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An Admiring Account

The same respondent continues:

« While Dewey was probably duped by Soviet “Potemkin village” propaganda, he was in good company.  Scores of leftist intellectuals made the same mistakes. »

Leftist  i.e. socialist  intellectuals are not good company, but for Dewey they were appropriate company.

« Dewey, however, perceived the evil of Stalin’s empire despite having been spoon-fed a rosy image of the worker’s paradise. »

In 1929 Dewey acknowledged the gangster tactics of the Bolsheviks and thought those tactics were “isolated from the movement which alone gives them meaning.”  He thought the unsavory facts were “dead” and “evacuated of vital significance.”

Dewey tolerated barbarism, the means, to communism, the end.

The respondent’s mentality:  This fact cannot be justified, so it must be denied.

Dewey praised the alliance of School and State in the Soviet Union, where the government controlled every aspect of the schools right from the beginning.  This was no Potemkin village.  The alliance and control were there, Dewey saw it, and Dewey praised it.

It’s worth repeating:  ask not that Dewey praised the Soviet Union, rather ask what he praised about it.


Some teachers maintain that Dewey’s intellectual acumen and sense of justice don’t matter.  One respondent is only  « interested in making sure that Dewey scholars don’t dismiss the Alexander-Dewey connection, as many have in the past »   which begs the question of there being any connection in the first place.

As for Dewey’s paraphrases of Alexander, excerpted and considered by themselves they can be construed per Alexander.  I do question the motivation of people who insist on using these excerpts, as opposed to either Alexander’s original account or their own, when the ideas Dewey associates them with have no connection at all.  For example, Dewey claims that Alexander’s notion of the integration of mind and body supports the abolition of private property, as quoted elsewhere on this website.

Though Alexander himself quoted Dewey’s paraphrases, we have less excuse than he did.  The A.T. is well established and needs no endorsement, especially not from Dewey, whose pragmatic philosophy of “new” individualism and liberty has been exposed as old collectivism and dictatorship, and whose educational theories have had such devastating effect in practice.

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