Paths and Choices: Paths in Education 4.0.0
If we actually want children to learn the attitudes and behaviors of moral Growth, then our system of education needs to choose them and act deliberately to foster them. This can be no accident. Every family, school, culture, religion, community, state, or nation teaches specific values and expectations – whether consciously or unconsciously. Often the path to moral Decay is easy to find by accident. But Decay may also be deliberately taught to us or rewarded by those who wish for and need dependent, fearful, helpless, obedient followers. Not thinking at all or letting someone else think for us is certainly easier than thinking, choosing, or acting for ourselves. Decay is necessary for oligarchs, dictatorships, and totalitarian systems. But Decay destroys the essential strengths needed for a democratic form of government.
Public Education 4.1.0
Public education is the foundation of a democracy because democracy is based on all of the people, on all of their skills and knowledge, on all of their choices and actions. The more powerful that small, select groups get, the less likely it is that the majority will be expected, required, or even forced to make important choices. Someone else will do it. Someone else will know. Someone else will choose. Someone else will think. This easy path leads to helplessness and hopelessness, passivity and ignorance, authoritarian control, and, in the end, loss of democracy itself. Public schools are the most important public institutions we have to teach moral Growth to all of us for the sake of all of us – because we must live and learn as though there will be a tomorrow! Public schools must actively choose to teach, guide, encourage, even direct students toward moral Growth – because moral Decay means death to a democracy.
Without Words We Cannot Think
Doing good vs. Being good [unconscious and constant goodness]: “As for Doing-good, that is one of the professions which are full. . . . If I were to preach at all in this strain, I should say rather, Set about being good. . . . There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted. . . . There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve. It is the pious slave-breeder devoting the proceeds of every tenth slave to buy a Sunday’s liberty for the rest. . . . [Rather] goodness must not be a partial and transitory act, but a constant superfluity, which costs him nothing and of which he is unconscious.” Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), “Economy,” Walden