Tag Archives: protestant reformation

Five Themes of American Conventional Wisdom

puritansIn the first section of his wonderful book, What Are Schools For?, (looking at the history of education in America and the possibilities for a more holistic educational view) author (and my friend) Ron Miller calls out five dominant cultural assumptions that he believes are at the root of conventional American thinking, particularly conventional American thinking about education.

The five are…

1. Puritan (Calvinist/Protestant) Theology
2. Scientific Reductionism (& the Cult of Professionalism)
3. Restrained Democratic Ideology
4. Capitalism & Free Enterprise
5. Self-Righteous Nationalism

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From Dawn to Decadence – The End of the Modern Era?

From Dawn to DecadenceAs much as I’m a student of history, I’d like to see us turn our gaze forward, and not obsess on that history and not accept its conventional wisdom. That said, I think it is still important to understand the historic currents that are the basis of those conventions before one sets out to consider challenging elements of that wisdom.

I’ve just finished slogging my way through a dense 800+ page book, From Dawn to Decadence, by Jacques Barzun. It is a cultural history of the Western World during the past 500 years. Between working, writing, and family, it has taken me some eight or nine months to get through it. Continue reading →