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Do Americans Suffer From an "Allergy to Thought?"

(Photo by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers talked with New York University president John Sexton for a wide-ranging conversation about religion, the role of higher education in a globalizing world, and the troubling disintegration of civil discourse in today's society.

Sexton suggested that America increasingly exhibits what he calls an "allergy to thought" and that universities are the key to restoring nuance to public discourse:

"This is a pattern that I see: an allergy to thought, to complexity [and] nuance - a kind of collapse into an intellectual relativism where opinions become fact... It's a dangerous thing... I think there's a growing hostility to knowledge in this country... Our national progress is being retarded because we have fallen into this discourse by slogan. We have fallen into this relativism where it's a conversation to stop and say, "Well, that's your opinion. [This is] my opinion...' Go back to the Athenian idea of political speech - it was a search for good answers. We're so far from that today that it's almost ludicrous for me to bring that up, but I want to remind us... We don't listen well as a society. When we listen, we listen in feedback loops to people who are likely to say what it is we think is right... We're in the process, it seems to me, because of this allergy to complexity and nuance, of devaluing the importance of education... I think universities are the last, best hope for pushing back against this because what we do is complexity and nuance."

Some critics contend that many of today's universities refuse to foster a truly vigorous exchange of ideas. Arguing in the WALL STREET JOURNAL that recent high-profile incidents at Yale, Harvard and Duke demonstrate universities' lack of commitment to open dialogue, columnist Peter Berkowitz wrote:

"Professors have a professional interest in - indeed a professional duty to uphold - liberty of thought and discussion. But in recent years, precisely where they should be most engaged and outspoken they have been apathetic and inarticulate... The aim of liberal education is not to guard [students'] sensitivities but to teach them to listen to diverse opinions and fortify them to respond with better arguments to those with whom they disagree... As the controversies at Yale, Duke and Harvard captured national attention, professors from other universities haven't had much to say in defense of liberty of thought and discussion either. This silence represents a collective failure of America's professors of colossal proportions. What could be a clearer sign of our professors' loss of understanding of the requirements of liberal education than their failure to defend liberty of thought and discussion where it touches them most directly?"

What do you think?

  • Does American society suffer from "an allergy to thought?" Why or why not?

  • Do you believe that America's universities encourage open and nuanced debate on the issues of our time? Explain.

  • Are there other institutions you see "pushing back" against sloganeering in favor of honest and intelligent dialogue?

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    The following describes an upcoming FRONTLINE program on the commercialization of higher education:

    DCE wrote, in part, "The creative force of nature has given us the materials, the tools and the intelligence to maintain meaningful life experience that has continuity and order. It is up to us to use those tools properly."

    There is no indication on the horizon that "man" is capable of doing anything other than blowing himself up...the self-fulfilling prophecy of "end times" that 40 million people in the USA supposedly believe as "real"!!!

    40 million citizens in a big bowl of crazy they created for themselves...

    If anyone believes that the Creator demands innocent blood

    then such a one


    in understanding the "will"

    of the One who brought forth a flower...

    Could not BELIEVE my eyes when I caught the "news" clip about yet ANOTHER "hearing" about the MASSIVE THEFT of ALL LABOR done in the past 200 years in the Americas...

    It has NOT stopped since the Russian Revolution - they keep showing up with the SAME SCHTICK - SLAVERISM

    seriously, how can you explain the MORAL CHARACTER of an optician bragging that his "uncle" in Florida has Napolean's desk...?

    And the artisans who built that desk...?

    More MISERY for others =
    More money for ME ME ME
    Posted by: Anna D

    Posted by David E
    Right; that is why it is necessary to tax the greedy and give to the needy if they are willing or unable to work for it.
    The creative force of nature has given us the materials, the tools and the intelligence to maintain meaningful life experience that has continuity and order. It is up to us to use those tools properly. ( :-) >

    DCF wrote, "The law of functional reality is intended to create order from chaos."

    Uh, hasn't that been already done FOR us?

    Didn't some kind of "intelligence" come up with atomic cohesion math and physics in order to create a flower?

    Let's face it, humans do not have the kind of mind that can comprehend why "intelligence" gave forth a flower from the POWER of the elusive "god article" (Higgs-Bosom).

    More MISERY for others =
    More money for ME ME ME

    By the way, for those who commented on that Hitler quote in my article, "Reading in the 21st-Century", the following is the latest revision of that article:

    Concerning an earlier post which commented, "We are becoming the victims of institutional incompetence and wrong assumptions.
    Instead of the land of the brave we have become the land of the gullible:

    - The most essential mental quality for a free people, whose liberty is to be progressive, permanent, and on a large scale, is much stupidity. (Walter Bagehot)

    Does American society suffer from "an allergy to thought?" Why or why not?

    Our problem is not a lack of thought; it is a lack of funds to support a quality social system.
    The top five billionth of one percent of the population control most of the available money. They have gobbled up most of the nations available funds. It is classic financial monopoly end game. There is one winner and everyone else loses.
    We need a new system of economics that provides equity and justice for all of the nation's people.
    Our government is intended to maintain equity and justice not kowtow to vested interests. Without government intervention, we will all be slaves to the few rich and powerful.
    What the "mega Rich" have is not a "Free Market"; it is a manipulated market in their favor.
    "Thought" has to be followed by meaningful response.

    Axiom: the law of functional reality is intended to create order from chaos.

    Recently there was a program featuring an inventor who said, "I try to see things as they could be, not as they are today."
    Posted by Bruce

    Posted by David
    I like to see it as, "I try to see things as they should be instead of how they are".
    Chinese "ye" Means seeing the best solution for the problem.
    There can be many solutions to problems but there is only one best solution. Some solutions cause the problem to become even more disastrous.
    Seeing things realistically is also necessary in order to find the best possible solution.
    Ignoring reality can be a fatal error.

    A lot of people are leaving the political parties because they want to think independently. What constitutes thought is an individual's weighing of concepts, placing yourself in the undecided category for a time to look at all sides of an issue. My personal grievance is that there are few new ideas, too much sarcasm (actually a hostile tone), and the political grudge match. Recently there was a program featuring an inventor who said, "I try to see things as they could be, not as they are today." He may have invented a fusion generation plant the size of a shoe box that could power a house or car. Think of all the wire in the US that won't be used if it works. He's not generating any deficits, or leading banks into oblivion for profit, scoff, their business will not exist after they retire. What can I say, it will be interesting how this all transpires. Desire to learn seams essential for good thinking.

    If I say that Jesus is already back, what do you think about? What that response is, will describe what you believe.
    Posted by: Betsy Whitfill

    Posted by David Eddy
    According to the Bible; Christ will come in all His Glory. Then again it says, He will come as a thief in the night. It is possible He is here at the present time but has not revealed Himself.
    Christ sent the Holy Spirit who is with us always as a source of comfort and understanding.
    When it comes to answers to questions, people often say what other people want to hear instead of the answer that reveals what they really believe.
    What is important is that what we think is consistent with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and that we are honest with our replies to questions. False witness is an offense to both God and human kind.
    People who are not kind are probably not Christians and do not understand what it means to be a Christian.

    DC Eddy writes: "It is hard to know what people believe."

    If I say that Jesus is already back, what do you think about? What that response is, will describe what you believe.

    People deceiving themselves seem to be a major factor in the present grievous state of affairs.

    Posted by: D. C. Eddy

    See, I think that they are just trying to deceive everyone else. They KNOW that they don't really "believe" - it's just good business - the "religion" biz...

    Funny you should bring up Saul/Paul - perfect example of how from the very beginning of "christianity", the man who clawed his way to the top POLITICIAL spot of the "new age" religion was not one of the Twelve who Jesus, himself, taught.

    You can't BELIEVE in both as TRUE - prophecy and free will.

    God gave us free will

    Man concocted prophecy


    Would you agree that the "leadership" of Christianity is NOT "christian" - meaning that they are "managing" the religion but don't actually BELIEVE in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man?
    Posted by: Anna D

    Posted by David C.
    It is hard to know what people believe. This is especially true when what they say and what they do is diametrically opposite to what they claim.
    It is possible they deceive themselves as well as other people.
    Saul before he became Paul thought he was doing God’s will. This was before he was convinced by a great revelation That Christ was who he claimed to be.
    People deceiving themselves seem to be a major factor in the present grievous state of affairs.

    In the mean time the Christians should be promoting good will not hate and discontent.

    Posted by: D. C. Eddy

    Not to be mean :-)

    But no one cares about your Vegas bet on when the second coming is going to happen - you can't blackmail Jesus to come sooner - "....we're going to destroy ourselves unless you come back and solve all the problems I made for myself through stupidity and meaness..."

    "Christians" have NEVER been in leadership positions since Jesus.

    Would you agree that the "leadership" of Christianity is NOT "christian" - meaning that they are "managing" the religion but don't actually BELIEVE in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man?

    Allergy to thought? Yes I totally agree otherwise things like Republicans complaining about 15 recess appointments when Bush 2 made 170 during his reign is ridiculous. And still 62 appointments remain unfilled.
    In the media world all too often the effort is to over emphasize balancing the arguments as being more important than getting the truth, or assisting the voters by challenging almost outright lies like "death panels," That went on even after it was classed as "Pants on fire" after an independent review agency labelled it as such. and still blogs were accepted claiming its truth were posted.. what moderation?? or? allergy to thought.
    There are Organisations pushing back against Sound biting and sloganeering, but my disappointment is that this function used to executed quite well by good reporters in Daily newspapers. But today breaking news seconds after the event leads to thin reporting of the sensational that often turns out to be over dramatisation. What happens then at least for me is another form of "allergy to thought" I hate the speculative and over dramatisation tendency of early reporting of TV these days especially 24 hour news programs, and tend to switch it off until more coherent an logical assessments can be made a few hours later.

    As bad as some cable bloviators are as "faux" journalists the faux preachers are WORSE.
    Suggestion to all is to read up on the era of Teutonic terrorism...
    Posted by: Anna D

    Posted by David C.
    It is unbelievable that the Christian religion went from the "love of God" to the love of self, self-destruct and mean spiritedness.
    The devil is in the tempest and his advocates are suedo-Christian leaders.
    It is my contention that it will be another thousand years before Christ returns. In the mean time the Christians should be promoting good will not hate and discontent.

    Dwight Arant wrote, ini part, "In my opinion, if the population is shifting to a mentality that accepts opinions, fiction and outrageous commentary as facts, then the government must take note of how this situation may be exploited by businesses that desire to take down the government. It is a very dangerous thing."

    Nice post, thanks for taking the time to add to the conversation...

    For your consideration is the FACT that the sedition is not just cruising along on opinion, fiction and outrageous commentary.

    It's WORSE than opinion, fiction and outrageous commentary - it's biblical "interpretations" of "prophets" - the SELF-FULL-FILLING END TIMES PROPHECY!!

    THAT is completely unacceptable.

    As bad as some cable bloviators are as "faux" journalists

    the faux preachers are WORSE.

    Suggestion to all is to read up on the era of Teutonic terrorism...

    It is a dangerous thing when opinions become fact. I ask myself, what is the goal of large scale faux journalism? If the goal of faux journalism is to create chaos and eliminate America’s ability to be intelligently governed (and make money in the process), then faux journalism might be a threat to national security. If a faux news business operating on government owned airwaves and/or under government regulations intentionally disseminates antigovernment misinformation and propaganda 24/7, and the misinformation and propaganda are skillfully designed and delivered to foment civil disobedience and render the nation ungovernable: Is this not, by law, worthy of a investigation into possible sedition? Sedition is a serious crime, and recent events indicate that intentional dissemination of misinformation is creating a movement to overthrow the U.S. government. There is no constitutional protection for sedition. It is probably the case that faux journalism and professional wrestling have a common audience, however, unlike faux journalism, professional wrestling is not a threat to national security. In my opinion, if the population is shifting to a mentality that accepts opinions, fiction and outrageous commentary as facts, then the government must take note of how this situation may be exploited by businesses that desire to take down the government. It is a very dangerous thing.

    In one of my earlier posts, I had mentioned my skepticism for this healthcare bill. I was worried about it not having a public option; could the mandate filter into the middle class; and what about the 15,000,000 people who will remain without healthcare. Well today while I was channel surfing, I caught Ed Schultz's interview with Senator Wyden of the great state of Oregon. They were talking about my first two concerns:

    BIG EDDIE: Ok, I believe that’s section 13-32 of the senate reconciliation bill that says that the mandate can be turned into an option of what the states want to do. Is that correct?

    SENATOR WYDEN: That -- that is correct, that’s why I say to these attorney general[s], why don’t you work with us to innovate rather than litigate? They’re always talking about states rights -- we’re empowering the states. The counsel for the senate -- the senate finance committee gave them the freedom.

    BIG EDDIE: Ok so Senator, what you’re saying is technically there is no mandate, the states are going to have to choose to do that?

    SENATOR WYDEN: What the legal council said in response to my question specifically Ed is under this particular state option. If a state can show that they are meeting the minimum requirements in the bill, they do not have to have an individual mandate.

    And I’m telling viewers, particularly progressives around the country, you can go to your state legislature, you can go to your governor, and say under that provision you want your state to put a public option in place to hold insurance companies accountable.

    Now don’t get me wrong, Senator Wyden is one of my favorite senators, but this interview didn’t tell me much. As for the public option, Congress has not only passed the bill, but they have also passed the buck. Since too many of them have ties to the insurance companies, they have now pushed this fight onto our state governments. This is probably the down side for the insurance companies, because now they have to spend a lot of the extra money that they will get from all these extra customers on bribing more and more state officials. But look at the bright side; they can’t buy all 50 states -- can they?

    And for Senator Wyden’s response to the mandate, we now know that he hasn’t read this portion of the bill, or maybe he has but he couldn’t comprehend the spaghetti script. I’ll bet this is the case for over 50% of the Democrat in the senate. As for the “minimum requirements,” I wonder what this entitles. I wonder if California and some other states are already unable to meet these minimum requirements. I need more detailed info before I’ll stop worrying about this mandate. But if worst comes to worst, this will be a perfect excuse for President Jeb to step up and happily fix it for us. (Oh, did I say fix?)

    Also, I’ll give anyone 10 to 1 odds for a 100 that either Baucus or Fowler will be working for the insurance industry within the next 5 years, and I get the 1,000 if they both are. Any takers? This has Gramm written all over it (but wait, he’s a Republican).

    To the religious right: I do not believe in your cause and I do not believe you are religious, not much separates the religious right from the Taliban who both want to shove there beliefs on us. To be part of the American religious right you must believe in torture ( water boarding ect ) mass murder ( illegal wars )kidnapping ( the CIA was tried and convicted in France for kidnapping and sending people to a third country for torture. and the hubris five percent that lie steal and cheat in order to have ninety five percent of the wealth in this country.
    I have been a Republican for over fifty years and am very sad I missed the funeral of the true Republican Party.

    "Do Americans Suffer From an 'Allergy to Thought?

    Definitely not. They think a lot but many of their thoughts are not worth thinking because as thoughts go, they are all based on one's awareness. This means cloudy awareness will produce cloudy thoughts and no awareness will produce any thoughts, at least not worth while thoughts. So it is not the thoughts that Americans are immune to; it is the ideas for these with their limited awareness go by the wayside, often dying on the vine leaving the world poorer in the process. What we need now are ideas and a commitment that we will not let any idea go by without at least looking into it. A while back I heard a definition of creative people which goes something like this:
    If we put a number of people in a classroom setting and give them a problem to work on and also tell them to share with the group what ever solution they may come up with no matter how incomplete or preliminary it may be and then watch the group's reaction. You will be able to immediately divide the group into two subgroups. The one will say rather loudly “oh this does not help at all" while the other groups, generally consisting of a smaller number will say: "Let us see how this information helps us with the problem at hand." There will be few of them but these are the creative ones. Oh how I long to find more of this kind of people. Our disease of today is the smothering of ideas without even looking at them.
    At this point as a way to honor Bill Moyer could we pledge that we will strive to be more and more in the group which will look at any idea, mull it over and find some value or no value in it before knowingly discarding it or rather putting it on the back burner till more information may make it to be the missing link. Scientists may not like this, even though I am scientist, but most discoveries are made via serendipity not scientific methodology. We need to forever plant and nurture an idea garden in our soul and psyche. And if we elect to listen to ideas instead of rejecting them, may be we will have the beginning of world peace.

    You know it's over when the Russian Mob shakes its head in disbelief at what "law and order" looks like when sociopaths take over "health care".

    Some man is calling Grandma, who just turned 90, at the nursing home and telling her they need more money or they will kick her out in the street. Basically, Medicare supposedly refused to pay because she had a house, but now the amount they refused to pay to the nursing home is greater than what the house sold for...and I have a suspicion that the man who is hot on Grandma's case is typical of what the REAL deal is with the 90,000 imbedded government employees who USE every single bit of appartchik "power" to directly take Grandma's money into HIS pocket - period.

    That is what FOR PROFIT health care IS.

    Getting a "job" within the structure to lend legitimacy to the THEFT of a 90 year old woman who survived ground zero of WWII on the Poland Russian border to arrive in USA, work in a ruthless factory for 20 years making electrical outlets for homes, after retirement, paying $450 a month for 25 years for barely used health "insurance", only to end up in her current position in USA where some psycho has a job that gives him the power to try and pocket 40K in a deal with his buddy embedded in Medicare/Medicaid.

    What in the hell is wrong with you Moyers? Didn’t you get the memo? The liberal media has determined that this healthcare bill is now change we can believe in, so get off your ass and get with the program. Oh wait…just a sec -- ok, sorry Moyers, my bad. What in the hell is wrong with you MSNBC? Didn’t you suckups see the President’s speech on Saturday? Here you are still slobbering all over this change we can believe in bull sheet, when tres days ago Obama changed his slogan to this Lincoln quote:

    I am not bound to win, but I'm bound to be true.
    He said this about 5 or 6 times, so I can’t see how you guys could have totally missed it. It was his theme for keyriced sake. (If I had known 2 years ago that Obama was a self proclaimed loser, I’d have voted for Hillary.)

    What has happened to the MSNBC progressives? It looks like they have bills to pay too. About a month ago they were all in unison while tearing into this lame ass healthcare bill, but then it was like someone had flipped the Obama-lawn-chair switch and they all folded. They even had dailykos’ Kos acting like a media whore (hope he gets to be a regular, he’s earned it). Folding is something that we have come to expect from our politicians (like Pelosi with the public option, and even three years ago with ending the war), but not from the folks we invite into our homes each night (where’s that damn remote (look, I just did the same thing that they had done with Kucinich)).

    I think this bill turn south – with a Cadillac/Ford mandate and no public option – about the same time that Moyers had pointed out Liz Fowler to us? If MSNBC was truly progressive, they’d had been threatening a corporate sellout like Baucus, and not a patriot like Kucinich.

    Since this bill will immediately help millions of kids – which is a great thing – it will probably help the Democrats in November too, but what will save them when the penalties kick in? (Oh yeah, Obama will have been reelected by then) And is this mandate loophole-proof to where a household making less than $200,000 won’t be taxed?

    Also, boy am I glad that I’m not one of the 15,000,000 -- (can you count to 15,000,000 by ones, go ahead, I’ll wait) – boy am I glad I’m not one of the 15,000,000 people that this bill has forgotten.

    Let’s face it, our progressive media folded to the political conservaDems. So, is this what we can expect in the future? I can hardly wait for their spin on Dodd’s CDS loophole laden, sweeping finance reform bill.

    Three cheers for “He is bound to lose” -- hip-hip, hip-hip, hip-hip (What MSNBC? no hurrays).

    Posted in part by David
    "There may be a way of partitioning for a citizen vote to empower all of the people to vote on all issues and that their vote would be the deciding factor on issues. It would then be necessary for legislators to make sure the actions generated were consistent with the desire of the voters.
    It must be made clear that the legislators work for the voters not the bribers."
    I agree with you. I would go a step further "not may be a way", but must be a way.

    "Look, this mess is all about the $$$...
    The Federal Reserve Board is NOT,
    I repeat, NOT
    "for the people" and your constitutional amendment does not protect
    the PEOPLE
    from the Federal Reserve Board...
    Posted by: Anna D "
    I received "The Constitutional Amendment" that your read in an E-mail! Never the less it is an ISSUE, sames as are the issues about "JOBS, WARS, LAWS, ECONOMY, HEALTHCARE, ENVOIRENMENT, FEDERRAL RESERVE BOARD, CONTAMENATING PURE WATER, etc."
    Yes, you are right, "the constitutional amendment does not protect the PEOPLE from the Federal Reserve Board..." It also does not protect people from the legalized fraud under Chapter 11 bankruptcy Act, Local Government Unit Debt Act, It does not protect from Eviction, Confiscation, hunger etc.
    The propose amendment is, one of many ISSUES,
    "to serve the needs and desires" of ALL the PEOPLE the "CONSTITUTION must be AMENDED" to EMPOWER ALL the PEOPLE to EXPRESS "THEIR WILL on ALL ISSUES!"

    * "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the
    United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or
    Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the
    Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the
    citizens of the United States "."
    Though this is one of many ISSUES "to serve the needs and desires"

    Posted by: Chris

    Look, this mess is all about the $$$...

    The Federal Researve Board is NOT,

    I repeat, NOT

    "for the people" and your constitutional amendment does not protect

    the PEOPLE

    from the Federal Researve Board...

    Though this is one of many ISSUES "to serve the needs and desires"
    Posted by: Chris

    Posted by David
    There may be a way of partitioning for a citizen vote to empower all of the people to vote on all issues and that their vote would be the deciding factor on issues. It would then be necessary for legislators to make sure the actions generated were consistent with the desire of the voters.
    It must be made clear that the legislators work for the voters not the bribers.
    The airways and cyberspace belong to the voters and should provide free coverage for elections.
    It is necessary to stop free giveaways to corporations and make them responsible citizens. It also needs to be against the law to make false statements and broadcast unfounded assertions that cause falsely justified violence.
    It takes full time diligence to support a democratic society. We need a responsive government that does what is right for all of its citizens.

    Posted in part by: D. C. Eddy
    "The tricky part is having a value system that assures trust, fidelity, equity and justice that is dynamic and can adjust to needs and desires."
    To "adjust to the needs and desires" I received this E-Mail,
    "*Subject:* An idea whose time has come?

    For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress.
    Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the
    same pay after only one term, that they didn't pay into Social Security,
    that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they
    have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual
    harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The
    latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform that is being all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical.
    We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don't care if
    they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving
    must stop. This is a good way to do that. It is an idea whose time has

    Have each person contact a _minimum_ of Twenty people on their Address
    list, in turn ask each of those to do likewise..
    In three days, most people in The United States of America will
    have the message. This is one proposal that really should be passed
    * Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution**:
    * "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the
    United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or
    Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the
    Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the
    citizens of the United States "."
    Though this is one of many ISSUES "to serve the needs and desires"

    Professors are seeking customers for their courses, not the excitement of excellence.
    Posted by: Ella

    Posted by David
    Right! It is all about buying and selling with no consideration for excellence...
    There is a hardcore lack of consideration for what a waste of resources is and what is a worthwhile investment.
    We need to teach people how to fish instead of how to corrupt the environment and other people's lives.
    There are things to know in order to arrive at excellence. Economics is one of the most important elements of social organization. It is not a religion; it is an important method of making possible the exchange of goods and services. People's lives depend on available funds to support their life and their lifestyle. Charity is neither kind nor dependable. In a capitalistic system, without sufficient funds people are forced into slavery.
    Economics is not complicated; it is just a matter of having sufficient funds to convert resources into a flow of goods and services.
    The tricky part is having a value system that assures trust, fidelity, equity and justice that is dynamic and can adjust to needs and desires.
    A flexible and as required market must be regulated to avoid manipulation, greed and divisiveness.
    Values must be based on human needs first and then on quality life experiences.
    The present monopoly game/gamble type economic policy is the way to self-destruct for any society.
    What is required is an efficient, intelligent and compassionate economic system/method of accomplishment (Modus operandi) that promotes excellence in all good things.

    What a truly wonderful discussion with Dr. Sexton. I am in my 60s; I have returned to college since completing my post-graduate work in the 60s. I am amazed at the indifferent stance of professors in the face of sophomoric, short-sighted thinking of their students in literature and psychology. If the purpose of a liberal arts education is to be able to discern that one idea is better for the good of all than another, then the current polling stance by professors is more than dismaying. The voltage meter of excellence of ideas has been abandoned for the melting pot of mediocrity and consensus. Professors are seeking customers for their courses, not the excitement of excellence.

    Anna D 3-16 9:33pm Geithner, Summers, & Bernanke proved themselves failures, yet, Obama embraces them.
    Reminds me of Bush's, "Atta-boy Brownie."

    Brooksley BORN is a true American Hero, yet, Greenspan got the highest civilian medal from Bush, yet, Alan admitted (later) that his models used for 40 yrs. were "wrong"!
    Recall Greenspan's medal!

    It seems unnoticed that the DNC & Obama deemed Florida primary votes could not count, yet, many seem surprised at the backroom deals the democrats are up to, (Rip-ya-off-plicans are "NO" better!)

    The Congressional SENIORITY System is an end-run around the Constitution, yet, it seems to go unnoticed.

    Anna D., enjoyed your wit & contributuins (mostly at least).

    Billy Bob Florida

    Your interview with President Sexton delighted me. The echo of it has been with me all this week.

    I think that we do suffer from “an allergy to thought”. I have been away from university life for a long time, even though I live near two large state universities in Baton Rouge and lived for several years next to two universities in New Orleans.

    Forty plus years ago at the University of Georgia, I enjoyed professors, students, and others, especially campus chaplains, who did nurture open and nuanced debate—often successfully during a troubled decade. But that was indeed a long time ago. I saw Athens, Georgia become more open.

    I think some people in Baton Rouge struggle to nurture an open society. I think that is hard to do here. But there are individual heroes.

    Okay, how about a pop quiz?

    Name all the APPOINTED political players in Washington that admitted on record something along the lines of,

    "...Government has failed you and you have the right to be mad...."

    And question #2 - what kind of psycho would say such a thing and consider that to be enough in the way of "cake"...?

    The most important requirement is to eschew moralism: it serves no useful purpose to condemn (or praise) professsors for their civic apathy, since doing so is merely to default to empty rhetoric. To be relevant, criticism must encompass the structural/historical role of higher ed, which Veblen, more than a century ago, correctly understood to be a pillar of, rather than a challenge to, mainstream society. The business dimension of academe, very clearly grasped by Veblen, but temporarily obscured by the postwar emphasis on liberal arts, has now reasserted itself; academic life has now been thoroughly assimilated into corporate - dominated society which it vocally but only fleetingly challenged during the Vietnam - era Time of Troubles. There is thus no mystery about professorial docility, which simply constitues a return to a long - standing status quo, albeit one now systematically institutionalized to an unprecedented degree.

    oh, excuse me :-)
    Posted by Anna D.

    Posted by David C.
    Cough-cough Choke-choke.
    Pardon wa, (:-)>

    Right, cause and effect is just as real as meat and potatoes.

    Some times you get my "dander up" but I do appreciate your exceptional ability to make a point that is "right on".

    Anne Linn defends the universities but does not realize that because of the sixties the universities have gone conservative. They have joined the yuppie crowd and the "no" generation that is pumping out sociopathic morons who do not understand the value of anything only the cost. They are full of information but do not understand the implications of that knowledge. They do not consider what the effect of the cause will be.

    Everyone is abusing the language to make their point. Instead of sharing information; people are creating conflict that prevents the solutions to problems.
    United we stand; divided we are "flat on our back". My dad was a pessimistic optimist. He would say, "Things are looking up; they are flat on their back".

    Sure David. They are all about the $$. You have to sift though that crap to mine a few gems...if any.

    Anyway, lets talk about something that will affect al of us. As our time is short here, as Mr. Moyers will be gone next month.

    I did not know about all these SHTF scenarios back in '01 when we bought this place. While we have a little land (1/2 acre) It is not nearly enough to do proper preps. Not rich enough to move either. So i thought about expanding my land through neighbors

    I asked a neighbor if he wanted some free fruit trees planted and we can split the fruit. He said yea. So will be able to expand some 5 or 6 trees more. Am thinking about asking neighbors on the other side of me too.

    Will have just under 40 fruit trees with this neighbors additional trees as well as 6 fig trees grown in containers. Would like to get it up to 60 in-ground fruit trees if I had the space.

    While this is not the best option for growing food, it is a good plan B. Also possible with chickens and rabbits too!

    And here is an option for you guys really low on land...

    To all you non food growers...hoarding food is not the same as being able to produce food.

    Growing food is essential to living in a post carbon world. So I would suggest anyone interested in survival seriously learn to grow and raise their own food as well as be master foragers if your local is conducive for foraging.

    The time to start learning how to grow food was yesterday and the longer you wait the more behind you are.

    Take growing fruit trees for instance - they take a few years to get established and produce some meaningful fruit. But many problems can occur during that time and the trees may have to be replaced before established which will add more time to the equation. And to top it off, many fruit trees are biennials...they produce fruit every other year! But if your just getting started you wont know this for a few years will you?

    Even with vegetable gardening it may take a couple of seasons to learn the basics and produce quality and meaningful amounts of food to 'try' and live on.

    And I can tell you from experience, it is hard to live just on what you grow...especially if you live in the cold zones of the US where you have to grow in short seasons.

    Panic is for those not prepared. We develop self confidence by mastering the skills needed to overcome any situation that arises to threaten our life

    You still have some valuable time left to prepare for what awaits you down the road.

    We are in the 'Indian Summer' of a carbon based world. Don't wait until the winter sets in to start work on your preparedness efforts....Semper Paratus

    Here are few garden books to get you started:

    Crockett's Victory Garden

    The Self-sufficient Suburban Garden / BTW, Jeff Ball has many excellent DVD's on growing food, get em at your lib.

    Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times

    Country Wisdom & Know-how

    Farming for Self-sufficiency

    Four-Season Harvest

    Backyard fruits and Berries

    Successful Berry Growing

    Growing Uncommon fruits

    Vegetable Growers Handbook

    Backyard Orchardist

    Seed to Seed

    Pruning and Training

    Secrets of Plant Propagation

    Encyclopedia of Gardening

    Backyard Food Production DVD

    People Places and Plants DVD series. (A mix of flowers, trees and food. Got to dig through the 5 DVD's for the food production info.)

    You still have some valuable time left to prepare for what awaits you down the road.

    We are in the 'Indian Summer' of a carbon based world. Don't wait until the winter sets in to start work on your preparedness efforts....Semper Paratus

    Have you heard the news about FoxNews? It’s great news for people allergic to thought dander.

    FoxNews is the number one brainwashing medicine. And it is now available without a prescription, but at full prescription strength.

    FoxNews is clinically proven to cure even your worst thought symptoms. From gun control and peace to prochoice and pub[l]ic option, now you are freer to regurgitate simple catch phrases.

    FoxNews, when intelligence is not an option.

    Available in tube and now in flat screen.

    IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Some people have had changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and murder-suicidal thoughts or actions while watching or just after watching FoxNews. Should you develop any, or all, of these symptoms, immediate local tea party intervention is suggested. In rare cases, if thought dander persist, a Limbaugh lobotomy may be required (results may vary).

    Ask FoxNews if FoxNews is right for you.

    Bill, I am not suprised that an academic alwys proposes an academic solution to everything.
    " Sexton suggested that America increasingly exhibits what he calls an "allergy to thought" and that universities are the key to restoring nuance to public discourse:".

    I think he needs to shed his cloistered academic environment and begin to understand that there is a lot of discourse on the streets already, its jut that nobody is listening. People near and at the bottom understand the caste system they live in much better than those who are prospering from it, who like to think that their success is the result of equal opportunity and their own personalindustry and talent. The people at or mear the bottom understand that much of what they hear is just rhetoric, when thier own personal lives are full of the reality of limited opportunity, unequal education and opportunities, poorer diets, limited access to the tools of success.

    Nice post, Anne Linn, just one teensy English thingy - instead of "whose", it is "who is" and the contraction is "who's".

    Rachel Maddow interviewing Timmy Geithner today and acting all touchy feely is INSULTING...Timmy is a tax cheat...guess the IRS is feeding him the data that the new gang in D.C. finally have theirs by getting EVERYTHING, and I do mean EVERYTHING that was HONESTLY earned by over 18% of people in their 50s sucked up into their pockets.

    Talking about this TODAY

    after 2 years of KEEPING IT HAPPENING

    is beyond hubris...

    "Just War" coming out of Timmy's mouth just firmed my resolve, as it does with each word out of their iniquitous mouths for 80% of the USA population if anyone is still listening to all that "subtley" in "thinking".

    I'm making sure everyone KNOWS about Brooksley Born. Maddow deserves to just serve cocktalis to Born.

    1. Yes, there is an "allergy of thought" in that our commonalities are seldom stressed (usually just in jingoistic support of wars), and our differences are reiterated over and over again by politicians and the media. The "melting pot" used to be an acclaimed and appreciate description of our population. Now we hear more about how various segments should be taxed (cigerette smokers), punished (illegal immigrants and their employers), shunned (lawyers who represent "terrorists", folks with an Islamic background) or just generally disowned as not being "American" enough (liberals, University presidents and open-minded folks in general who question the status quo). So as we fragment into whose right and whose wrong, the U.S. gets weaker and weaker economically and politically because we cannot effectively communicate nor cooperate to get things done.

    2. Open-minded universities which challenge their students to think are and always have been the enemies of the smug, the self-certain, the hypocrite, the greedy and the meglomaniac). Universities seek the truth, through science and intellectual debate. All despots try to destroy or reduce these institutions.

    3. There are some brave folks such as Bill Moyers, Paul Krugman, even Rachel Maddox who are not afraid to question what everyone else is ranting about, the take a look at the top layers and see the rot, and put their reputations on the line to bring out the debate for truth. Institutions do this by supporting these individuals and those intellectually trained such as John Sexton. I loved his quote about the power of working through institutions to find immortality. He is so right. Let's hope most of our institutions are working for the common good.

    Bravo Bill for another excellent show.


    oh, excuse me :-)

    Hey, D.C., we DO agree often enough on correctly identifying the ORIGIN of the problem. Speculating about the symptoms of the problem is nuts.

    Censorship in USA reaches its operatic heights in the "higher" education institutions. And it is the opposite of "subtle".

    Is the goal of education to teach people how to exploit human weakness and imperfection, including their own, to maximum SELFISH benefit - AKA "getting rich"...?!

    Two flocks of POWER seekers:

    1. Seeking POWER over the free will of others

    2. Seeking POWER to cure, create, to build, to eliminate injustice and poverty, etc.

    If colleges and universities are studying the history of Hitler and Stalin in order to perfect the strategies of tyranny (flock #1), then that is not "prophecy" is it?

    "...such a life on such a planet..."

    DCEddy wrote, "Personally, I think the universities are the problem not the solution.

    The universities no longer want students to think for themselves; they want them to regurgitate what they have been taught with no questions asked.
    I was at the University of Washington at a Philosophy colloquium and the only people allowed to ask the speaker questions was the staff professors with one exception and he was selected by the Department Head.

    Instead of giving the students the tools to figure things out for themselves; they pump them full off predetermined assertions. Many of these assertions are not founded on reality. When the students get into the real world they do not have the necessary information to make good decisions.
    We are becoming the victims of institutional incompetence and wrong assumptions.
    Instead of the land of the brave we have become the land of the gullible.
    Hitler would be pleased that his prophecy came true.

    Posted by: D. C. Eddy

    It's nice to know that in the sea of pornography that television had become, there is a quiet little island of insight provided by Bill Moyers.

    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

    - How fortunate for leaders that men do not think. (Hitler)
    Posted by C. Ikehara

    I think universities are the last, best hope for pushing back against this because what we do is complexity and nuance."

    Taking the you out of education...

    Posted by D. Eddy
    Personally, I think the universities are the problem not the solution.

    The universities no longer want students to think for themselves; they want them to regurgitate what they have been taught with no questions asked.
    I was at the University of Washington at a Philosophy colloquium and the only people allowed to ask the speaker questions was the staff professors with one exception and he was selected by the Department Head.

    Instead of giving the students the tools to figure things out for themselves; they pump them full off predetermined assertions. Many of these assertions are not founded on reality. When the students get into the real world they do not have the necessary information to make good decisions.
    We are becoming the victims of institutional incompetence and wrong assumptions.
    Instead of the land of the brave we have become the land of the gullible.
    Hitler would be pleased that his prophecy came true.

    # Does American society suffer from "an allergy to thought?"

    To a degree, yes. I don't think it's intentional but much of human thought, or American thought, if you will, has been influenced so heavily by our fragmented culture. You have rich states. You have poor states. You have educated and you have uneducated. You Harvard educated and you have city college educated. This is not intrinsic solely to the United States but what makes Americans allergic to thought is how easily politicians can take advantage of this inequality in class and education. Americans succumb to their own viewpoint and fight passionately for it. I know this because I'm one of them. It's difficult for me to associate with any so-called "conservative" or for that matter, a republican. I can't stand the thought of dialoguing politics with a republican since the cornerstone of the republican party is that government is bad and the source of all our country's ills. Matter of fact, how do you have a conversation with a political party whose philosophy is to bash democratic government and is never in favor of actually rethinking how best government can be used and yes, even expanded, to work on behalf of the public good? I'm digressing. But I think this allergy to thought is valid and we see examples of it all the time, for example, the current spotlight on Sarah Palin. She's a woman who is extremely deficient in her intellectual development and she's lauded for it. Worse, you have millions of "soccer moms" who identify with her. And what does that say about the United States? What contributes to an allergy to thought is the inequality in our culture's schooling and education. People who aren't schooled in the ways of dialoguing and holding a conversation with different points of view. It's ironic that Obama chose to describe the United States as "united" when in truth, this so-called "united" country of ours is disunited and fragmented. The ability to work as a collective is America's greatest deficit and it's never been able to overcome it because of the hostility towards government that continues to be bred in our culture.

    # Do you believe that America's universities encourage open and nuanced debate on the issues of our time? Explain.

    How can anyone speak but to their academic experience? I attended Macalester College in St. Paul, University. Did it encourage open and nuanced debate? Yes, if my memory serves. I recall debates on campus and different points of view being expressed. Is it the same on every college/university campus? Where are the different points of view at Oral Roberts university? America's universities are being starved to death and also cater only to the most financially well-off, endowment or not endowment. I'm fed up with Harvard and Yale limiting its academic offerings to the few and believe all institutions of higher learning must open their doors to the masses. We need Harvards and Yales and Princeton's that are similar in scope, size and availability to the public at large, similar to the Sorbonne in France. Our education system is so fragmented. It just doesn't help build a society that values democratic thought. Instead we get an allergy to thought.

    Do Americans suffer from an allergy to thought? No...they're just not so slowly dying from a thirst for Truth. In fact, they are hungry for information that will deliver them from the stupor they are in following years of deception by government, the media, and especially spin-meisters like Mr. Sexton.

    Bill Moyers certainly is one person who knows the penalties for getting too close to the truth in our society....he was off the air for years after 2001.

    No...what Mr. Sexton needs to realize is that there actually are people in this country who can see beyond the words crafted carefully to divert attention from those things that are truly important to people in this world. For example, Mr. Sexton, when you correctly suggested that Americans today don't trust "their neighbors, much less the government" you immediately went into a rant to explain that the biggest "structural problem in government today is (drum roll, please...) Gerrymandering." Are you kidding me?

    Were you asleep in 2001? You live in NYC for God's sake, and you witnessed the disaster of 911 from a front row seat, and you think that Gerrymandering is the problem with America today? Who are you trying to fool?

    No, American's aren't tired of thinking, discussing or conversing about "Ideas" that have merit. On the contrary, they are just stick and tired of being lied to about the most fundamental aspects of our history. They are tired of being lied to about what really happened in 2001, and they are tired of being lied to about where all their money went to finance wars that had no reason, and bankers that had no morals.

    If you want to talk about education, let's start by telling the truth. And if we don't know the truth, then let's try to have a discourse about how to find it. For example, next time someone tries to tell the truth about what happened to the WTC buildings, let's not kick that guy out of academia. Next time someone tries to defend his honor by denying that he had anything to do with the Anthrax attacks, let's not kick him out of his position and then force him to drag the US govt to the court system to finally win millions of Dollars after his career in Academia was ruined by lies.

    Let's fight for justice in America and realize that everyone (including an accused terrorist) deserves a fair trial...including Jesuits who fail to deliver on their promise of honesty in education in America (among other things)

    Mr. Moyers, I love your show. You are a shining light. Please don't go away.

    This is your opportunity, friends, to stand with the founding fathers of this great country. Those brave men who signed the declaration of independence put their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor on the line. We must stand with them today and abolish the tyranny of corporations.

    What we have here is taxation without representation! No true benefit to human citizens can issue from any government controlled by corporate interests.

    The litmus test for any candidate should be if they will vote for a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood. Any legislation to restrict corporate influence on our elections, short of a constitutional amendment, can and will be adjudicated away.

    State legislators must agree to ratify. There are only a handful of congressmen and women who represent real people. Anyone who will not unequivocally agree to vote for a constitutional amendment, doesn't represent you.

    Posted by: charles : "Bill, don't go away. There is no substitute. I'm depressed."
    Yes Charles, Mr. Moyers is the last of the dinosaurs when it comes to fair journalism. This is the 'suffering of impermanence' that our Buddhist friends tell us about.

    But take heart Charles, for things can and most likely will get much worse for us than Mr. Moyers retiring.

    So what can be done with this news?

    Restructure your life to meet the demands of an uncertain future is he firstt hing that comes to mind.

    Here are some news sites for keeping track with what is going on...

    Food related news sites

    Some SHTF forums for your perusal....

    "Do Americans Suffer From an 'Allergy to Thought?'"

    No. They are enjoying every stupid minute of it.

    Excellent, please send this to my email address; I don't know how to do it and am too old to learn! blessings on your excellent interviews. sincerely, ruth

    Your show with John Sexton is symbolic of Just how fast deep thought runs through a shallow stream. I appreciate you having him as a guest. His teaching "Baseball as a path to God" was uplifting. It reminded me of my own experience with my youngest son--who had his heart set on being a pro player only to be disappointed. Whenever he was a boy I taught him the basics of the game and he lived baseball and was very good. our family divided through divorce. I could no longer coach him but he continued to play and he made it to the state finals as a teenager. He pitched the championship game againist a rival nieghboring town and lost. I went to this game to watch him though I was unwelcome, I witnessed something, the umpire behind the plate kept changing shoulders which moved the strike zone--no one else noticed or if they did they kept silent as well as myself. After my son became a grown man I explained to him what had happened--he realized something then. The opposing rival team had wealthy influence--it was through this sublime nuance of officiating that my son was cheated.
    I also explained to him that to some extent those same influences had been being acted on in my own life which had contributed to the fractured and fragmented relationship we shared and that to have expressed opposition would have only been dismissed as just more folly from a dimwit such as myself.
    The old addage --"It doesn't matter if you win or lose but how you play the game" needs to be revised.It does matter.
    Your program once again was not broadcast locally here I had to catch it on the web--thanks for hangin tough

    Bill, don't go away. There is no substitute. I'm depressed.

    As for the allergy of thought- people will think and say what they want. This is democracy after all.

    With respect to making real progress, however, we really do need to assess the systemic obstacles to a more perfect union.

    Or else, we will continue to make real policy, one crises at a time.

    I believe that the life of the mind continues
    throughout life and is a personal responsibility.
    John Sexton's references all seem to be male including baseball as a path to God leaving females as passive observers and worshipers from afar.
    I find the path of the spirit through art,
    nature and culture and that these are inclusive and accessible to everyone. Women often reference male authors and thinkers but I find it rare to see men opening to female thought.
    Thankyou Bill for presenting so many people who have unflinchingly sought to find the truth, and if it's true that you're leaving I'll miss you terribly.

    John Sexton spoke about a "vertical and horizontal concentration of wealth that is untenable over the long term and should be untenable."

    Your response should have been, "What is your salary as the President of NYU and what is the salary of the lowest paid employee?" When he hemmed and hawed (as he was sure to do), you should have asked, either "So as the salary setter at your institution, you're the problem?" or "Is that low-paid worker's salary reasonable?"

    Great commentary. Check out the Lewis Powell memorandum and start to dissect the systematic efforts to make Americans "allergic to thought",_Jr.

    Yes Universities play a part, but not when private trustees can pressure to steer scholarship a certain way the benefits their own best interests. The stacking of econ, poly sci, soc departments with "correct thinking" to teach imbalanced economic thought to decades of undergraduates, MBAs, and JDs to push a "regressive taxation" line is evidence enough.

    Sexton needs to examine the regs around campaign finance, "political speech" in 501c3s, and use of FCC licenses by concentrated corporate owners to advance their political and consumption agenda in order to get to the bottom of his quest on why Americans' arent' thinking much today. It works very well this way for brand advertisers and military contractors. Notice WSJ columnist blames professors for incidents, not administrations, nor self-interested trustees or donors who decide who gets the chair money. That is like blaming journalist hacks for the demise of news and public engagement in this country, leaving the controlling shareholders, their CEOs, and their Boards who make all the hiring firing news coverage decisions still hidden well in the shadows and off the hook! There is also an atmosphere where Alumni think they have a right to tell the Admin what to do, and pressure scholars. Campus Watch is one example of this, breeding intolerance for free flowing thought if it doesn't play well for vested interests with military agendas.

    I don't like seeing such naive and poorly executed statements from academic people on tax-exempt payrolls like Sexton's making here. Clearly, shows no whole system thinking or willingness to be frank about what has really happened at our universities the last 30 yrs. The fact of concentrated wealth and destruction of the middle-class over that time, shows very clearly who really are the beneficiaries to all this tax-exempt money to universities.

    Does American society suffer from "an allergy to thought?" Why or why not?

    I don't think so. But.. if I follow Mr. Sexton's advice, I must think again.

    I am troubled by the shallowness of thought in America, but I don't think it is an allergy to thought. It may be just laziness or advertising, or brainwashing by the 2% or 5% of the wealthy. Greed, power and manipulation is part of the equation to keep people ignorant.

    Beliefs, whether religious in terms of being catholic, etc. or belief in baseball or hockey, have nothing to do with the pursuit of real thought. It is only a synectic technique employed by Mr. Sexton to heighten the intellectual capacity of his students.

    After all, about 73% of the universe is made up of dark matter, and 23% dark energy and we don't have a clue what any of this stuff is. Atoms, matter and galaxies are only 4% of everything in the universe, so we really do not know very much. We should stop focussing on religions, war, etc. and start really evolving as a species. Let's make the world a better place with less people and less poverty.

    I would agree that we need to break out of our comfort zone and start thinking more deeply about why we are here. More important is thinking about what we can do as an individual.

    We have to evolve - and dialogue is good. Too bad Mr. Moyer's program is going to end. I like the civil discussions and the 'thinking' it creates for Americans.

    Yes, I believe this is true. We as a society are increasingly into sound bites and shallow surface ideas/fact/expressions. One of the main culprits that has brought this about -- despite all its benefits -- is the internet and services like Twitter, the idea of updates, microblogging, ... i feel most don't have the patience to spend time to read a longer article, or even watch a longer video. If I get a link to a Youtube video that is more than 4-5 minutes, I'll usually file it for later. I feel like I have no time. So much more to check out. I blog on software/internet trends -- social media, web2.0, etc. I spend a lot of thought and research on some of my posts. So they tend to be longer pieces. And that I believe hurts my readership. If my pieces were under a page so one didn't have to scroll, like some bloggers do it, I'd have a bigger readership. We have a collective ADD/ADHD. There is no time...It is sad.

    There must be many reasons for the disintegration of civil dialogue/debate. For me, however, the most devastating and poignant is our cultural reliance on television. I believe that although television has great potential as a teaching tool, most Americans instead have grown accustomed (indeed, have been raised) to obtain their "knowledge" and opinions from soundbites. Television programming - however comprehensive or well produced - can never stand in for actual dialogue between human beings. The fact is that Americans do not regularly take the time any longer to engage each other in serious conversation about politics or social issues. They are far more likely to consider themselves "informed" on these topics by havng watched the morning news. Families do not meet over dinner any longer, and when they do serious socio-political matter is unlikely to trump "American Idol" as a major topic of conversation. It may sound ironic to make these arguments on Bill Moyers' blog site, but sadly his industry has hastened Americans' slipping grip on rational debate and informed conversation. Our over-reliance on "the news" to tell us all we need to know (including, for better or worse, our opinions on current events), ultimately means that television news has ushered in an age of ignorance among the American public. If American univesities represent "the last great hope" for regenerating civic dialogue, I believe it is because universities force students into human dialogue with one another. The simple act of explaining one's views in an organized fashion to another live, attentive human being has become a rare act. Our universities are providing an increasingly unique venue where Americans can (must) engage each other in person, as people and citizens. While we pride ourselves on free speech and ideology, the fact is that most Americans have become "knowledge spectators". Until this culture changes, the problem of civic disengagement can only grow worse.

    Rules: published, fair, enforced, out for all to see, ethics (yrs. of old),a co-mingling of all sorts of people able to expression passion, but allowing others to express differently without sawing off heads.

    Rules in the sunshine--NOT in Congress.

    Rules fairly enforced--on occasion in our courts.

    Free market allowed to play out--not on Wall Street! BUT, the team with the fewest runs at the end of the game LOSES!

    Getting intelligence to where the rubber meets the road..not at Harvard, or Yale, or Prin..whatever!

    Fans hold players & umps & managers to standards.

    Voters just go to ball games!

    Billy Bob Florida

    Instead of 'finding god in baseball'...this would have been a more important and timely topic for your show Mr. Moyers.

    This week, Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal signed House Joint Resolution 2 (HJ0002), claiming “sovereignty on behalf of the State of Wyoming and for its citizens under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government or reserved to the people by the Constitution of the United States.”


    When fools and dolts and idiots abound,
    When wisdom’s scarce and reasoning’s unsound
    (When is that not? Such folly’s ever been!)
    Then take a breath and look around again,
    For with a kinder eye you’ll also see
    Compassion, care and generosity;
    You’ll find some earnest, thoughtful folks who try
    To ferret out the truth, expose the lie,
    And grope their way to a commanding height
    From where they gain a visionary sight.
    Stand by their side to share their clearer view
    Then hope returns, faith rises up anew.
    Where do you look for such a crew? Oh, yes:
    Bill Moyers Journal, Fridays, PBS.

    Although Sexton seems to be a good motivator, I have a problem with educators who confuse organized religion with spirituality as was the case here tonight.

    Organized religion, a two dimensional entity, was developed to control people and dictate mandate (and generate income) often through fear and persecution.

    Spirituality, a three dimensional process, on the other hand, invites a dialogue including all belief systems, and perhaps most importantly, encourages questioning minds to achieve independent answers. The dirty little secret is that the spiritual process is the great "enemy" of organized religion, though often quoted for subterfuge.

    Might there be a correlation between baseball, the Catholic Church, and two dimensional thought? One would conclude the answers we so desperately need right now won't be coming out of that rhetoric. I think a respected leader of an academic institution should get that.

    And please tell us, Bill, that PBS is not replacing your program with programming from the GWBush Thinktank, as has been widely published. If so, there are many places for you on the airwaves.

    Education, like everything else, has become a money-making commodity. Professors have to worry about keeping their jobs; if they are too intellectual, if they demand too much thought from their students, the conservatives who favor non-thought will cut off the funds to that university and call for the removal of such professors. American has been taken hostage by the non-thinking right-wing and the amount of control the right-wing exerts over the media, and thus, people's minds, is frightening. People are no longer able (or are too lazy) to think for themselves, but instead turn to entertainers like Limbaugh, Beck, and FOX news personnel for information. The problem is that what is being served up by those entities isn't news or information: it's propaganda. The right-wing propaganda machine would be the envy of Goebbels, where he alive today.

    Communication skills at this point have been reduced to sound bites, text messaging dribble, and tweeting like Tweety Bird. Complete sentences, proper grammr and punctuation have taken a back seat to fast, and many times incomplete thought process. As a consequence open dialogue and conversation has been compromised for the sake of expediency. Welcome to the 21st Century.

    With regard to the question, "Do you believe that America's universities encourage open and nuanced debate on the issues of our time?", haven't they evolved from being institutions concerned with quality to industries more concerned with profit ala Toyota? The following short article says:

    ...And after an institution turns into an industry, then what happens next? Doesn't the industry turn into a racket where it's all about making sure to collect as much money as possible while being doubly sure to give back as little as possible? And then every so often being triply sure to raise the price?:

    - People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. (Adam Smith)

    - Every institution goes through three stages -- utility, privilege, and abuse. (Chateaubriand)


    I'm truly scared that the loss of The Journal will lead to a further decline of our world - and especially of America.

    Please please, Bill. Don't quit. We need to hear from The Journal what I neve hear from anywhere else.

    Regarding President Sexton's comments:

    "This is a pattern that I see: an allergy to thought, to complexity [and] nuance - a kind of collapse into an intellectual relativism where opinions become fact... I think there's a growing hostility to knowledge in this country... We have fallen into this relativism where it's a conversation to stop and say, "Well, that's your opinion. [This is] my opinion...' I think universities are the last, best hope for pushing back against this because what we do is complexity and nuance."

    I find it extremely ironic and sad that he has made these remarks, because it is a well-known fact that one of the most commonly-held beliefs of professors and students at universities in the United States is that there is no objective, absolute, truth--that all truth is subjective and relative.

    Thus I have no doubt that American universities are largely responsible for what President Sexton calls "a kind of collapse into an intellectual relativism where opinions become fact."

    (This matter was perhaps most famously addressed in the introduction to Allan Bloom's book *The Closing of the American Mind*, which was first published in 1987.)

    I do agree with Professor Sexton that a disbelief in objective, absolute, truth is pernicious.

    Listening does seem to be a lost art and too often conversations become a ping-pong match where one states an opinion followed by the other stating a counter belief. However, universities are not the last best hope. Like me, I'm sure we've all met good listeners and wise ears from all walks,and classes, of life. Good listening skills and wisdom do not have to come from the elites.

    There is no room in the reasoning mind for faith. Reason requires evidence and there is no evidence for God (or any of the permutations of the Christian God). It is reasonable to wonder where we came from, who we are, what we are, what we should do, where we are going. It is not reasonable to answer those questions with fantastic beings and fallacy. There have been fewer influences in this world more destructive, of life, of quality of life, of progress to better life, than religion, any religion.

    "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves"

    Pope John Paul II - FIDES ET RATIO (On Faith and Reason)

    I think that the interview with the NYU president was interesting, especially Sexton's observation that the dialogue of the two American extremes predominates prevailing discussions and results in the exclusion of moderate opinions. I think dialogue is something that has to be encouraged at an earlier age than college, since many Americans have at most a high school education. I think many Americans also shy away from what they perceive as hyper-analysis of every aspect of life to the exclusion of action. We discuss many problems and resolve very few.

    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. ~Aristotle~

    It is sad that much of the feedback on this topic misses the point of this topic.

    I myself came into the topic extremely put off that someone could equate baseball as a path to God.

    True, this shows my hand early - I am someone who just does not understand the draw of something as boring and rigid as baseball.

    However, as I began to open myself to ideas that were not a part of my natural being, I was able to synthesize some of the information into something that was useful to me.

    And then even more important, be able to table for future consideration those ideas that were too foreign for my current consciousness.

    I may never be able to intimately incorporate these ideas into myself, but I believe that I am a better person for being able to at least have them in the bedside table drawer as a reminder that what I know and believe is not the end-all-be-all of human existence.

    The other side of the same coin is that just because I can entertain the ideas of others does not mean that I am a weak man without conviction. On the contrary, I believe that being able to hear and understand the ideas of others can strengthen your own ideas.

    These advantages of true discourse - conviction, synthesis, and understanding - are too often substituted for lesser-minded manipulations like intellectual arrogance, put-downs, or talking points.

    None of these lead to anything productive. At the very least they perpetuate ignorance and at the very greatest they propagate hate.

    And this is my experience with much of higher education. The goal never seems to be to give me information to make me an independent person, but rather to make me another cog in the machine. I praise the courage of those teachers and professors who wanted me to take risks even if I failed. It is much easier to parrot the status quo, and many times more profitable. But it is never more satisfying. I am never more satisfied than when I am true to myself by allowing myself to grow into new ideas and defend old ones.

    Comments that attack NYU President John Sexton due to his past membership on the Federal Reserve Board miss a vital point that he made in Bill Moyers’ interview. Sexton decried the vertical and horizontal concentration of wealth. Never confuse the messenger with the message. Forget Sexton the messenger. Who denies his message of greed?

    In the first sentence of Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote, “a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.” It is not an ‘allergy to thought’ that we suffer. It is blind devotion to custom, which leads to partisanship, prejudice, and intolerance. It was blind devotion to Capitalism, not an ‘allergy to thought,’ that blindsided the Fed, and Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, during the recent financial crisis.

    In Rights of Man, Thomas Paine wrote, “Ignorance is of a peculiar nature: once dispelled, it is impossible to re-establish it. It is not originally a thing of itself, but is only the absence of knowledge; and though man may be kept ignorant, he cannot be made ignorant.” Furthermore, Paine argued in favor of Principles to promote Democracy against a book by Edmund Burke, a member of British Parliament, who quoted Precedence in defense of Monarchy.

    In the economic sphere, the modern equivalent of Monarchy is Capitalism. In a Capitalist Corporation, shareholders get one vote for every share owned. Consequently, Capitalism exhibits the same class stratification as Monarchy. Both promote the concentration of wealth in a powerful minority. Which American institutions advocate that we Abolish Capitalism? Sign me up.

    Cooperative Enterprises are the rightful heirs of Democracy, and Thomas Paine’s legacy, not Socialism. In a Cooperative Enterprise, shareholders are employees with one vote per member. However, the Co-operative Principles are not promoted in American institutions. Instead, business schools teach Capitalism, and American corporations practice it. Paine traced the Precedence of Monarchy back to conquest. Likewise, American Capitalism has conquered public discourse through media sponsorship, ownership, and censorship. Advertisers thrive on commercial and political sloganeering in promoting Capitalist propaganda.

    In Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote, “Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary offense, yet I am inclined to believe, that all those who espouse the doctrine of reconciliation, may be included within the following descriptions. Interested men, who are not to be trusted; weak men, who cannot see; prejudiced men, who will not see; and a certain set of moderate men, who think better of the European world than it deserves; and this last class, by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this continent, than all the other three.”

    How prophetic? European Monarchy infiltrated American culture in the form of Capitalism, and American educational institutions teach the American Revolution and Democracy as history, as Precedence not Principles. American institutions of higher learning are the messengers of the Capitalist agenda, not the vanguard of Democracy. Where do institutions exist that promote Democracy in commercial enterprises? Canada. Only Agricultural Cooperatives buck the trend of Corporate Capitalism in American institutions of higher learning.

    William Dungan, Jr.
    Gistmass Manifesto: A Viral Thought Experiment

    When I was in university, I read studies wherein the writer/researcher said a statement to indicate that they were expressing their subjective thoughts or conclusions. When you read that enough, you realize it's not just what you find, but how it's interpreted. So the view that you have found, doesn't surprise me. I wouldn't swet it. This "thought-mode" will evolve and perhaps something new and interesting will come from it, or perhaps it will go back to where it was. Understanding that studies do not always lead to conclusive facts, is a good thing. Realizing that subjective interpretation is a natural part of what people come to believe, is a step closer to understanding how human beings really work. You cannot stop wrong interpretation of things no matter how hard you try. The more important thing is what's done with what people believe to be true. That will determine the course of the human race.

    If you look at the counter argument that is brought to light, it first uses terms to break down the opponent; rather then explain a position in which it is more fact based in reality. The example of 'liberal' or debasing a person based on their profession does nothing but enhance the argument given.

    The honest failure is the American people as a collective to engage in civil conversation over topics that effect the community as a whole. Its not a question of intellectualism but of maturity of a culture who refuses to grow and looks for others to lead them.

    What do you think?
    The answer
    Posted in part by: Rolland Norman is correct.
    "The latter connection is a proof how skilfully, we the
    society, have been duped by the ... Wall Street!"
    JOHN SEXTON as "the Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2006, and served as chair of the Federal Reserve System's Council of Chairs, from January 1, 2003 to January 1, 2007," did "play another high octave...!" "The high otave... "food to taste and the symphony to hear" is currently on display: TARP, WARS, healthcare, unemployment, eviction, confiscations, bankruptcies, failed economic and financial system etc.
    POVERTY - "the road to exploitation!"
    "Live every day as a transcendent day to the fullest of your ability, the solution that the world - government has adopted" is "POVERTY!" The history tells us that the Christ, Mohamed and etc. was "the road to... !" Who would have even thought that the new religion is, "Baseball the Road to God!"

    Very thought provoking as usual. What will we do for this kind of stimulating discussion after Bill Moyers Journal ends in April? I don't agree with everything on the Journal but it always makes me think. The rest of tv is a vast wasteland in this regard.

    Well, I guess we know now why NYU has a poor reputation in science. Your science faculty must be cringing. I know I am

    Bill you truly will be missed. Your sensitive approach to hard questions have provoked many conservative viewers to peer through the looking glass from a different perspective without offense and for that I solute you.

    The diversity of comments about this guest proves the point beyond any doubt.

    Preconceptions for some are a huge factor when it comes to the subjects covered with John Sexton. I guess people just can't get out of there own way when it comes to recognizing cognitive dissidence. That perhaps grasping an understanding for abstracts requires deliberate listening skills and an inquisitive curiosity to look beneath the surface.

    But, wasn't that the point of the interview? - Well done!

    Good luck in your future endeavors

    If we accept John Sexton's laments that US political debate has been reduced to slogans or remains unconfronted, I suggest that the answer is partly because the fundamental controversies are largely established, but there is no change. Why re-visit the same arguments? It isn't that people are unwilling to discuss issues reasonably or comprehensibly, but that they find no ability for the political system to implement the issues which truly concern them. Unfortunately, but deliberately, the use of slogans allows politicians to disguise their true stances on issues, simply aligning themselves with popular cliches which seem to sum up issues that are open to multiple interpretations. If our mainstream journalistic institutions were useful to the public (and not harmful), these slogans would be challenged, not for malicious intent or distortion, but in the name of providing clear information. Most politicians, however, have an interest in not being pinned down, and make their living by relating to the public as "all things to all people."

    Most people want a government that works, and protects individual rights, but is ultimately responsive to the majority. We have learned that a monolithic, centralized state which controls all public functions is probably not desirable. But European models-- and our own programs such as medicare, veteran's benefits and social security-- suggest that some public programs are desirable. Perhaps a mixed economy is best, but we have to find the right mix.

    In practice, media, as a commercial industry, is ultimately responsive to the financial interests of its sponsors, a trait it shares with politicians. Secondarily, media is responsive to the maintenance of a system in which these sponsors (and thus itself) operate. So are the parameters of debate on issues established, according to the subjects and positions which are reasonable within this system, and to these sponsors. Majority welfare is a poor third. This is the consequence of privately funding an institution or individual whose responsibility is to make public policy. Providing clear information for these decisions-- the fourth estate-- can be said to fall into that category.

    Setting aside solutions, I suggest that two fundamental public issues might be:
    1) Making our economic system more directly responsive to democracy or majority public governance, and not elite controls. (This need not be strictly capitalism or socialism, but would likely contain elements of them both.)
    2) Creating a media which is both accurate and sets debate according to the public interest. (Any media outlet that marginalizes coverage of medicare-for-all in healthcare debates, is not adhering to this standard.)

    It would be nice if we have finally reached a crux where we can and must choose a practical worldview and corresponding way of life, but that may not be true. Such points might be said to exist in any era. We can only do our part in our own time.

    I retired as a Manufacturing Engineer in the Aerospace industry. I would offer that people are bored with the facts. My job required that I bore myself with the facts. Opinions may be/probably are based on nothing more than opinions. For example, we get inundated in the media by blurbs that state Vitamin C shown to not prevent colds. That's it. No study references, no nothing. A gross abuse of the "bully pulpit". I'm not so sure that it is done out of ignorance. I think it is done to further the Golden Rule. Those with the gold, rule. I don't have any friends, because I refuse to surrender to the once over lightly crowd.

    Now we know why NYU is not known for its science work. Your science faculty must be cringing. I know I was. Rachel Dole

    Obama began to show his true colors in his acceptance speech. "Conservatives" have inserted themselves into peaceful activist groups, in order to cause mayhem and weaken the organizations. Corporations control everything.
    People, who have what they need, don't want any change; so they "blog babble", in order to try to block the facts from getting out to people. I think, they know better. They just don't want change.

    Once again I sit and wonder how a man like John Sexton could possibly be appointed to job teaching children when he believes there is some man in the sky who controls everything and will provide a special place for you in his heaven if you spend most of your life praying to him.

    John Sexton and all the other god believers should never be out of a mental assylum never mind being around inquistive minds.

    The real task is to free ourselves from these vile, threatening old dogmas - these defunct desert death cults - and to become sentient and rational about the universe and our tiny, temporary place in it, as the partially evolved apes that we currently are.

    I find pretty much all religious dogma deeply offensive: it's an insult to human intelligence, a threat to education and reason, a threat to national and international security, and an assault on human dignity. Perpetuating and spreading this pernicious mental cancer should not be the aim of any civilised society.

    Thanks Bill Moyers for bringing us once again to remember who we are. John Sexton's challenge to us is clear: be the lovely , complex, nuanced, respectful, passionate human beings God created us to be.

    An "educator", nay, more than that, a SUPREME educator,

    does not see the irony in blaming STUDENTS for having an "allergy to thought"...?

    This show was so little and way too late...

    Baseball is about taking a wooden stick and hitting a ball and then running around before anyone catches the ball and throws it in your direction to get you "OUT!"...

    Interpretations of the "metaphor", anyone...?

    For 20 years or so, the censorship of a book was rationalized as "people are not READY for it"...

    Seriously, someone bring some FACTS to the conversation about another country from the Occidental civilization branch that INSISTS on a strategy of calling her citizens "stupid" in one way or another...?

    Inquiring minds want to know...

    "Just War"....

    God Science & Baseball can mix. I think it was Einstein who wrote "God is subtle." It takes the awakened inner self to see the connections. Maybe be able to see as a poet does.

    Here's my contribution to the Economy and the Transcendent.

    Bullish for the RAK
    (Random Acts of Kindness)

    Bullish for the RAK
    That's what we are
    Never mind what Dow Jones is doing
    We're bullish for the RAK

    We still walk people through
    And explain what they need to know
    Right in each local media exchange
    We're bullish for the RAK

    No matter who walks through our door
    With a problem big or small
    We take them to see what's there in back
    When floor models don't have appeal
    "Courtesy's such a deal"

    Our sales clerks are gems
    On the phone or at the desk
    We're in business to serve
    And for making lots of money too
    But of one thing you can be sure
    We're bullish for the RAK

    At the check out we've come to observe
    As customers walk up for their turn
    The goods they mean to spend their money on
    They stack up smart
    With checks made out and bank cards ready
    By golly! The shoppers are becoming
    Bullish for the RAK!

    If there's isn't a heaven on earth yet
    Well, it may develop before our eyes
    Our company's stock keeps going up
    Bullish for the RAK

    by Keahi Felix

    Dear, revered – Mr. Bill Moyers -,

    Your absence from PBS will be very painful to
    all of us who care about America.
    As a tribute to you let me invoke a little essay,
    I’ve written many years ago and posted on PBS
    discussion board’s; your intellectual depth and human
    honesty, and unparallel patriotism will stay with
    us forever.

    Have a long life, Sir.

    Rolland Norman

    Before we sink into insignificance
    and the empire crumbles…
    by Rolland Norman

    This is related to PBS program “NOW”
    of 8 November, 2002.

    It is delightful to watch and listen to two thinkers of the
    philosopher king league. Bill Moyers and Lewis H. Lapham
    represent, my way of thinking during last thirty, or so, years.
    Unfortunately, this is not common thinking among many
    Americans. How very sad…

    We must fight with full determination to retain them
    as beacons of American democracy. I hope PBS will not be
    privatized soon and the governmental subsidy for Harper’s
    Magazine is not going to be discontinued.

    So, the drone named Predator and resignation of Harvey
    Pitt were this a proverbial straw which broke the camel’s
    back. Many neck to neck electoral races were concluded
    because of this smart manipulation, I think.
    Timing was just perfect.
    It had happened during the election day.

    But, it really doesn’t matter. Both parties, Republicans
    and Democrats, do not represent interest of an ordinary
    citizen. Both parties are a part of the P-C-L
    (political-corporatist-legal) complex. Both parties ignore
    the American intelligentsia.
    Intelligentsia, anyway, can be always “bought” very easily.
    Both parties proudly serve the oligarchy.

    Somebody in the past said “uninformed populous is easy
    to lead”. Bush the Younger understands this phenomenon
    very well.
    The last few days before election date were used by him
    remarkably well. Then came Predator, and sleazy Harvey
    Pitt’s resignation.

    Predator was destined for those in compliance with
    Schwarzenegger’s espoused simplicity of the world.
    Harvey Pitt’s resignation was a gesture to the rest
    of the society which believes in some kind of decency;
    it was, naturally, not more than window dressing, since
    nobody within the P-C-L complex tries to reform a conning
    operation called financial sector.
    The financial sector is designed to facilitate transfer
    of money from many to a few.

    What is going to be done next, before we sink into
    insignificance and the empire crumbles, is strictly up to us…

    Rolland Norman,
    a part-time miracle maker

    Only Bill Moyers at the table made any sense. How did John Sexton ever become president of anything? First off, if we relied on the universities to produce our greatest creations we would not have radio, television, the airplane, phonograph, motion picture camera, computer as we know it, electric lighting, instant film and a list that goes on and on. From Leonardo da Vinci to Bill Gates and nearly all of what we think came from the highly educated, actually came from the drop outs that created through observation and free thinking which requires no education. The universities and corporations have done a great job of keeping great ideas in their control by making people sign over their rights to corporations or not get hired and not being allowed to particapate without the proper degrees. There is no real complexity in discussing religion. What is totally provable is a scientific fact. What is based on some facts, but not completely is a scientific theory. What has no facts at all is religious or spritual. When a theory gains all the facts such as organ transplants or DNA, it goes from theory to fact. When it goes from no facts to gaining any facts, then it goes from religious to scientific theory. Religion cannot work if there are any solid facts because than it would not be a mystery any more thus not allowing it to be changed to what they are trying to control. The reason that religions are always at war with each other and everyone else is because there are no facts, only prophecies that are made to come true and saying something will happen, but not saying when. Most of the medical proceedures we do today, some religions once oppossed. If only Religions would stop using terms such as calling people infedals, nonbelivers, devil worshipers, unGodly, and a list too long to write and realize no one should be cruel to someone because they believe differently. To believe that because someone is not religious that they have no beliefs is exactly the same as saying that because someone believes in a religion, they have no beliefs.

    Bill Moyers, PLEASE reconsider your retirement! What on earth are we going to do without this part of our national treasure? I am saddened so by the thought! Who can take your place? No one.

    Needed: One kind, gentle, thoughtful, interesting, supremely intelligent, aware and generally wonderful person!

    Good luck to PBS finding that replacement!

    Before The Logos, you need the -noia, The Protennoia -- I think. (Get it, “I think?” …ah never mind (Get it, "mind" ...ahh forget it)).

    The One, The Thought, The Word … The You, The Me. (hey honey, where are you going with my stash? …honey?)

    To some extent, most of us are lazy thinkers, especially when it comes to questions about the nature of reality and of ourselves in that reality. We tend to mouth the beliefs we've accepted from others, rather than step back and ask ourselves objectively what really makes sense to us personally--and why. So we express beliefs without ever challenging ourselves for greater clarification about why we think as we do. Instead, we often fall into a debate mode (which is designed to minimize real understanding) or, worse, simply trash the person who expresses a different view.

    Whether John Sexton's philosophical/religious ideas appeal or do not, it's the ideas that matter, not his personal history, even to those who view him as hypocritical.

    Someone once told me, in reference to such ideas, to pay attention to what is said, not to who says it. "Considering the source" has its place, most notably with fact-based information, but we often dismiss valuable ideas simply because we don't respect their sources. And it's our loss.

    Speaking of losses, the loss of you, Bill Moyers, as host of the Journal is a personal shock. How did I miss this vital piece of info, since I watch you every week? Friday night won't be the same!

    Marian Nelson

    As usual this Moyers’s segment with Dr. John Sexton was thought provoking. My week is not complete without the taping of Bill Moyers one of the all time greats. He reaches far up into the journalistic stratosphere of genius along with Edward R. Murrow except more thought provoking than even Mr. Murrow.

    It is a tragedy in our culture today that the complexity of life is reduced to 10 second sound bites. It is as if our McDonald’s dietary habits reflect the fast food mentality of our intellectual life. Much contributes to this and a discussion, which I am sure Dr. Sexton would agree, must include great complexity. There is not time to do that here. I can say, though, that Dr. Sexton’s thoughts were fascinating. I could have listened to him for hours and would have loved the opportunity to ask him my own, hopefully, thoughtful questions as well.

    I keep trying to think if I allow for complexity of thought and an exchange of ideas even when those ideas are diametrically opposed to my own. I think I have tried. I have also fallen short. I in essence, at 61 years old, have given up. I am a progressive Democrat who lived through the late 1960’s. I formulated my basic philosophy at that time and although I waivered throughout the years, I have basically remained left of center. I believe, my position and other progressive attitudes on the issues of the day are SO important and so unequivocally correct that I cannot often even listen to the opposition. Worse, I consider them my enemy. How can I be a progressive, thoughtful person and consider right wing Republicans actually an enemy? I am sickened by this. I am, without a doubt, sure they think of me as their enemy too. It is sad.

    I think it terrible that I have gone from a person more than willing to debate to a person of cemented positions and often a cemented heart. Why? Why can I not be like Dr. Sexton? The issues of our day are so personal and so threatening to me that I simply cannot compromise them. I do not know if it is the election of Barack Obama, a gifted man of thought and compromise, which was the reason for my solidification of thought because of the utter disgusting racist spewing so constantly thrown from the other side at a man of good will. How can I compromise with this utter idiocy? Both sides are hardened and the reflection of what we see is a Congress immovable in thought and unwilling more often than not to compromise either. If the right is so unequivocally mean, hateful and violent why should I give their points of view credence? Why should I not defend MYSELF against what I perceive is their insanity and threat to me?

    My enemy believes NOT in science but in myth. It believes there should be a mixing of church with state, does not allow for choice with respect to abortion, and would love to discriminate against homosexuals whom they believe have chosen who they are and therefore are not worthy of equality. It believes, too, in war, even preemptory war, forgets the civil libertarian Bill of Rights from which this country was honed and it loves its guns. They love taking this country to wars of revenge even when based on lies and even when based upon nothing, do not care about wars which our country has waged AFTER World War II which have killed thousands, displaced millions and destabilized the political climate of worst parts of planet earth. Moreover, they think global warming is a hoax and probably will even when New York City is under water. Their views are hardened in the irrationalities of religious superstition, uncompromising and extreme supernatural beliefs and a desire to impose those beliefs upon everyone else. They most certainly do not believe in government protecting human health. As I see it they are a threat to life on this planet. Their beliefs are so utterly repulsive to me that I cannot even listen nor stand to debate the non debatable. Evolution is fact, global warming is fact, religion upon which they want to base national policy is more myth than fact and goes against the most sacred of our Constitutional creeds, the separation clause. How can I compromise with that which is uncompromisable? (Yes, I crafted a new word.)

    Dr. Sexton’s lofty thoughts in the classroom make for sweet talk and make him, indeed, a likeable man. I am sure he had to be such to arrive at the position he attained. In the final analysis, though, I think that decisions must be made, choices must be arrived at and the prolonging of debate of certain issues causes the destruction of human life and, indeed, compromises ALL life on planet earth.

    I am not happy with who I have become but I refuse to compromise with those who eschew most lofty intellectual thought, think reason is not for them, calls the left effete intellectual snobs and causes Susan Jacoby – an one time interviewee of Bill Moyers – to write a book entitled “The Age of American Unreason.” I cannot entertain the thoughts of those who carry grotesque, insulting, racist pictures of our president as both Hitler and Stalin as if one person could be both polar opposites. I cannot compromise with those who occupy the extreme right wing of the political spectrum in which there is a litmus test now for membership in the Republican Party. Perhaps if it returned to the party of Rockefeller or Ford I could.

    My continuing course
    In Adult Education
    Thank you Bill Moyers

    I watched this guy as long as I could, hoping to find something useful, interesting and yes, thoughtful in all the verbiage. Never found it. I had the distinct impression he'd recently suffered a blow to the head and was unfortunately rendered incoherent by the experience. I presume he keeps his post because someone feels bad for him? Because otherwise I found all these half-baked ideas absolutely appalling. If anyone is allergic to thought, I would say it's him. Too bad!

    It's interesting to see all these players still so full of hubris...

    I must admit I was being more of a drama queen when I first smelled the idealogues-gone-over-the-edge rationalizations coming out on the EMF channels fast and furious

    in comparing them to the "minds" of WWII idealogues and how they DID watch people slowly rot

    but now that I realize it was just ME waking up to the

    POSSIBILITY of the truth

    and that it IS the truth that that is WHO THEY ARE

    YIKES! They REALLY are completely NUTS...

    We've GOT to start issuing and using a different currency as "money"...this can't be a decade long Shakespeare "merchant of venice" thing-y...THAT's another indication of how delusional they ARE...

    SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE ON THE PLANET and "god" is watching "baseball" in USA...?

    Posted by: Michelle: "It seems that these days there's no right or wrong, truth or falsehood, and no reality or make believe. It's all an opinion. People don't think things out and either don't know or remember history. I suppose we don't have enough quiet time,
    except for the people I've read on this blog; impressive and informed. Watch out Moyers!"


    Quiet time?

    Have you noticed the trend to raise the volume of commercial breaks on TV to obnoxious levels to try and hammer their message home to buy and consume?

    Yes, quiet time is tough to find for many of us in this day and age. And even if you carve out some quiet space, the stresses of our sickly complex lifestyles still wreak havoc with our minds and bodies.

    As an offshoot to my simple living work, I now use the practice of "voluntary solitude" to give me a more peaceful life. The same way I pick and choose which complexities of living I allow in my life, I now do the same with noise and commotion.

    I first learned of this concept when reading a book by the granddaddy of backpacking Colin Fletcher. He described the benefits of pure solitude by walking alone. It occurred to me I was addicted to noise and commotion.

    I felt like my mind was going to explode some days. Music and noise kept repeating in my brain all night and my sleep was fitful. I had the TV blasting all day with the stock channel or the news or whatever. It didn't matter if I watched it or not, I just liked the noise.

    I had the radio or CD going whenever I was driving. Even on the trail when hiking or biking, I had on earphones and at the pool a radio blaring. My mind was full of noise and I could never seem to get any escape with noise even in my sleep.

    Once I started with voluntary solitude and shut off the noise, I went though a period of noise withdrawal for a few days, but gradually could see things were getting better. Sometimes our peace is disturbed by other means than noise. I've seen persons going out to be alone in nature and they bring their computer or paperwork with them.

    Maybe they have removed some of the fuel for their stressed life but cannot let go of it all and must still feed their addiction even while in nature. So, be aware of peace disrupters in your life, irrespective of whether they make sounds or not.

    I now am very choosy when it comes to noise pollution and other disruptions entering me that can be cured by using solitude, deep quiet and renunciation. When we are quiet within we are in an easier position to find peace. I've known some people that have a completely quiet day once per week seeking quiet for their mouth and speak to no one in addition to seeking quiet for their ears.

    Other persons I have talked with just make an effort to lower the volume of the noise they intake as well as lowering the volume of the noise they output...lowering their voice.

    No matter which road you choose, now is a wonderful time to seek the solitude of nature and practice voluntary solitude in whatever degree you choose.

    Be aware, whatever the area of mind abuse - a sick mind that is constantly busy cannot heal itself without rest. Nor can that mind think rationally when it is sick.

    Meditation on nothingness (zazen) helps quiet a "sticky brain" that seems to hold onto everything. I can get positive results with just 15 to 20 minutes a day sitting meditation time. It helps if I sit at regular time. I meditate on nothingness, although some meditate on an object

    There are many other ways to use meditation besides traditional sitting meditation. There is also working mediation and walking mediation practices. If you do yoga, you can try combining meditation with your Yoga practice. Mindfulness meditation all starts with being aware of ones breath.

    Our peace practice should also apply to our alarm clocks in the morning. I use a CD clock that plays birds singing. Start your day off in peace.

    (Note: I do not promote Buddhism, but only mention it as some sources of tools for you to use to find peace and quiet. But if you must choose a religion, Buddhism is about the least harmful and does offer some tools to improve ones life and inner peace.)

    "When the sun rises I go to work,
    When the sun goes down, I take my rest,
    I dig the well from which I drink,
    I farm the soil that yields my food,
    I share creation, Kings can do no more."

    Ancient Chinese, 2500 BC

    Bill, I'm so sad that you are leaving. There is no one like you and we are so in need of a rational voice. You can't be replaced by anyone. Thank you for your many years of good reporting and thought. E. Iturri

    Thank you Greg for answering my so unassuming,
    innocent, even naive question.
    You put my mind, however, into spin...

    This connection “Baseball – God”, sounds good to me,
    as well. The relation “FED-Baseball-God” sounds even
    better, you may admit...
    The latter connection is a proof how skilfully, we the
    society, have been duped by the ... Wall Street.

    The character – John Saxton – is an example of cosmic
    power of money.
    John, being a man who talks directly to God, was in
    charge (partially) of the largest transfer of money
    from many to a few, in human history.
    He did not have any special expertise, of course, he
    couldn’t have, but he was in good relation with God,
    and even better one , with the Wall Street itself.
    He was installed by the men of power to be
    the member of the FED, because he is a likable man...,
    just simple like this...

    He can be incoherent, inconclusive, artificially passionate,
    but he was in charge of a huge money, he was/is the man
    of the ruling elite.

    He was gracefully rewarded, by the elite, with
    honourable post of –the president of NYU – , and now,
    God forbid (sorry for invoking Him) , he is instructing your
    and my children.
    I know, this is OK, it is not pathetic... anymore...

    Rolland Norman
    P.S. Bill Moyers, with his journalistic talent and honesty,
    could have made a new program about the relation
    FED-Baseball-God, but, how sad, He (capita H)
    will be leaving us soon, and this is real loss for whole

    Posted by: jon : The bad news is that Sexton is totally delusional. The good news is that he is completely insane and so has no idea how delusional he really is. Bill, you really wasted good air time and struck out. Now you are batting a little under 1000.


    Baseball is of little interest to me. But I do agree with Jon.

    Mr. Moyers, you just have a little time left with us. I'd also ask you to spend it wisely - if your goal is to educate the public about the truthful state of the union and what awaits Americans 'round the bend.

    The bad news is that Sexton is totally delusional. The good news is that he is completely insane and so has no idea how delusional he really is. Bill, you really wasted good air time and struck out. Now you are batting a little under 1000.

    Mr. Norman asks:

    "P.S. How it it possible that this man was a member of the NY
    Fed Board of Directors, when the sub-prime scam was
    in making?"

    Answer....poor John was busy discovering the equations demonstrating the connection between Baseball and God.

    Oh so painful to watch him with those fine young minds trying to gather food for Life and all the mysteries....and he leads them along the road.


    Bill, I am so sorry to hear that you won't be on much longer. I have always found your shows insightful and well prpared. It will be a great loss to the PBS Friday night schedule!

    It seems that these days there's no right or wrong, truth or falsehood, and no reality or make believe. It's all an opinion. People don't think things out and either don't know or remember history. I suppose we don't have enough quiet time,
    except for the people I've read on this blog; impressive and informed. Watch out Moyers!

    Thank you Bill for your so exceptional journalism and bringing
    interesting people to your program which, I must admit,
    is a part of my intellectual menu.

    In the person of John Saxton you present a classical case
    of the American insanity.
    The man who states, rightly (by coincidence), when talking
    about society which has ”... an allergy to thought, an allergy
    to complexity, nuance...”, is precisely displaying by himself
    those “virtues”, being just a perfect ...simpleton.
    His incoherent talk is so annoying, so empty, it is a talk
    without substance.

    “Where is the beef, Saxton?”, as Stephen Colbert asks...

    Saxton is the president of NYU, how unfortunate.
    Yes, the NYU faculty and the students should feel embarrassed
    having him as a president.
    This character represents 40,000 people.
    Incredible, sad, and possible ... in my America...
    This is his imbecilic journey, only his, nobody should be
    incremented into it.

    Yes, Saxton, the Baseball is a Road to God, but only in
    your uncomplicated mind.

    Rolland Norman
    P.S. How it it possible that this man was a member of the NY
    Fed Board of Directors, when the sub-prime scam was
    in making?

    Dear Bill and John,

    Science and religions are nothing but theories and faiths.
    And truth in the great game of life is the grand slam absolute base clearing winner.
    Be true,


    I tried watching your show and listening to your guest whose name I didn’t catch, the dean of NYU or something. An academic who spent his life inside ivy covered walls, indeed, seldom leaves them; “I live over there and I work over there” he said, pointing. And then you both looked longingly at the first time I was exposed to the toxic effect of Barack Hussein Obama, when he spoke at the July 27, 2004 Democratic convention. I remember thinking “Why does the press slobber over this lying, smarmy, snake oil salesman?” And I thought at the time, “God help the US if this guy ever gains traction.”
    Well here we are, deeper in debt and financial hardship while this fool tries to shove his government takeover of health care down the county’s throat. All while stating ‘Jobs are our number one focus’ and immediately returns to pounding the health care boondoggle of a bill through congress.
    Then I realized I was missing “Dog Tales” and changed the channel.

    Mr. Moyers - Please respond to the Mr Sexton's past (as quoted below). Glorifying Mr Sexton in this way seems contrary to what I have come to know as the message of your show. People have come to trust you, has this public trust been misplaced - just as it was in with politicians, judges & financial institutions? Is your show just a pulpit to serve yourself and your friends, as are most other institutions in America? If so, that's fine, but please tone down the rhetoric a little.

    I really enjoyed the segment on the Poetry festival.

    As for allergy to thought, that's really just a way of saying that a lot of Americans are spoiled, lazy and stupid (even if educated) - this is a fact. There's too much of an every man for himself climate. People for the most part don't really care what happens to others, so long as they get their way - it has blurred their vision of justice and fairness. America is in the midst of an ethical crisis, more than a financial crisis, or healthcare crisis. Ethical, NOT moral - I am a political agnostic, I don't believe in republicans or democrats, just good governance - and I believe that this is possible, if there is the will.

    "From January 1, 2003 to January 1, 2007, he was the Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; in 2006, he served as chair of the Federal Reserve System's Council of Chairs."

    " He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations."

    A few things come to mind about an "allergy to thought."

    1) People don't understand how to critically interpret data, and most are never introduced to constructive ways to cultivate and manage conflict. Examples: People don't generally understand probability. They use anecdote to drive opinion. They don't critically examine their own fears, and fear drives many unreasonable opinions. They do not learn the skills necessary to navigate discourse around complex issues. They need to feel like they matter, and belonging to a "cause"--however unreasoned--can that need for all of us.

    2) Our universities encourage debate, but I don't think universities influence behaviors or thinking of the vast majority of the American public. Marketing does.

    3) Ironically, many public-private collaborations at the local level are directly pushing back against sloganeering. A good example is occurring in tobacco control. When groups act to change smoking ordinances at the local level, citizens are suddenly given permission to discuss a once-taboo issue around the kitchen table. Then, after 20 years of second-hand smoke, the wife says to the husband, "Smoke outside!" That is change at a recognizable level.

    The complete title of Coover’s book is:
    “The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop”
    You can buy it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, probably elsewhere.

    Garrett, here's the complete title of Coover’s book:

    “The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop”

    You can buy it here:

    or here:

    Viva John Sexton! You who wave the red flag of cyicism over his NYFed involvement, did you miss the gold in that conversation? And the bright light in his eyes? "Put John Sexton and Tim Geithner side by side and it's Day and Night. Makes me shudder.
    The meltdown happened in 2008! Let's ask Sexton what he saw coming in '06 and '07 and what he did or didn't do about it."

    No need to ask John either Question:

    Reality and facts tell us the answers.

    "We never saw it coming...."
    And THEY did NOTHING!

    And to clarify---his NY Fed "involvement":
    CHAIRMAN of NY Fed and CHAIR of the Chairs!

    Perhaps he can find 4 times to diasgree with the Pope as he remarked but he could not find ANY reason(s) to disagree with the mess in Regulatory function at the MOST POWERFUL BANK in the World.

    Oh well
    Back to fantasy island....where intellectual pursuits are relegated to transcendent concerns.


    I've pasted this info that I copied from the transcript:

    Coover's "Universal Baseball Association,"

    Any help?

    On the chance someone will remember it, John Sexton talked about a book on baseball on Mr. Moyer's Journal Friday night, 3/12, by a Coover as I recall the name. But, I am unable to find any-
    thing by him. Can you tell me the name of the book?

    Thanks, Garrett

    John Sexton's intellectual world appears limited. From this short interview I'd doubt that he's ever honestly questioned his convictions. By the way, the last time God and I sat down to have a cool Bud or two he told me that, as a boy, he never played baseball. Soccer was his game.

    I disagree with RD's opinion that "evolution is programmed." We cannot alter the actions of the past, those decisions and deeds which have brought us into the present. Today we experience the positive and negative consequences from our collective choices. Cant' change that. Deal with it!

    However, humanity now stands at the crossroads leading into the future. Only the past of which we know so little and the present are unchangeable, hard wired. Species evolve or face extinction as a result of our ability to adapt, change with the time and grow.

    Let's take responsibility! Let's think!

    In other words "me thinks the man protest too much..."This just in from found memo from NYU President John Sexton confounds me as he places total blame(teacher hiring freeze) on NYU's "high ratio of dreams to resources," also calling out the turmoil of the collapsed economy. Now that transcendent fancy foot work. Excellent show by the way,as a learning example, an opportunity to viewers defining what is good and true. TV can inform, but usually an image of delusion. vholder

    Bill Moyers has probably been the most insightful and scholarly thinking person I've ever encountered in my adult life. When it comes to challenging the normal way of thinking in America he has proven time and time again to be a savior. His commentary is briliant and will be forever missed. I knew this day would come eventually but I hoped it wouldn't be so soon. Good Bye, From Matt In Ohio and thanks for all the good intelligent conversation your show has given us....I will always remember you and your influence. THANKS AND GOOD BYE. Matt Stanhope

    I wish I had known about John Sexton's recent background before tuning in.
    .. I'm sure that I could have found something more honest to view.

    Two things about tonight:

    First, it is painful to be reminded of the loss of your show (a national treasure); it is my hope that whomever follows in your shoes lives up to 1% of your life's work:)
    I am rooting for Naomi Klein!

    Second, I enjoyed your guest very much and thought he made some compelling points about transcendence.

    But with institutions, I am not as optimistic as Dr. Sexton. Corporate agendas run the show in terms of funding, grant writing, publication.... The last thing considered are teaching classes as an afterthought....Henry Giroux has authored the term "Academic Entrepreneurs"; it fits!

    Also, you might consider the future of our higher learning 'institutions' and where they want to go: online education!

    While there may be some benefits initially to massive inclusions to online degrees, they are truly designed to be a model of privatization in higher ed for profit.. The market for teaching becomes more efficient, progressively less time consuming, and creates a perpetual need for content (only to be updated periodically); like Walmart they do not have to invest as much in the tenured faculty and their expensive benefits...

    Along the way, they will de-regulate certain knowledges and commodify or securitize them at institutional levels....

    Sorry to put a damper on such an interesting guest! At one point to jump through the television and sit right next to Dr. Sexton and ask him about Chomsky's notion of concision in media as a contributing factor to the allergy of thought....

    All the best!

    It appears to be the case
    that WNET suffers from an
    allergy to thought:
    WNET will be canceling BIll Moyers Journal AND canceling
    World Focus next month.
    The Charlie show will
    continue unabated (to them
    who never met a CEO they didn't like shall much be given
    in manifold ways, others may apply
    at the gates)

    Viva John Sexton! You who wave the red flag of cyicism over his NYFed involvement, did you miss the gold in that conversation? And the bright light in his eyes? Put John Sexton and Tim Geithner side by side and it's Day and Night. Makes me shudder.
    The meltdown happened in 2008! Let's ask Sexton what he saw coming in '06 and '07 and what he did or didn't do about it.
    Okay okay . . . when he talked about the Dodgers, I liked him. Go Bums! And, people, there was gold.
    Viva Bill Moyers!

    With sadness, I say, who out there is a Bill Moyer? Who will continue his insightful, challenging, deliberate probing that is invaluable to our society. If no one steps up, we will surely be a poorer nation for it. He set the standard, the format, the map: who will step up? Bill, you will be profoundly missed. The loss of your personal, cross examination of great minds will create such a void in our collective. Who is the next Moyer?

    On Sexton, he seems a passionate man that makes extremely good points. One, is that science and spirituality need not be at odds. I believe that the brain can never be completely understood because of the fluidity of it. Everything can’t be quantified. Our brains may grow and connect a certain way but since every experience and combination of genes will ALWAYS be different there will never be a way predict unequivocally. Spirituality, and not religion, is a necessity of humans, just as every entity of this universe. It is thrust that causes everything to move.

    Hostility toward knowledge. Why? Is our success as a nation causing it? My children eluded to being afraid to show their intellect in class for fear of being chastised by intellectually inferior students that were a part of the click that regulated the school’s social norm. To be rewarded for stupidity? Because of the obsession with the anti-hero. Sexton mentioned that the universities are the last bastion of meaningful discourse. If prices for education become unattainable, is civil debate unattainable?

    Distrust. So many arguments to make… Population, tribes, media, insular existence…yes, there is distrust. How do we stop it? I will try my best to “play outside of the octave.”

    On the poetry excerpt. It was beautiful to see hundreds of longing faces, each with different interpretations: a connection of the human experience. The poet is our vessel to waters of the collective.

    I was impressed with NYU President John Sexton's assessment of the influence of the internet's bursts of public news condensed down to short, commercials imposing conclusions without basis in fact. Our inability to see other points of view with respect has disappeared as a result.

    I loved the interview with John Sexton for showing liberal arts learning at its best--as a wholistic inquiry that engages both mind and spirit. It is heartening to know that we still have university presidents/academic leaders like him.

    From my perspective as a full-time professor at a research-oriented public university, day-to-day life within our higher ed system seems increasingly remote from the values Sexton so inspiringly evoked. At my institution, the driving values seem to be more along the lines one would expect to find within any corporate bureaucracy. The emphasis is on research "productivity" and "credit hour production" (i.e. enrolling the highest possible number of students in classes). A bottom-line mentality prevails among the ever-expanding ranks of university administrators who are remote from the work of most us professors--especially those of us in humanities disciplines (who, unlike our peers in the medical and other applied sciences, don't bring in great gobs of federal money).

    In response to the Berkowitz comments you published, I would have to say that Berkowitz is both right and wrong. On the one hand, most professors (like most employees within both the public and private sectors)do prefer to simply do their work quietly rather than spend scarce time and energy on public debates that might put them at odds with powerful superiors or community members. On the other hand, unfortunately, the p.r.-obsessed corporate environment of most large public universities discourages "open and nuanced debate" of almost any sensitive or controversial matter--anything that might annoy an influential alumnus, constituency, or donor.

    Let's not forget, too, the price exacted by post-9/11 flag-waving fear and hysteria--which put an enormous chill on American intellecutal life, academia included. Certainly, engaging in open debate became risky business for anyone hoping to avoid being tagged as as sympathetic to "terrorists" . . . I would hope Berkowitz is willing to recognize this; his negative opinion of the professoriate conveniently overlooks the recent history--and, political and cultural context--of American universities.

    You just have to watch BBC's
    Secret History of Chaos

    to show that Science has proven that
    there is no room for a personal
    God. So Mr. Sexton can only fool
    impressionable college kids.

    My comment has been lost.

    Final Weeks. Moving on again, eh Bill?

    Doggone it. I fill other hours with TV, but I try not to miss only you and some of Jon Stewart.

    Thanks, Dude.

    [My "type the two words" two words to submit my comment were "astound 75." Was this your comment on the birthday you're approaching? More of that synchronicity? Happenstance?] Okay. I'm astounding. Happy bday.

    I agree that there is very much an anti-intellectual, anti-reality, anti-fact trend across America. Information flowing through our media seems to be more about controlling opinion rather than presenting facts. Our dumb-ing down seems to correlate with several other trends in America:
    - a loss of the middle class, and more people slipping into financial chaos;
    - the falsehood that being American means being as dumb as you want to be;
    - the myth that unregulated markets bring more certainty of success than regulated markets;
    - the use of fear as a marketing and consumer behavior gimmick;
    - lack of awareness that other countries outshine American students academically;
    - lack of critical thinking skills being taught in schools;
    - the rise of religious fundamentalism in America;
    - a press that is loosing its role for investigative journalism;
    - less of our economy being based on small business ownership;
    - a loss of belief that a democratically elected government can be trusted to properly serve;

    Houses are quite expensive and not everybody is able to buy it. However, loan was invented to aid people in such hard situations.


    "From January 1, 2003 to January 1, 2007, he was the Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; in 2006, he served as chair of the Federal Reserve System's Council of Chairs."

    " He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations."

    No question about the above from Mr. Moyers. That is what happens when you interview a friend. You can judge a man by amount hand waving he does in order to disguise his body language.
    Basically Elites are quaking that common
    man is waking up to their trickery.
    No cheap oil or food, no social contract.

    Just finished watching snippets of the sequence with John Sexton and the table side conversation with Mr. Moyers.
    I went to Google Mr. Sexton.
    I was simply shocked/stunned that this man was: "From January 1, 2003 to January 1, 2007, he was the Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; in 2006, he served as chair of the Federal Reserve System's Council of Chairs."

    I am sorry.
    Such duplicity is shameful.
    Here is an elitely educated man who watched over the the final chapters of the criminal and unethical dismantling of the USA Financial system. A PRESIDENT of NYU who considers himself a fine seeker of truth and a legal scholar.

    And he has the courage to sit and bemoan the "cynicism and distrust" in the Country and bemoan the lack of civility and rampant distrust in the Society???!! PLEASE.

    And then outrgaeously speak about God and Transcendence and love and the "problems" in the USA.

    I am his contmeporary and educated at a fine Univ and schooled in Philo and Religious Studies.
    He is nothing more than an apologist and perpetuator of ALL that is evil and disasterous in the current USA milieu.

    And he is absolutely innoculated in his conscience about this reality.



    Concerning the question, "Does American society suffer from 'an allergy to thought?'", why pick on Americans?:

    - How fortunate for leaders that men do not think. (Hitler)

    Let me point to the @allenwrench's material here above as paradigmatic of "allergic to thought": a thoughtful practitioner would have posted the long draft and here, making use of this medium's power (A nod in the direction of TimBL!), gone on to speak sociably, including a link to the epistle. Hypertext is foundationally social.

    That would manifest _praxis_. (If you like that idea I encourage you to follow up on Heidegger's notion of _techne_!)

    Not so long ago we clustered each and every night to warm ourselves by the communal fire. Our social institutions arose from fracturing that elemental inclusivity, by formalizing exclusivity. And so "thoughtfulness" became ever more abstracted.

    Has allenwrench shown that he things? In-deed he has ... and so he exists, evidently.
    But is he thoughtful? Quite the contrary; with impunity he shows ... if not contempt, at least something like allergic reaction.

    "Group discernment" in my finest days (late 60s / early 70s) began to have some traction outside the spiritual community. Those days seemed to intimate better days to come but my cohort was seduced. Not all (Thank you, Mr. Moir!) but most. And such is the story of a people.

    may all beings experience happiness

    John Sexton made some fascinating observations on our culture. Our cynicism and lack of trust of neighbor has shut down our ability to hold dialogue with one another. As a result, we are left isolated behind the walls of the slogans we hide behind in our fear. Sexton's connection of baseball, America's game, with theological thought makes sense. For unless we are "in the game" and in dialogue, we are not in the Word. For it is through the Word, (dia-logos) that we free to discover once again ourselves in our neighbor.

    I agree there is an allergy to thought, with the average citizen who rely on mass media to tell them what to think, with the politicians who let the lobbyists tell them what to think and what laws to enact; and with reporters not asking the probing questions, repeatedly, of business and politicians until they get an answer. No, we won't think, just kick the can down the road into the future while our country loses the preeminent position we've held in the world for the past 70 years. We went from having the best education system to now being in the middle of the pack and falling further back.

    PS. Is any one else turned off by the order of these posts; the newest one on top so you can't just read down the list from one to the next but have to scroll back and forth to read them? if the oldest one's were on top and the newest on the bottom we could just read straight down and they would all make sense (assuming they make sense) as later posters comment on earlier posts.
    my 2¢

    Certain private colleges, I assume, still offer opposition to the mainstream culture, but community colleges, with open enrollment, I've found allow all of the garbage that society spews forth. The "virtue" of tolerance compells them to do so. If a person has strong beliefs that are opposed by the mainstream worldview, they will have to find a college that supports that view, otherwise, if they choose a "liberal" college, they will have to learn to be tolerant of others' views, while holding fast to their own.

    I don't have much of an opinion on your questions since I was never into academics very much. But I will share some thoughts.

    When I went to college in the 70's it cost $6.50 per semester to go to Los Angeles City College and $201 for year round 3 trimesters at Cal State L.A.

    Back then for $67 a trimester you could take as many classes as you liked. I got a degree in Industrial Arts -- woodworking, so there was not much higher thinking going on in my area of study. I was just trying to figure how to keep the projects together until I got graded. (In 'chair class' the teacher sat in it for grading - If it broke you failed the class!).

    I had no real interest in school back then and only wished to get s degree in something. My GPA was about 2.3, just enough to graduate. I just showed up and did the minimum I needed to pass. Only decades later did I take an interest in philosophy and religious studies on my own and not schools.

    Now, if your a brainiac, you no doubt put your pride in how high a GPA you can get in school. And while smarts and good grades are important, they are no guarantee of a life grounded in inner peace. Any more than someone who is rich could buy such a life.

    Here is a snip from an old post that discusses this topic. I wrote it a few years ago when I had a smidgen more religion as well as inner peace in me and used to go by the name of 'V'.

    "I was at a philosophy symposium last year and talked with a professor about a teaching / mentor relationship he had with Ayn Rand. He went on to say how after a year they broke up the mentor relationship on a sour note.

    After I questioned the professor about Rand's personal life as well as her state of inner peace and happiness, I could see that with all her talents of 'smarts' she was bankrupt when the subject turned to peace smarts, contentment and happiness.

    She was ego based and not practice based when it came to peace generation. Furthermore, she not only destroyed her peace, but from the information that came out of our discussion, the then student's peace was disturbed at the time and it still sounded disturbed decades later as a distinguished professor and author.

    It seems then, that 'academic smarts are not the same as peace smarts.'

    The Greeks used to teach harmony and balance in the Trivium in their schools. In the 'tenants of reason' they went into much details with the subject of harmony breaking it down into proportionally, prudence, balance, fitness and aptness. Not subjects you hear a lot of nowadays.

    I feel bad for all the young people going through the system we have built for them. Every year our schools send out their crops of new graduates with high hopes of them being digested within the workforce. But like all Ponzi schemes, there is always an end to the scam.

    As our societal standards decline across the board and life degrades along with these standards, I don't have a clue what will happen to our educational system. Well, I do know one thing that will probably happen. Just as healthcare becomes less affordable for the masses - so will the costs of the higher education system.

    Blake ~ "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom."

    Allergy to thought - I completely agree. And my experience is that the allergy transcends socio-economic classes. I've seen a passion among people I have met for a clear recipe for life. "Give me the Ten Commandments and I'm happy, I know what to do". Pick a self-help book from the bestseller list and it will give a prescription for how to live. At least until the next secret recipe comes out.

    I struggle every day to understand myself, my life, and the world around me. And I consider it an honorable struggle. And it would be a pleasant struggle if it wasn't considered by the world that I encounter as an impediment to "getting things done", "making money", "building a personal legacy", etc.

    Although I agree that Universities have a critical responsibility, I hope they aren't the last, best hope for pushing back. I hope we find more and better ways from all corners. Or the struggle will be in vain.

    When I watch my cat I conclude she is what I like to call "pre programed" or "hardwired". She does what she does day after day and her routine never changes, but how does she know what to do? We humans can and will do the same, following the path of least resistance to our goal of survival. A path shown to us by the world around us. Unless we choose to stray from the track laid down for us, the collective allergy to thought will prevail.

    What we suffer from is the lack of monies to pay colleges and universities their crippling fees. The cost to obtain a four-year baccalaureate degree is outrageous. Before we question the lack of complexity and nuance in public debate, we should question the price of a liberal education.

    Well let us see what science says about
    98% of brain is subconscious.

    The Enlightenment definition of Reason is conscience, universal, logical, literal,
    unemotional, disembodied, and interest based.
    [This definition is completely false in every detail
    according to current cognitive research.]

    Everything that Freud said is proven to be false.

    Evolution dictates all the social diseases.
    We are no better than a bacteria
    because humans will continue to do what is programmed by Evolution until the Life on Earth collapses.

    Breaking: ABC News Admits to Faking Part of Toyota Acceleration Video

    Do all faux-journalists (ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and NBC) start off by rationalizing, or are some just naturals. Maybe they all have Toyota cruise controls.

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