The Case Against Literature As Moral Education

The other day, Corey Robin, author of The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism From Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin, eviscerated Christopher Hitchens over two morally dubious comments he made. Robin concluded from them that, contrary to his reputation, Hitchens was not at all an internationalist but rather “a narcissist, the most provincial spirit of all”. Robin ended his post quoting George Steiner’s “To Civilize Our Gentlemen” (which can be found in Language and Silence) challenging vigorously the notion that being a literary person–such as Hitchens was to his core–is actually good moral training in general:

The simple yet appalling fact is that we have very little solid evidence that literary studies do very much to enrich or stabilize moral perception, that they humanize. We have little proof that a tradition of literary studies in fact makes a man more humane. What is worse — a certain body of evidence points the other way. When barbarism came to twentieth-century Europe, the arts faculties in more than one university offered very little moral resistance, and this is not a trivial or local accident. In a disturbing number of cases the literary imagination gave servile or ecstatic welcome to political bestiality. That bestiality was at times enforced and refined by individuals educated in the culture of traditional humanism. Knowledge of Goethe, a delight in the poetry of Rilke, seemed no bar to personal and institutionalized sadism. Literary values and the most utmost of hideous inhumanity could coexist in the same community, in the same individual sensibility….

…I find myself unable to assert confidently that the humanities humanize. Indeed, I would go further: it is at least conceivable that the focusing of consciousness on a written text which is the substance of our training and pursuit diminishes the sharpness and readiness of our actual moral response. Because we are trained to give psychological and moral credence to the imaginary, to the character in a play or a novel, to the condition of spirit we gather from a poem, we may find it more difficult to identify with the real world, to take the world of actual experience to heart…The capacity for imaginative reflex, for moral risk in any human being is not limitless; on the contrary, it can be rapidly absorbed by fictions, and thus the cry in the poem may come to sound louder, more urgent, more real than the cry in the street outside. The death in the novel may move us more potently than the death in the next room. Thus there may be a covert, betraying link between the cultivation of aesthetic response and the potential of personal inhumanity.

This reminded me of another, long and interesting, argument against authors as moral and political guides which Megan McArdle wrote this summer:

I reject the unspoken assumption here that art is supposed to make you better–the novel as a sort of secular religious work.  This is a long tradition in American literature, and it goes back to an era when art was supposed to be a sort of religious religious work, and many families shunned books that didn’t offer appropriately treacly moral themes.  Most of those novels are now forgotten, and the ones that remain, like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, are mostly regarded as historical curiosities, not mighty fine reading.  History has mostly rewarded the ambiguous and the transgressive, not the sermons-with-a-cast.

Art isn’t very good stand-in for Sunday School teachers, for all that we repeatedly imbue it with the job of shaping morality–”poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world”, said Shelley, and it’s a damn good thing he was wrong.  Having a keen eye for detail, a a morose grasp of the tragedy of the human condition, and hypertrophied verbal mental muscles does not make you a good policy analyst. George Orwell, who was more of a gimlet-eyed realist than most ideological writers, nonetheless believed a fair amount of ludicrous nonsense, such as his assertions that collectivism was necessary because a capitalist society could never produce enough to win World War II.

Of course, talent may give you the ability to construct a convincing alternative universe where all the difficulties are imagined away, and more than one person has confused this with the ability to identify what schemes will work in the real world.  After all socialism was prosperous and peaceful–in Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward and other novels in the genre.  The novels are often very convincing, and indeed seem to address all possible objections.  Yet in practice, socialism was mostly good for killing unreasonably large numbers of people–30,000 alone building the massive Magnitorsk steelworks that were trumpeted as the sort of thing that could only done by collectivism.  We should thank God that capitalist democracies don’t make such appalling waste of human life.

But when art-as-politics airbrushes out the dead people at the steel works, it can be very convincing, which is why advocates like it; Uncle Tom’s Cabin did more for the Abolitionist cause than a hundred thousand lectures.  The problem is, it can convince of the bad as easily as the good–Gone With the Wind reached many more people than Uncle Tom’s Cabin, in part because–despite its ugly racial politics–it’s a much better book with richer characters and more believable action.  There are also the heroic misfires, where the author rouses fierce passions about the wrong issue.  Soviet documentaries about the horridness of American life inspired the audience with subversive thoughts about our prosperous avoirdupois and profusion of consumer goods.  Upton Sinclair envisioned The Jungle as a socialist manifesto which would inspire people to rise up and tear down the system; what he actually wrote was a food-safety tract which inspired massive sanitary regulation of the meatpacking industry.

You see the point: what makes a political narrative convincing is not the correctness of its ideas, but power of the characters and the imagery–the most powerful images in The Jungle are the grotesqueries of mass butchering, and that–not the injustice of capitalism–is what people fastened onto.  Worse, the most convincing feature of all may simply be the author’s facility at imagining away the difficulties–and the most successful works are often those where the limits of the author’s imagination are closest to those of the imaginations of his audience.

Because it is the power of the narrative, that we are responding to, not the soundness of the ideas themselves, we have no way of knowing whether we have been convinced of good things or bad.  Policing art so that you only get “good” ideas from it is even more futile–the quest for stirring narratives which reinforce what you already believe is no healthier in a person than in a society. In some sense, we live inside a well-imagined novel, and so it’s not exactly surprising that even when we’re confronted with new evidence, it’s emotionally difficult to discard the “evidence” of our own “experience”.  In some fundamental way, great political narrative has the power to make you, not smarter and better, but stupider and more passionate.

Feminists who admire political fiction should think hard about the ways in which women have learned to love their restrictions through the fiction that romanticized them. If you are saying to yourself, “which is why it’s so important to combat this with the right sort of moral narratives” then you are simply begging the question.

Arguably authors live in their creations even more deeply than we do–so perhaps that’s why, too often, authors have granted the license of their imagination to actual governments with horrible economic and political policies which sounded great on paper; these governments did actual horrible things to actual people that could not be undone with a hasty edit.  Yet the authors proved surprisingly adept at imagining them away.

Authors aren’t good policy architects.  They’re also not good moral philosophers–they’re good at dramatizing moral conundrums, which is not the same thing as resolving them.  Look at how some major authors resolved relatively simple questions like “should I cheat on my wife with this nubile fan?”  “Would it be a good idea to stick my annoying wife in an asylum for the rest of her life and never visit her?” “Should I use my position as a screenwriter to double as an inept propagandist for the Soviet Union?”  “Might it be a good idea to abandon my children to whoever will care for them?” “Should I stab my wife if I am mad at her?”  “Who should I support in World War II–my own country, or the Nazis?”  “Should I try to get a murderous felon released and feted by the New York literary establishment in the brief time before he kills someone else?”

This is not to say that all authors are moral midgets. Perhaps they aren’t any worse than the rest of us, on average–naturally, the stories we know are the sensational ones, not the lived-with-their-three-boring-kids-and-husband-until-they-died-at-96.  I am not arguing that artists are generally bad people, but merely that we have no evidence that they’re better than us–all of them are at least as flawed as we are.  And we’re pretty flawed.

But because we love the worlds they create, we often imagine that we should also love them–that they can finally show us how to live, or at least, how not to live.  But the people in stories never lived; they only struggled with the limited problems that the author gave them, and they only overcame them with the author’s help.  This limits how far we can take them as either models or warnings–and limits, too, how worried we should be about the morals of the author.  The problem is not with the author who might be steering us wrong, but with the people who expect that author to somehow help steer them to safety . . . as if we’d allowed someone to show us around New York because they’d once drawn a beautiful map of Chicago.

As long as that quote is, it’s not only half the article, so I encourage you to Read More.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Badger3k

    Usually McArdle has her head up her fundament, but she makes some good points there. She gets it wrong that Sunday School is a place to learn morals – all they teach there is religious dogma masquerading as morality. That point aside, literature reflects society and the writer, and the values of both, good and bad. It seems like the first guy wants literature to be read like a religious text – to be absorbed as true, yet all the classes that I have had tended to be discussions, where the texts and the events are analyzed. Hell, we do that in High School English class, where we look for the author’s biases, the cultural attitudes of the time, etc. You still need to use critical thinking when reading.

  • http://peicurmudgeon.wordpress.com/ peicurmudgeon

    You can find examples to support almost any theory you want to support. I have found art to have definitely shaped my morality.

    Hemmingway was a deeply troubled men, but he wrote some powerful anti-fascist, anti-war literature. He was one who stood up for what he believed, despite his illness.

    Graham Greene, a catholic, helped me understand that morality is never black and white and that we are shaped by our environment and personal weaknesses, but that we can still sometimes rise above those.

    Camus also struggled with making moral descisions in an absurd world. Another artist who acted on his convictions.

    Solzhenitsyn and Weisel arose from fascism, Rushdie suffered from it, and Arendt described it.

    Can morality be derived from literature? Of course it can. Can immorality be derived from literature? Of course it can. We each develop our personal sense of ethics from our environment, and for many of us, literature can play a large part in that.

  • Amontillado

    Terrible argument. Her mind is straining to draw conclusions from the most asinine generalizations.

    Authors aren’t good policy architects. They’re also not good moral philosophers–they’re good at dramatizing moral conundrums, which is not the same thing as resolving them.

    An author is not, by virtue of being an author, necessarily good at resolving moral conundrums. Right. But to suppose that it follows from this that a particular author might not happen to be a good policy architect or moral philosopher or whatever else is absolutely baffling.

    Art at its best gives us new ways of looking at the world, and this is itself beyond price. But that doesn’t mean that art is Good With a Capital G, much less that artists are. They are all unreliable narrators.

    Perhaps they are. All of them, every single one, unreliable. On the other hand, maybe all-or-nothing thinking is a cognitive distortion.

  • Amontillado

    Because we are trained to give psychological and moral credence to the imaginary, to the character in a play or a novel, to the condition of spirit we gather from a poem, we may find it more difficult to identify with the real world, to take the world of actual experience to heart

    Steiner does slightly better than McArdle, but his argument against the supposedly desensitizing phantasms of fiction is nothing more than a phantasm itself. What evidence from the real world does he have to back up his claim? Have the uncultured ever proved themselves more empathetic and humane than literary sophisticates?

  • laurentweppe

    George Orwell, who was more of a gimlet-eyed realist than most ideological writers, nonetheless believed a fair amount of ludicrous nonsense, such as his assertions that collectivism was necessary because a capitalist society could never produce enough to win World War II.

    Q: Which millitary killed the most German soldiers and did most of the heavy lifting during WWII?
    A: The Red Army
    *
    Q2: How “capitalistic” was the US economy during WWII?
    A2: in 1945, 42% of the US GDP came from federal spending
    *
    Orwell was way less often wrong than Hitchens.
    ***

    Steiner does slightly better than McArdle, but his argument against the supposedly desensitizing phantasms of fiction is nothing more than a phantasm itself. What evidence from the real world does he have to back up his claim?

    One word: Objectivism
    Can a novel harm civilization by producing an army of self-proclaimed capitalistic übermenschen willing to fuck the planet in order to pursue their aristocratic fantasies? Yes! Yes: it fucking can: it just fucking did
    ***
    Back to the main subject, I don’t see the reason to apply McArdle essay to Hitchens: she was not talking about authors in general, but precisely about authors of fictionnal works. The problem with Hitchens did not came from fictionnal works: it came from articles, and essay, and speeches were he claimed that his bloodlust against very real (and very really killed people) was a principled position.
    *
    On the other hand, the (quite short once you’ve got rid of all the quotations) text from Corey Robin nailed down perfectly what is wrong with the sudden fawning displayed all around Hitchens’ carcass:

    Many seem to view Hitchens’s undeniable talent as a writer as a mitigating factor in their assessment of his legacy

    This is one thing which always makes me clench my teeth: Wit being presented as conclusive proof of a superior intellect, and then, said “demonstrated” superior intellect being presented as proof that the Witty individual epitomize morality.
    *
    The fact is that the “Truly, my eidolon’s mastery of the English/French/German/Spanish/Chinese/Whatever language demonstrates the ascendancy of his brilliant mind compared to your peons’ and therefore makes him a better bestower of moral education than anyone with less proficiency in his language of choice” proposition is as intellectually and as morally bankrupt as the classical “Truly, my capacity to quotemine my holy book demonstrates my superior godliness and therefore makes me a better bestower of moral education than anyone with less brain cells dedicated to the noble art of quotemining” proposition: both cases are nothing more than rhetorical arabesques meant to disguise a very basic appeal to authority.
    And, I suspect that a lot of Hitchens swooning fanboys know that as well, except that invoking an appeal to authority, telling, in substance “He was Smarter than you and since I agree with him I am Smarter than you so shut the fuck up and never try to contradict me again” is waaaaaaaaaay to tempting to pass up.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      I don’t see the reason to apply McArdle essay to Hitchens

      I interpreted Robin’s thesis as having the corollary that the poor moral reasoning skills that he attributes to Hitchens are connected to Hitchens’s own absorption in literature. On such grounds, McArdle thesis that literature is misleading is related to the idea that Hitchens was misled by it. The claim of neither is that Hitchens was a purveyor of the mistakes in the first place (except insofar as he himself could be charged with being a rhetorician who made bad ideas sound good).

    • laurentweppe

      Then that is a very strange postulate: I can definitely see how certain fictions can twist one reader’s mind should they become their dominant purveyors of stories (say: someone reading only novels depicting a fantasized Ante-bellum South and learning virtually nothing about this period from any other sources), but the idea that a more wholesome literature culture can have a similar effect seems to me harder to swallow.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      Sure, but look at what Steiner and McArdle are saying, they’re both saying it’s not just outright oppressive thinking that persuades through literature, they’re saying it’s the confusions of people’s feelings and the falseness of the worlds in literature that have this effect. All of this is what makes even “wholesome” literature off the mark because it distorts reality (however well intended) or creates in one a sense of literary values rather than necessarily moral ones. In the case of Hitchens, he saw the twin towers fall and after the initial horror felt an exileration at realizing he had an enemy to fight for the rest of his life. In other words, he interpreted the event in terms of its narrative value—how it would advance and give structure to the story of his own life, how it would introduce an antagonist, and this distanced him from thinking soberly about the evil as evil and about the suffering that happened that day and which he would be agitating to happen in the future as awful.

      And in this context if we add McArdle, there is a critique of his Iraq adventurism. In light of his narcissistic, literary, abstract way of looking at events, the charge is that he formed policy towards the great Islamofascist threat he could now spend his life fighting, in ways that were more dramatic than pragmatic.

    • mazeRunner

      Daniel:

      In the case of Hitchens, he saw the twin towers fall and after the initial horror felt an exileration at realizing he had an enemy to fight for the rest of his life. In other words, he interpreted the event in terms of its narrative value—how it would advance and give structure to the story of his own life, how it would introduce an antagonist, and this distanced him from thinking soberly about the evil as evil and about the suffering that happened that day and which he would be agitating to happen in the future as awful.

      Sure thats how he expressed himself in a magazine column, being the literary commentator that he was. Maybe his position was more rational, in his own frame of reference, than literary. Don’t you think a lot of other things, other than his reading of Orwell, contributed to his thinking about the event? Perhaps if some of the other things were different, he would be led to a different way of looking, Orwell notwithstanding. There are other people who read Orwell but didn’t agree with Hitchens’ narrative about 9/11, aren’t there? (Orwell as shorthand for his literariness)

      I guess my point is, shouldn’t we ascertain how much influence does literature actually have on political thought, before basking in knocing down its influence as evil or neutral.

  • http://raisinghellions.wordpress.com/ Lou Doench

    I’m sorry, you lost me at McMegan. How can anyone read her drivel without hurting their brains amazes me. She is as usual just tossing word sald into the air and hoping some of the dressing gets in your eyes and blinds you to the fat that she doesn’t actually have a coherent point.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jalyth Jalyth

    So much of what we get out of books is individual. I read Gone With The Wind as a young teenager, and my impression was that every man who was racist got killed or had something else terrible happen. I wasn’t educated enough to see its racist tropes, so instead I saw comeuppances. Nobody I’ve ever met thinks I’m anything but nuts for this interpretation, and that’s okay. I’m just illustrating that art, in this case literature, is in the eye of the beholder.

    I think a lot about many of the books I read (mostly fantasy novels, which in my view discuss human nature), although I didn’t take a moral from Harry Potter, probably cause I’d have critiqued it too harshly and I wanted to just enjoy it. There’s different levels of writing, obvy. When we say “literature” are we by definition excluding romance novels or vampires books?

    I haven’t read most of the classics that McMegan was talking about; I usually don’t like them. I don’t get why she thinks what the authors did in their own lives is relevant. So I can’t take anything from a book because a guy cheated on his wife? Maybe I misread her, but she sounds like someone I wouldn’t read more than a few times.

    • http://raisinghellions.wordpress.com/ Lou Doench

      Maybe I misread her, but she sounds like someone I wouldn’t read more than a few times.

      Embrace that feeling. Protect your brain cells from further damage.

  • mazeRunner

    I get the feeling that McArdle and Steiner(CE:I only read the quote) make valid and compelling arguments denying the Arts’ near monopoly over ethical and political thought, if that isn’t too strong a characterization of their view to turn it into caricature. But it seems to me, that this be a strawperson, since there is no such near monopoly. However right their arguments maybe, they only affect those who are of the opinion that most ethical / political thought is shaped by, or should be shaped by, literary / artistic discourse. Far as I know, not a lot of intelligent people are so subverted by literature or art, so as to seriously undermine the working of their moral compasses vis-a-vis reality. Sure people are moved by art, but they very seldom constuct their whole worldview based solely on it. Their own knowledge and experience count a great deal too.

    Whatever ethical / political positions people arrive at are not merely products of artistic influences they have absorbed. Likewise in Hitchens’ case, even though he probably was a lot more literary than most political commentators, his positions, right or wrong, can’t solely be attributed to his literary erudition or his literary discourse and therefore wholly attribute them to them.

    Corey, nevertheless, is right to point out that Hitchens’ style or wit shouldn’t affect the rightness or wrongness of his positions, and criticism must be given where its due, which is not the same thing as saying there isn’t any value to his style or wit.

  • jesse

    The whole argument McArdle is making is simply silly.

    Does art influence people? Hell yes. But art is also influenced by those around it. If I understand her correctly she’s saying that it’s not true that someone with a humanities education is any more humane. Well, duh.

    To get a little meta here, perhaps, her real argument is against education in the humanities. And her problem with it is that education in the humanities is supposed to help people with things like critical thinking. Sunday Schools hate that.

    And Sunday School uses literature to teach morals, too. The freaking Bible is literature by any reasonable definition. She trots out people who liked modernist art and were shills for Stalin; hell, I can trot out people who wrote in the 19th century and thought genocidal policy was freaking A-OK, as long as brown people died.

    So I don’t see what her point is. That artists aren’t better people? Hitchens in particular could be a right bastard, who was oddly blinkered by his background. (Sometimes I read him and I wonder how many non-white, female folks he ever met and actually spoke to and listened). He was not an evil man, though, at least not as far as I can see. He wasn’t a sociopath or someone who dismissed suffering, not all the time. Well, jeez, people are complicated. Who knew?

    OK, if she is arguing against holding artists up as some kind of great moral instructors, I get that, but I don’t know anyone born after 1900 who thinks that — not without recognizing art’s role as propaganda. But that’s a whole other discussion and hasn’t got much to do with education in the humanities or appreciation thereof.

    Again, in Hitchens’ case, this guy — like a lot of people — experienced 9/11 and saw it as his great foe, perhaps, a great battle, like Pearl Harbor. That yearning for moral clarity isn’t unusual. We all have it — it’s why we like Star Wars and Harry Potter so much. But real life never obliges us.

    • http://raisinghellions.wordpress.com/ Lou Doench

      You are exactly right Jesse, and if you have a strong stomach you can go through her back catalog of hits and see the disdain for education or intellectualism that runs through all of her work. Like the ribbon of funk that runs through a Stevie Wonder song, its always there.

  • http://jaystott.com/wordpress Jay S

    I’m always interested when this topic comes up, as it tends to do, and no one seems to have read Martha Nussbaum’s Poetic Justice- which pretty directly engages this issue and makes an argument for the necessity of literary education for moral thinking and civic discourse. This is the third our fourth time in the past year or so I have seen this discussion break out on the interwebs and Nussbaum’s work never comes up.

  • Dan L.

    This is a very ideological and confused argument. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but try this:

    Having a keen eye for detail, a a morose grasp of the tragedy of the human condition, and hypertrophied verbal mental muscles does not make you a good policy analyst. George Orwell, who was more of a gimlet-eyed realist than most ideological writers, nonetheless believed a fair amount of ludicrous nonsense, such as his assertions that collectivism was necessary because a capitalist society could never produce enough to win World War II.

    Was Orwell really wrong? Suppose we reimagine WWII without the collectivist Soviet Union getting involved. Did the capitalist economies of the Allies produce enough war goods to defeat the Nazis? Probably not. Without the war on the eastern front of Germany the allies would almost certainly have lost the war for Europe.

    Many of the man’s arguments also show confusion about just what constitutes “socialism”. Consider:

    Yet in practice, socialism was mostly good for killing unreasonably large numbers of people–30,000 alone building the massive Magnitorsk steelworks that were trumpeted as the sort of thing that could only done by collectivism. We should thank God that capitalist democracies don’t make such appalling waste of human life.

    Those same democracies have implemented welfare schemes, unemployment insurance, most have implemented socialized medicine and essentially all have heavily regulated the activities of industry. Modern “capitalist” democracies are socialist. There’s a similar problem with his treatment of Upton Sinclair. He dismisses the fact that Sinclair’s book inspired government regulation of food products as completely consistent with capitalism. It is not. The FDA is, by any reasonable definition, a socialistic institution.

    Given his predilection for economic examples and his apparently grievous misunderstandings of what constitutes socialism and the relationship between socialism and capitalism I’m having a lot of trouble taking this critique seriously. Mistaking “socialism” for some metaphorical monster that exists only to kill thousands of human beings is troubling, especially since it’s historically obvious that capitalist, mercantilist, and feudal, and imperial states are all equally capable of murdering thousands or millions of people.

    • Dan L.

      Apparently written by a woman, so I’m sorry for the gender confusion.

      Also noticed that my post reads like an endorsement of socialism. It is not intended that way. It is intended to be a purely descriptive analysis of what is wrong with McArdle’s argument. The socialistic nature of the western democracies is a simple fact, as is the fact that, considered in proportion to the number of human beings alive at any given time, socialist states are not inherently more murderous than capitalist, mercantilist, feudal, or imperial states.

      Incidentally, this mistake — confusing totalitarianism and socialism — is a very troubling trend in conservative politics. There is nothing inherent to capitalism that precludes totalitarianism, and to my knowledge none of those decrying socialism have ever made a good argument to the effect that the evils committed by the Soviet Union were the result of socialism rather than totalitarianism.

    • jesse

      Well, I’d argue with your definition of socialism, at least insofar as you speak of ownership of the means of production and control over one’s labor and the products thereof. (Imagine if you owned the products of your labor in their entirety, rather than only selling the labor itself).

      But, your point is otherwise well-taken; one reason that we have certain kinds of social welfare schemes is the direct result of a long fight on the part of labor and certainly the CPUSA. (Whatever internal problems the party eventually had, there’s a whole long discussion I could get into there). We forget that the CPUSA was at one point one of the largest parties in the country that wasn’t Democrat or GOP.

      Also, there were a lot of things that the capitalist countries were simply embarrassed into providing, as well as recognition that markets tend to entrench powerful people and institutions. But that never bothered conservatives, who are still mad that dark-skinned people can vote.

    • Dan L.

      Well, I’d argue with your definition of socialism, at least insofar as you speak of ownership of the means of production and control over one’s labor and the products thereof. (Imagine if you owned the products of your labor in their entirety, rather than only selling the labor itself).

      I don’t believe I even mentioned “ownership of the means of production,” “control over one’s labor,” or the “products thereof” anywhere in my comment. I also didn’t offer any definition of socialism. So I have no idea what you’re talking about. This is part of the problem. People are so inconsistent about what “socialism” means that it’s pretty much impossible to talk about it coherently. Is government-provided healthcare a socialist policy? If so, then western Europe heavily favors a socialist policy and many Americans favor similar policies. If not, why does everyone call it “socialized medicine”?

      What you’re talking about I might call “Marxism” or “communism.” You’re conflating extreme positions with moderate positions which makes it very hard to have a productive, civil conversation about this stuff.

  • http://swtortalenttrees.blogspot.com/ Gretta Amarante

    Another issue is that video games are usually serious naturally with the principal focus on knowing things rather than amusement. Although, it has an entertainment aspect to keep the kids engaged, each and every game is usually designed to develop a specific experience or curriculum, such as math concepts or scientific research. Thanks for your article.


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