The Dramas of Politics: An Introduction to the Joys of Inquiry

The Dramas of Politics: An Introduction to the Joys of Inquiry

The Dramas of Politics: An Introduction to the Joys of Inquiry

The Dramas of Politics: An Introduction to the Joys of Inquiry

Excerpt

This volume is a labor of love -- of ideas, of students, and of the thought that the two can come together. For a variety of reasons, ideas and students have tended to remain apart in recent years. If this book in any way contributes to their union -- or, better, reunion -- this love will be fulfilled.

The notion that ideas are valuable, and that one should use them to increase comprehension of a problem before acting to solve it, has been a major casualty of the hectic times in which we live. To be rational is not to be virtuous these days, and some even argue that virtue is to be found in irrationality. Thus to the extent that some students yield to impulse and curb reflection, value passion and denigrate sober inquiry, espouse emotional expression and avoid intellectual curiosity, they are only mirroring the larger society. Thus, too, many of them find studying tedious, classrooms dull, and libraries boring.

In extolling rationality I do not mean to downgrade feeling or commitment. I have learned a great deal from today's students about the satisfactions that come from giving in to one's impulses and expressing one's emotions, with the result that in what follows there is no attempt to hide the unrelenting and strong commitment from which this book has sprung. Yet one can be both impulsive and reflective, emotional and thoughtful, and the book is addressed to demonstrating the balance between the two. In the words of its original subtitle -- no less accurate than the present one -- this volume is a passionate appeal for dispassionate analysis.

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