Professor Trompsky, welcome to our studio. At 87, do you have any plans for retirement?
Listen, the burden of the world rests on my shoulders. I can’t just give up because the fragility that is slowly but certainly shutting down my body. My responsibilities are grand, and with grandure I shall go to the grave. Can we talk about something less morbid now, provided such a topic exists in the current state of the world? [chuckles]
Yes we can. How would you analyze the current state of political discourse?
It is the fundamental unwillingness to learn from the other side, as people refer to political opponents, that strikes me as dangerous. I don’t see a humorous and convivial back and forth of well-stated arguments, but a general retreat from eloquence and the joy of seeking out a worthy opponent. Believe me, there have been better times for political debate.
What do you suggest as a solution, professor?
Well, there is no panacea. We have to carefully prepare the public for more sophisticated discourse. Right now, they seem to accept very low intellectual standards. We should welcome contrarians at our institutions of higher learning. We should let no student graduate who takes one particular standpoint without seriously questioning it, before their third year in college. Universities should teach students how to be your own best critic, not how to be your own best proselytiser.
Thank you for your clear suggestion. Do you think it has any change of success?
Of course not. I am just saying these things because I owe it to my stature as an intellectual giant. I am playing the character people expect me to play.
Do you never lose hope?
What do you want me to say? Professor Trompsky never lose hope.