Why do we have to sit through another damn political theory lecture?
I admit from the beginning that I am not your average University of Michigan Student. I am older than most of the students on campus (including GSI’s) and the extra few years that I have enabled me to examine things a bit differently. Recently I found myself talking with a graduate student at the University and we both felt that too often students fail to understand the gift that they have been given. They fail to grasp the honor that has been bestowed upon them to be trained in a way that for thousands of years, and some may argue even today, is unavailable to the mass population. I understand that sometimes it is difficult to wake up in the morning, to study all the time and to never have enough “me” time. On top of all that, we (in one way or another) pay to be subjected to this torture. So why?
By considering this premise I seek to answer a question that seems to be repeated over and over again throughout this semester: “What do all of these theorists have in common?” Below I supply one recurring theme that can be found in the words of almost all (sorry Halper and Muzzio) of the authors we have read up to this point in the order they were read. (Note: For the apology I used Socrates as the author as it is usually read with the understanding that these were the actions and beliefs of the philosopher)
Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for. –Socrates
A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan. –Martin Luther King, Jr.
There are three kinds of intelligence: one kind understands things for itself, the other appreciates what others can understand, the third understands neither for itself nor through others. This first kind is excellent, the second good, and the third kind useless. –Niccolo Machiavelli
The politics of difference is both a product of democracy and a danger to it. That is why education is so important –Michael Walzer
Prudence is but experience, which equal time, equally bestows on all men, in those things they equally apply themselves unto. –Thomas Hobbes
This least utilitarian of educations prepares you to make sense of the world and maybe to make meaning; for one way to describe the great struggle of our time is as the endeavor to become a producer of meanings rather than a consumer of them – in an age when meaning as advertising and marketing, as others’ definitions of pleasure and terror, is daily forced down our throats. –Rebecca Solnit
I attribute the little I know to my not having been ashamed to ask for information, and to my rule of conversing with all descriptions of men on those topics that form their own peculiar professions and pursuits. –John Locke
Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today. –Malcom X
I realize this isn’t the most earth shattering blog post in the world but I think it is worth taking into account. If there is one thing that we have seen in the previous weeks it is that all of these authors can’t agree on any one entire political theory then what does it say then that they do all agree on the importance of an education?