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Values & Ethics Dialogues

Archived Radio Interviews


What’s the Matter w/ America? Analysis of Social Problems

America's social problems include homelessness

What is the matter with America? What social problems plague us? Jason brings a representative of the conservative political perspective to highlight the questions, and potential answers. What are the root causes of the issues and problems America faces? Is it selfishness? Media gone mad? Money in politics? Aggression and attachment to guns? A lack of personal responsibility any more? Racism? Cockiness? Political correctness? Money in politics? Moral dilapidation? Commercialism? Lack of a good relationship with God? Tune in to an interesting discussion on values and ethics!

To keep a bit of balance, Jason, no slouch when it comes to the progressive perspective on social problems and personal growth, invited an individual on the political Right to the interview: Robert Peters, President of the organization Morality in Media. A very engaging discussion for sure! Social problems were certainly looked at head-on. “I think true wisdom is greatly lacking in American society – my personal opinion. It’s definitely lacking in our Supreme Court at this moment in time,” Peters notes. Here is a website that I think is fair to alert you to about Peters’ group, Morality in Media. Note: Morality in Media changed its name to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Their website shows their focus: “Founded in 1962, National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE), formerly Morality in Media (MIM), is the leading national organization dedicated to opposing pornography by highlighting the links to sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse, and addiction.” Jason was able to get Mr. Peters to pull the focus back a bit and talk about the scope of problems America faces from a broad perspective (e.g., also politics and economics).

 


Wisdom, Knowledge, and Information

wisdom begins with knowledge

This engaging interview was with Copthorne Macdonald, author and creator of the very successful Wisdom Page, and Nicholas Maxwell, author, thought leader and professor who wrote the book (literally): From Knowledge to Wisdom. Both Cop and Nick were also featured in the book Living a Life of Value, and especially now that Cop has passed away, the values and wisdom he promulgated while alive is all the more valuable. The careful listener will find much insight, inspiration, and plenty of wisdom quotes. For example, Cop encourages us with things such as this: On the bright side, we see the amazing power of individual wise people to change things for the better. Their accomplishments are all out of proportion to their numbers. Consider the best of each year’s nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize, for instance. What would our world be like if there were millions with their dedication, skills, and wise perspectives on life?

Both experts in this field note that it is not easy, necessarily, to find the way forward. It certainly involves education, but also personal growth and individualized lifelong learning. Cop notes: “The situation the world faces today is incredibly complex. Long-cherished values have begun to conflict with each other: material comfort vs. an uncontaminated world; economic growth versus economic well-being for our grandchildren. And things just seem to get worse.” Certainly we don’t see much wisdom evident from politicians’ decisions and corporate leaders’ actions. We desperately need change; we need a revolution in wisdom, in fact.

Nicholas Maxwell, Lecturer at University College, London, adds the following about education and the unsurpassed utility and reward of philosophical discourse: “Failure to teach philosophy to five-year-olds, as a central, unifying part of the curriculum, is the result of mistaken assumptions about both children and philosophy.” He also sees the value of philosophical inquiry at the other, more advanced end of the educational spectrum, as well: “The primary intellectual aim of the humanities and social inquiry, quite generally, is to help us realize what is of value to us in our personal and social lives. What ultimately matters is personal and social progress towards enlightenment and wisdom: all academic progress is but a means to this end.”

 


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