29-12-08

On Education

" (..) but we have only to proceed in improving our civil polity, conferring the benefits of education upon all, (..) and we may be quite sure that the effect to which I look forward, and which can alone render these advantages permanent, will follow." Malthus, An essay on the Principle of Population, Cambridge University Press 1992, p. 358.

"As long as the nations of Europe continue barbarous enough to purchase slaves in Africa, we may be quite sure that Africa will continue barbarous enough to supply them." ibid., p. 364.


Before wandering off again on more analytical slumberings, there is something that I felt I needed to say on practical politics. There is, luckily, the irreversible evolution towards universal adoption in theory at least of universal human rights. But, unluckily enough, there's a double problem of uncritical extension of these rights including all benefits deemed acquired in the Western wellfare state, combined with, prohibitively impractical attitudes towards their universal adoption in actual practice.

Any situation in which the amount and extent of universals is unduely blown out of a reasonable proportion can only lead, as a matter of fact, to irrational emotions (that are, in turn, the gravest threats to the actual universal rights). On the other hand, it is unfortunately so that a companion problem of demanding anything sub-standard to be rectified ipso facto in a binary way aggravates these emotions to this point we all know too well of claiming to be the purest - thereby reducing the universal rights to an instrument to the benefit of irrational emotions rather than: the true target of sane policy.

The problem is one of education. Rather: it is a double problem of education.

There is a lack of education in a happy few secularized and economically developed states on the actual principles underlying the universal rights. Politicians are left too unchallenged bandying about these universal rights as a matter of faith, more often than not making these universal rights subservient to some or other particular faith as per the tradition of their parents. The rational grounding of these rights is rarely mentioned such that citizens in these countries don't appreciate the freestanding & noble independence of these rights. At bottom these rational grounds aren't taught precisely because the critical discussion of these grounds is left to intellectual elites (and one thinks 'so called' almost implicitly with this concept) only to pour scorn on them for not merely accepting these secular rights out of some sort of secular faith quite like the faith in the revealed truths of the various religions.

Obviously there is even more of a lack of education in the developing world. Not in all but some extreme cases there is not only a lack of education because of a lack of means or a lack of education on the part of the parents but there's government ban on education (mostly of specific groups, these groups mostly oonsisting of the females). This lack is the real problem - if we could remedy the education gap, the consequently educated would no doubt remedy the rest of the gap - and that's the thing I wanted to discuss. There is a hierarchy of universal human rights & stability and food and lodging (and all of those other Biblical things) are not the top of it - not even the familiar political rights of a secular society or at the top of it. There's only education that can top that list.

So there: the practical solution lies in reapplying Malthus' slavery quote to the present case. We can only expect to see improvement there if we educate and criticize here. We can only support from here when we discriminate foreign governments primarily on the basis of a real push there to improve education to the local citizens. Only by learning to learn things independently can human beings be expected to create an independent mind; only with an independent mind can human beings be truely called human.

Voilà!


Whilst writing this I was listening to Massive Attack, Safe from Harm.

22:21 Gepost door Guido Nius in Liefde | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: language, optimism, malthus, dynamics, universals |  Facebook |

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