Thursday, March 29, 2012

Can we handle democracy?

Ok, Robert Hutchins is awesome! I've been reading one chapter of The Great Conversation every morning before I read Herodotus and he said some incredible things that I want to quote here:

     "It would seem that this education [liberal education or study of the best books in history] is the best for everybody, if it is the best for the best, provided everybody can get it. The question, then, is: Can everybody get it? This is the most important question in education. Perhaps it is the most important question in the world...
     If leisure and political power are the reason for liberal education [and he showed earlier that they are], then everybody in America now has this reason, and everybody where democracy and industrialization penetrate will ultimately have it. If leisure and political power require this education, everybody in America now requires it, and everybody where democracy and industrialization penetrate will ultimately require it. If the people are not capable of acquiring this education, they should be deprived of political power and probably of leisure. Their uneducated political power is dangerous, and their uneducated leisure is degrading and will be dangerous. If the people are incapable of achieving the education that responsible democratic citizenship demands, then democracy is doomed, Aristotle rightly condemned the mass of mankind to natural slavery, and the sooner we set about reversing the trend toward democracy the better it will be for the world."

I wholeheartedly agree with Hutchins. I have spent a lot of time over the last few years speaking to and teaching Tea Party Groups and I have been amazed at the overall ignorance of governmental and economic principles. I knew that I didn't get it in school but I guess I had assumed that the truth about government and education was still in place not too long ago. NOT TRUE! There isn't a generation currently living in America that received the education necessary to perpetuate liberty; which explains why we are losing it.

By the way, every influential thinker agrees with Hutchins on this: democracy and republicanism require the widest spread of education-not schooling- to perpetuate that form of government and we aren't getting it!


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