Thursday, November 15, 2012
Before the presidential election, I posted links to University of St. Thomas law professor Charles Reid's statement of reasons for supporting President Obama in the election, despite Professor Reid's pro-life position on abortion. Some MOJ readers may be interested in Reid's post-election reflection (here), which is focused on philosopher John Dewey. A brief excerpt:
"Properly qualified, we might do well to reflect on Dewey this November. He is the philosopher of the common good. One hopes that the racist dog-whistles and the naked appeals to class hatred (the 'takers' vs. the 'makers') that marked our ugly campaign season can be replaced with the understanding that we are 'in some metaphorical sense all brothers, [that] we are ... all in the same boat, traversing the same ocean.' (John Dewey, 'A Common Faith,' reprinted in John Dewey, 'The Later Works,' vol. IX, p. 56).
It was John Dewey's optimism that drove the 'can-do period of America's greatest public works, the 1950s and 1960s. It was his faith in democratic government and an engaged citizenry that breathed life into the great programs for social improvement represented by the New Deal and the Great Society. Following an election that feels much like a bitterly fought, hard-won vindication of those earlier transformative contests of 1932 and 1964, we might do well to reacquaint ourselves with this great American mind."