Nick Offerman + Real People on the Classics

And here’s a brief review at Weekly Standard of The Art of Freedom, by Earl Shorris, about teaching the classics to underprivileged students:

Teachers of the humanities have much to learn from The Art of Freedom about the soft bigotry of low expectations—and not just for these students, but for their own. We may know that Socrates and his friends reflected on love and justice even as the Peloponnesian War was destroying Athens. But we are not always confident that the works we teach have the power to draw students away from their immediate concerns. It helps, then, to read the testimony of Ismat Mahmoud Ahmed, head of the philosophy department at the University of Khartoum, about the version of the Clemente Course he helped teach to “internally displaced persons” from Darfur. “At the beginning of the class, there was a prevailing feeling of despair,” says Ahmed, “but as the study progressed that feeling was replaced by hope. .  .  . [T]his might be one of the reasons that strengthened my trust in philosophy.”