Eek Week! A Recrudescence of the Socratic Method

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Growing up, I attended Catholic Central High School, which was founded by the Basilian Fathers. Later, I matriculated to the University of Detroit (undergrad and law school), which was founded by the Jesuits. Once, I was asked about how the combination of these institutions affected my learning. I began by reciting Catholic Central’s motto: “The Basilian Fathers taught me goodness, discipline and knowledge. The Jesuits taught me everything else.”

It was a cheeky response, but to date I haven’t been excommunicated. In truth, though, one of the critical lessons I learned from attending a Jesuit institution is to always drill down to the root question and core beliefs surrounding any issue, especially a complex one.

Unfortunately, our political discourse is rife with rhetorical questions—both for political and pecuniary reasons. For the educationally short-changed awash in toxic imbecility who should be suing their alma maters for malpractice, a rhetorical question is “asked when the questioner himself already knows the answer, or when an answer is not actually demanded. In other words, when an answer is not expected from the audience. Such a question is used to emphasize a point or draw the audience’s attention.”

For example, within academe the following is a trendy example of rhetorical question: “You know Trump is a traitor?”

Such persistent posing of scurrilous accusations under the guise of rhetorical questions (and the more craven conditional statements containing “if/then”) are weaponized to indoctrinate rather than to educate. Given this state of affairs, it is an apt time to engage in a more intellectually invigorating challenge. That’s right. It’s Eek Week, so steel yourself for a recrudescence of the Socratic method.

For those unfamiliar with this form of intellectual flagellation, the Socratic method “is a different style of education than a lecture. This approach involves a conversation in which a student is asked to question their assumptions. It is a forum for open-ended inquiry, one in which both student and teacher can use probing questions to develop a deeper understanding of the topic.”

Alas, for our Stalinist tormentors in academe, the media, the arts, and politics “give and take” means they give you leftist propaganda and you must take it as gospel (if you want to graduate). Consequently, many, especially the young, may have a lack experience with the Socratic method. There’s no need to be frightened, maybe just a little anxious.

The following non-rhetorical questions are offered to facilitate a greater understanding of one’s ideology and the assumptions undergirding it. Hopefully, by pondering these questions—some of which may not yet be answerable—previously unquestioned aspects of one’s ideological underpinnings can be examinedeither to reinforce or renounce them, in whole or in part.

This smattering of cultural, constitutional, economic and political queries is certainly not exhaustive (though answering them may be). Good luck, Tiger!

Cultural

Does objective truth exist? Why or why not?

Is it moral for the state legally to sanction a person’s death? If so, when?

Among decent people, does a colorblind society remain a universally desired and righteous societal goal? If not, why?

Can disfavored speech constitute violence? If so, when?

Constitutional

Is America a democracy or a republic—or both?

Is citizenship an outmoded concept? Why or why not?

Should justice be blind? Can it be?

Can the actions of one citizen curtail the constitutional rights of another citizen? If so, when?

Economic

Should America retain its capitalist economy or adopt a socialist economy?

What will be the impact upon the citizenry of your preferred economic system?

Is there an income inequality crisis? If so, who decides and what constitutes an acceptable equality of incomes?

Is America’s trade policy part of or distinct from its national security? How and why?

Political

Is the orange man bad? (In this instance, a “yes” or “no” will suffice.)

What evidence and outcome will conclusively settle the Russia-gate investigation(s)?

Which is more offensive: a MAGA hat or a Che Guevara t-shirt?

Do you vote the party, the person, your principles, or neither?

But wait! There’s more! You get the big bonus question!

The Key Question

Is America an inherently exceptional nation championing human freedom or an inherently immoral nation needing radical transformation?

Whew, that was some excruciating cogitation. At least there weren’t story problems. Still, I should probably balm my brain with some Icy Hot. Oh, for the record: I reinforced my beliefs.

You?

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