Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What Does Bennish Think?

The popular argument against Jay Bennish is that he was passing off his own views as lecture points. The problem is, we don’t know that Jay Bennish actually does hold those views. It seems to me that there is very little opinion which can be attributed to Bennish himself.

He states directly that he thought Bush’s SOTU had the tone of a Hitler speech. I think that is the only time he truly shares his own opinion. And he does state it as opinion, not fact.

There are other times he seems to share his opinions, like that the U.S. is the most violent nation on Earth. But those are actually facts that may be disputed (a more accurate and fair statement may have been “The U.S., considered by many to be the greatest democracy on Earth, is one of the most violent nations on Earth).

He suggests by implication what he may think, if you jump to conclusions — like that the Iraq war may have been started mainly for profit, or that capitalism may be inhumane. But those, if the context of the entire class were known, may actually be opinions of others which he passes on. He was talking about Venezuela when the recording started. Could he have been referring to why people like Hugo Chavez would urge the world to transcend capitalism?

Other opinions he shared, such as that the United States and Israel are terrorists, are definitely attributed to others.

What is always left out when Bennish is being castigated for indoctrinating students and not fostering critical thinking is the fact that the students were expected to research, analyze, and dissect everything said in class, and write a paper or make an oral argument for extra credit.

(Another comment on someone else's blog that I liked so much, I reposted it here.)

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