Bigger Than A Breadbox by Larry Butler
We Americans see our images reflected back to us by a highly subjective mirror. Our sense of self has been profoundly influenced by our culture, our education, our history, our economics, our social class, our families, and even by those who would mold our views to serve their own interests. At times we have difficulty understanding and interpreting events inside and outside the
Often our culture, our understanding of history, and even the media through which we receive our information interpret events poorly, incompletely, or even falsely. We become so accustomed to hearing officially-endorsed myths that we internalize them as truth. We are often poorly equipped to respond appropriately when our interests are threatened or attacked; we may not even be aware of these threats and attacks.
The solution is found not in answers, but in questions. In a technological age that offers instant facts to anybody who can click a mouse, answers can be found to conform to any position, bias, or preconception. Asking the right questions with a mind open to discovery can lead to a greater understanding of ourselves, our institutions, and the motivations of those who would shape our views.
We must choose for ourselves the right questions -- these are only suggestions -- and find for ourselves the answers that are consonant with our most critical view of the world around us. Implicit in each and every question is another: Why do I believe as I do?
By what criteria? Choose among size, wealth, income, degree of social equality, global political power, aid to other countries, racial history, or any other standard you like. Do you see a country that is consistent with the rhetoric of politicians and the slogans of self-proclaimed patriots?
Are we the "good guy" in the world?
We have always stood for human rights and democracy
throughout the world, have we not? Why
What is Social Darwinism?
The great American tradition of self-reliance has led to a
widespread belief that successful people deserve what they have gotten and that
the poor have gotten what they deserve. Does
Who faces inequality today?
Who considers critical thinking a threat?
The platform of the Republican Party of Texas explicitly
opposes teaching critical-thinking techniques in public schools, and
What is the value of public education?