In 1794, a radical under the pen name Democratus cautioned his fellow democrats against adopting the “British maxim” that supported blind obedience to authority and tradition. Rather, Democratus vehemently advocated dissent in the new republic, promoting the Jeffersonian and Paineite theme of generational sovereignty and beginning anew by actively engaging in democratic deliberation and ideology critique. Democratus recognized the importance of praxis, critically reflecting on dominant ideologies and acting on what one learns to create a more happy and just society.
This blog serves as a public medium wherein I critically reflect upon, write about, and normatively evaluate a variety of issues. Following the advice given by Democratus, and many theorists who came before and after him, I engage in critically thinking about ideas, ethics, politics, literature, multiculturalism, democracy, education, and social justice.
The importance I place on free speech and dissent rests upon a quote I read years ago by John Stuart Mill:
“The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
Like Democratus, J.S. Mill believed that free and open deliberation served as the best means of achieving truth. My blog is devoted to analyzing and critically thinking about politics, education, history, philosophy, ideologies, and literature.
Publications by Brian Dotts:
Dotts, Brian W. (Work in Progress). The Whig Party and Education Reform during the Antebellum Period.
Dotts, Brian W. Work in Progress. Educating Thomas Jefferson’s Political Animal: The History and Philosophy of his ‘Little Republics’.
Dotts, Brian W. (Work in Progress). ‘With the Design of Being Useful to My Country’: The Critical Pedagogy of Robert Coram, Teacher and
Dotts, Brian W. (In press). “Schooling in the ‘Iron Cage’ and the Crucial Role of Interpretive, Normative, and Critical Perspectives in Social Foundations Studies.” Educational Studies (Special issue: Critical, Interpretive, and Normative Perspectives of Educational Foundations: Contributions for the 21st Century) March/April.
Dotts, Brian W. (2012) “‘Making Rome Appear More Roman’: Common Schooling and the Whig Response to Jacksonianism.” Journal of Philosophy and History of Education 62 (1): 207–226.
Dotts, Brian W. (2012). The Political Education of Democratus: Negotiating Civic Virtue during the Early Republic. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield.
Dotts, Brian W. (2010). “The Democratic-Republican Societies: An Educational Dream Deferred.” Educational Horizons 88 no. 3, 179-192.
Dotts, Brian W. (2006). “Cato’s Resolve and the Revolutionary Spirit: Political Education, Civic Action, and the Democratic-Republican Societies of the 1790s.” In Donald Warren and John Patrick (Eds.), Moral and Civic Learning in the United States (pp. 33-50). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.