The Death of "why?"
The Decline of Questioning and the Future of DemocracyBook - 2009
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 (booknews.com)
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Questions = Power
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. 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 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.