Putting Wisdom to Work: Cornel West



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Most recently there was a forum whereby, top leaders in the African American community held a forum to discuss matters concerning Measuring the Movement. It allowed many of the people who attended the forum to be aware about how much accountability and democracy is vital in society. Some notable people who spoke at the forum were President Obama, Al, Sharpton and Ben Jealous, the president of NAACP. Blacks in the United States are in need of leadership that is action oriented (West, 2004. 89). So far the leadership as well as the authority, which exists, does not serve the needs of the black community. The leadership the people are advocating is for is known as being sound bite. The situation at hand needs to be solved as soon as possible before it escalates any further. According to Cornel West, the partnership, which exists between Al Sharpton and Cornel West, is short circuit. West believes that the black community should be ready to ensure that all its leaders are accountable.

This paper seeks to give a critical analysis on how Socratic questioning and deeper understanding can be used to achieve democracy in America.

Critical analysis of Cornel West’s notions of achieving democracy in the United States

Cornel West is interested in matters concerning democracy in most parts of the world. He believes that American Nihilism, youth culture, which is urban and Palestinian struggle, is common democracy problems. Apathy and imperialism are being affected by the status quo on intellectual matters. Cornel equates himself to an American who has taken up the role of Socrates (West, 2004. 91). This means that he is constantly questioning Socrates as well as his notions. Political action is achieved when questioning occurs, and this is extremely vital to society. In most parts of the world, including the United States, democracy is deepening at extremely levels. In terms of nihilism Cornel believes that, in the electoral politics of America, apathy is wide spread. Most people uphold values such as authoritarianism, militarism and materialism. Americans are aware of the fact that political leadership is in the power of two parties.  They both attempt to satisfy their own interests as well as obtaining money from the corporate world. The parties are full of discontent and apathy, which in turn, affects the American voters.

It is through Socratic questioning and deeper democracy that the American public will benefit. This is why Cornel is extremely against the practice of imperialism. In turn, Americans choose not to vote as they do not have the information that they need. Furthermore, the corporate world is in power, and they public does not challenge authority. Socrates is the founder of such reasoning, and now Cornel seeks to make it be known in the modern world. People are not aware of what their interests are, thus, the reason why they do not cater to their own interests. There is a need for deeper understanding on the matter concerning democracy and Socratic question (West, 2011.1).

In everyday life people carry out tasks while under the pretense of consciousness, which is false. On the other hand, West is always advocating for ruling classes to be just and to cater to those who are disadvantaged. In order to obtain knowledge, some people believe that their mission is to challenge imperialism. In turn, there is no prominent place whereby, they have access to intellectual vanguard (Mejia, 2007, 25). Socratic reasoning can be achieved if the ruling class leads others. It is often difficult for people to have the courage to engage in dialogue and dogmatic policy as they as they are always scrutinized. Liberal progressives are known to use the tactic known as dialogue.

Action will only be possible if people understand what needs to be done in order to enhance democracy. According to West, there are three dogmas, which are responsible for enforcing imperialism. They include; militarism, capitalism and authoritarianism. Furthermore, it is not possible to challenge the various notions. People have even ignored the message put across by Martin Luther King concerning freedom. The youth are now in an era known as ‘bling bling’, which mostly focuses on materialism. The Obama regime has been enforcing capitalism in the United States (West, 2011.1). Moreover, it does not seek to address problems concerning inequalities, that are racial, and economic, poverty and materialism. This means that the system is not just and it has failed in its various missions. The government of America is only interested in matters that concern ‘we’ instead of vital matters. Americans are behaving like hypocrites as they blame the world, yet they cannot handle their own problems. If America is to win the war on imperialism, it should also be imperialist. It is ironic how some politicians claim to be democrats, yet they do not engage in any democratic practices. It will be hard to realize the dream of having and living in a country that is purely democratic.


In conclusion, Cornel West is right in advocating for democracy in America. This will ensure that people who are disadvantaged have a say in society. Moreover, they will be represented by interest groups who are involved in Socratic questioning and deeper understanding issues.



Work Cited

West, Cornel. Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight against Imperialism. New York: Penguin Press, 2004. Print.

West, Cornel. Video. Retrieved from the UI library. December 12, 2011.

Mejia, Camilo. Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Sergeant Camilo Mejia. New York: New Press, 2007. Print.


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