Monday, December 12, 2005

More Chesterton: Education

While I'm on Fancies vs Fads I wanted to put another quote, Dale Ahlquist again.

Another hotbed for fads that burn out quickly is education, where new ideas are continually tried out on young minds at the expense of the old tried and true ideas. The loss of respect of tradition always “makes life narrower and not broader.” The modern “educationists” have things exactly backwards. They presume be more liberal by leaving religion out of education. But religion is a large thing to leave out. They want to avoid being “dogmatic” but as Chesterton points out, that is not possible: “There are only two kinds of people, those who accept dogmas and know it, and those who accept dogmas and don't know it.” They think the point of education is to prepare people for the world, but it is not; it is to prepare people for the home, which is the place where all the important things in life happen. The inside of a house, says Chesterton, is larger than the outside. “Private life is more important than public life.” But that is not what is taught in any public school.
While I'm at it:

Articles on Education from Catholic Resource Center

Especially, The Adolescent Society

What's Wrong with the World

"Education is tradition, and tradition (as its name implies) can be treason.

"This first truth is frankly banal; but it is so perpetually ignored in our political prosing that it must be made plain. A little boy in a little house, son of a little tradesman, is taught to eat his breakfast, to take his medicine, to love his country, to say his prayers, and to wear his Sunday clothes. Obviously Fagin, if he found such a boy, would teach him to drink gin, to lie, to betray his country, to blaspheme and to wear false whiskers. But so also Mr. Salt the vegetarian would abolish the boy's breakfast; Mrs. Eddy would throw away his medicine; Count Tolstoi would rebuke him for loving his country; Mr. Blatchford would stop his prayers, and Mr. Edward Carpenter would theoretically denounce Sunday clothes, and perhaps all clothes. I do not defend any of these advanced views, not even Fagin's. But I do ask what, between the lot of them, has become of the abstract entity called education. It is not (as commonly supposed) that the tradesman teaches education plus Christianity; Mr. Salt, education plus vegetarianism; Fagin, education plus crime. The truth is, that there is nothing in common at all between these teachers, except that they teach. In short, the only thing they share is the one thing they profess to dislike: the general idea of authority. It is quaint that people talk of separating dogma from education. Dogma is actually the only thing that cannot be separated from education. It is education. A teacher who is not dogmatic is simply a teacher who is not teaching."

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