The Empty Marketplace

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My best friend said something that's been nagging me for a while now. We were discussing various positions and opinions on a couple of our pet topics, and I said something about how people didn't really think about their positions. That's when he said:

All through college, everyone kept talking about this "marketplace of ideas" as if people actually had thoughts and could defend them. I haven't seen that, have you? People have opinions, but there isn't the general sense of true thought and give and take of concepts.

Shocked, I realized that was my experience as well. The "marketplace of ideas" is oddly empty.

The Empty Marketplace

Oh, sure, it is possible to bump into a fellow traveler now and again, but there's no Forum or Areopagus where you'll always find a group of thinkers discussing the latest ideas in the general public. You can find such places online, like the Sonlight Forums, where small groups of people will get together and discuss all sorts of things. But I have yet to find a true "marketplace of ideas."

So, I found it interesting that someone would criticize homeschoolers for not participating in the market of ideas, "especially when it comes to biological science."

Thankfully, Dana Hanley gave an excellent response. She pointed out, and I think rightly, that public schools do not have a market of ideas. Rather, children are taught to a test and little else.

What fascinates and bothers me is that we don't seem to have grown out of this. To this day, I see very little discussion and mostly just name calling the likes of which you'd find on a typical playground. May we, as adults engaged in the world of lifelong learning, set up our booths so those looking for good ideas will find us when they wander down the empty aisles marketplace of ideas.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

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