Saturday, December 31, 2005

Calvinist political literacy

is a lovely phrase taken from a discussion on politics in academia
Arguably the most surprising presentation was offered up by Patricia Roberts-Miller, an associate professor of rhetoric and composition at the University of Texas at Austin. Roberts-Miller argued that in the classroom, "everyone's politics" -- including that of the professor's -- "should be open to change." She talked about the downsides of what she called "Calvinist political literacy," in which individuals, irrespective of ideology, look for reasons not to engage in political conversation. If Calvinism separates people into saints and sinners whose fates are predetermined and fixed forever, Calvinist political literacy means you don't have to argue with anyone with whom you disagree, because such interaction can only reveal differences rather than persuade.

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