakes?
When Ferdinand Lundberg wrote Treason of the People, I believe the date was either the 1950s, or perhaps 1960s?
This has been the case for quite some time, e.g., a movie recently came out covering Dan Rather's godawfully screwed up piece on George Bush missing his ANG meetings, still clueless as to the Real Story: George W. Bush never ever qualified as either an officer, nor a pilot - - end of story!
A whole bunch of people still haven't asked the next question and they are of an age! [How many democrats in Florida in 2000 voted for Bush over Gore? As opposed to the much smaller number who voted for Nader!]


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