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ERIC Number: EJ870842
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 63
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1946
Plato and the Modern American "Right": Agendas, Assumptions, and the Culture of Fear
Ramsey, Paul
Educational Studies: Journal of the American Educational Studies Association, v45 n6 p572-588 2009
This article presents an interpretation of Plato's "Republic" that has many striking similarities to the social agenda of modern educational conservatives in the United States, which is particularly timely because George W. Bush's administration is, at this writing, coming to an end. Plato's ideal city is best seen as one that promoted an authoritarian type of communitarianism, and it is this state that has much in common with the educational aims and assumptions of today's political Right, a label, although prima facie overly simplistic, still retains some intellectual value (Bobbio 1996). Both Plato's views and those of the conservative policymakers in the Department of Education were shaped in a context of fear--fear of social change and upheaval. Plato and the contemporary Right also have similar educational aims: a system of schooling that stresses cultural cohesion and distinct social roles for citizens. To achieve those aims, both Plato and modern American conservatives make use of some form of censorship, a censorship that purifies the society of dangerous ideas. Plato's "Republic" also puts forth a metaphysical stance that suggests a fixed or absolutist view of reality, a view that is central to modern conservatives' curricular agenda. This comparison of Plato and American conservatism adds to the growing literature that critically examines the Right (e.g., Apple 2001; Kumashiro 2008) and, it is hoped, will tease out some of the implicit aims, assumptions, and motivations of educational policymakers in the United States. (Contains 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A