January 16, 2011

PUBLIC EDUCATION IS NOT THERE TO PREPARE YOU FOR A JOB...:

Democracy Imperiled? (Herbert I. London, January 13, 2011, Hudson Institute)

For a variety of reasons, Plato was suspicious of democracy. The idea of majority rule could lead to excesses that undermine the body politic, he noted. His alternative of rule by the intelligentsia is equally flawed in my judgment, but at the moment in which fractures in this democratic republic are increasingly apparent, it seems appropriate to assess the conditions that have given rise to our problems.

First, and perhaps most notably, a democratic republic depends on an educated populace and adherence to certain norms of behavior. It is evident, however, that Americans have a far greater interest in amusing themselves than in educating themselves. Even the extraordinary number of college graduates reveals little about educational attainment since so many are trained in incapacity. Many colleges in the United States are only faintly related to education at all, and many that purport to train simply instill an ideological canon on their students.

In a recent ISI survey on civil knowledge, a majority of college graduates could not name the three branches of government.

While democracies confer rights, these rights only have meaning when understood against concomitant duties. The duties of citizenship fall into the categories of understanding, work, loyalty, trust, and sacrifice. If individuals are so self-absorbed that they cannot assist others, democracy cannot succeed. The sinews of the state are dependent on civil understanding and cooperation.


...but to be a citizen.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 16, 2011 9:32 AM
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