Though the philosophical movement known as pragmatism often gets a bad rap from the hyper-ideological culture warriors of the evangelical right because it focuses on outcomes rather than how things ought to be according to summarily-declared premises — the Ten Commandments, say — the fractious dead-end of graven-in-stone ideology is encouraging a second look at America’s home-grown philosophy.
Congress is now more ideologically polarized than any time in our country’s history. Democrats can accurately point out that Republicans are more ideologically rigid than they are, but only by 2.5 percent.
This can change, but only if we have leaders who can embrace that great American invention, pragmatism. Pick any policy debate we’re stuck on — education, taxation, national security — and you’ll see both sides guided by their principles. They repeat beliefs founded in ideologies instead of proposing solutions grounded in evidence. No wonder nothing happens.
The first side to embrace pragmatism will find a willing and grateful public. All Congress has to lose is their record-low approval ratings.
The Pragmatists, chiefly John Dewey and Josiah Royce, were the “guys behind the curtain” as the Progressive Movement took hold and laid the foundations of the middle-class, and it was John Dewey whose educational reforms educated that middle class and created the greatest engine of prosperity in the history of the world.
It is possible to earn a degree in engineering or the hard sciences without ever hearing the word ‘pragmatism,’ but all engineers and scientists are trained by default to the pragmatic habit of thought: The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
John Dewey died in 1952, almost 65-years ago, but he is still spoken of by the Loony Right in the same way they speak of Barack Obama.
Whether leftists like the idea or not, the United States of America was conceived as a Christian nation. Not a Catholic one, not a Muslim one, not a Jewish one and not a secular one, but a Christian nation built solidly on the Christian ethos. Every state initially formed with a particular flavor of Protestantism as a state sanctioned religion and our entire culture was fueled by the twin influences of Christian philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment.
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The efforts to destroy the bedrock principles upon which the nation was built began under the destroyer of our education system, John Dewey, who, along with famed “History” professor Charles Beard, worked to tear down America’s founding principles and replace them with socialist-inspired anti-American ideals …
I think a strong dose of pragmatism is exactly what the country needs.