Socratic thinking, the act of questioning everything to arrive at the truth, seems to be in short supply in a high school education. In our homeschooling, we talk daily about current events, but our interest has been peaked by the Edward Snowden saga.
Because a whistle-blower against the United States government is a big event, there has been a great deal of news coverage about Snowden.
Additionally, since this story will be covered to its logical conclusion, it makes the event easier to follow for our Socratic thinking purposes.
Photograph: The Guardian/AFP/Getty Images
Columnists are writing daily about Snowden, so it was difficult to choose one article. However, one in particular peaked our family’s interest in our Socratic thinking lesson. Jon Rappoport, a decidedly independent, investigative journalist for 30 years, has written an article questioning the authenticity of NOT the leaked information, but of Snowden himself.
I earned a bachelor’s in journalism in 1977 during the Watergate era, so when I noticed Rappoport’s article and read his credentials, I wanted to share his unique perspective with my sons.
In short, Rappoport’s article offers comments on a different aspect of Snowden’s saga (#4 exploring different perspective) from the numerous “hero/traitor” articles, but ultimately I admit to a bias that I will probably believe what he writes.
I’ll link below to the article, but basically, Rappoport believes the information about the NSA spying is accurate, but the primary thrust of his blog is that Snowden is a CIA operative tasked with embarrassing the NSA.
Rappaport questions some of the details about Snowden’s background and the plausibility of some of the events leading up to his acquiring the NSA information. Basically, it is the idea that once CIA, always CIA.
Next, while many Americans are reeling about this massive and warrantless encroachment into citizen’s lives, Rappoport believes that this is an example of an inter-agency turf war between the CIA and the NSA.
Earlier this year in April 2013 Congress increased the NSA’s budget by almost $1 billion and has cut the CIA´s and other agencies by similar amounts, so it's NSA in, CIA, out.
If you were the CIA, would you put up with this without a fight?
The CIA is simply trying to regain financial standing by exposing the NSA’s privacy assault on the American public. That doesn’t mean that the CIA isn’t guilty of equally outrageous surveillance, but they didn’t get caught this time. Money is power and the CIA isn’t going to lose its financing without a “fight."
Finally, since Snowden’s passport has been revoked, he is stuck in the Russian airport until he gets asylum from Russia, another country, or is returned to the United States. Therefore, we have to ask these questions:
1. Questions for clarification.
2. Questions that probe assumptions.
3. Questions that probe reasons and evidence.
4. Questions about viewpoints and perspectives.
5. Questions that probe implications and consequences.
6. Questions about the question.
You can learn more about applied critical thinking for younger children by reading Green Eggs and Ham.
In the next installment, using our newly acquired Socratic thinking skills, I will discuss our family’s questions and reactions about the Bolivian president’s jet being kidnapped for about 15 hours.
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