Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Missing Virtue

While reading this depressing story of the 15 “greenest” celebrities, I pondered what drives them to embrace environmentalism. I think the fundamental problem is the desire to conform to the group. They get their moral validation from the group and can’t bear to live without it.

This is the fruit of progressive education. Dewey stated that the goal of education is to socialize the individual to the group.

According to [progressive education’s] founder, John Dewey, "The school is primarily a social institution," whose central purpose is not "science, nor literature, nor history, nor geography...but the child's own social activities." Our schools certainly embrace both parts of this doctrine: teachers now attend to the child's "social" needs as devoutly as they dismiss his intellectual ones….

The Progressive philosophy maintains that the cause of social strife is the unwillingness of an individual to sacrifice his convictions to the group. Dewey maintained that it is the insistence on distinctions such as "true versus false" and " right versus wrong" that generates social conflict. If only children did not hold strong ideas, disagreement and conflict would evaporate in the sunshine of social harmony. Truth, therefore, is socially fractious--while ignorance is bliss.

Hence, what the Progressives mean by "socialization" is the surrender of one's mind--of one's independent knowledge and judgment--to a "group consensus." According to Dewey, "The mere absorbing of facts and truths is so exclusively individual an affair that it tends very naturally to pass into selfishness. There is no obvious social motive for the acquirement of mere learning, there is no clear social gain in success thereat." This explains why educational standards have plummeted over the years -- why Progressive teaching methods consist primarily of class discussions where everyone's arbitrary opinion is considered equally valid--and why Johnny can't read, write, add or think.

Once truth and logic are dismissed, Johnny is left with one fundamental guide to making choices: his emotions. Explaining the Progressive practice of engaging children in whatever "scientific experiments" they feel like doing, one teacher said: "If students enjoyed working with science-type materials, such as magnets or mirrors, I really don't care if they learned anything." To which a principal replied: "As an educator, I fully agree with that view. As a parent, it scares me to death."
Dewey’s education theory has been quite successful. Progressive education in government schools is bad not primarily because it makes kids stupid, although it does do that, but because it makes them afraid to think for themselves.

Once progressive education has made little conformists, in steps political correctness to direct them as to how they should think. They gladly go along with the group because they can’t stand life outside it.

Even if you sat one of these conformists down and explained that environmentalism makes no sense economically, is bad science and is at root just a leftist attack on capitalism, they couldn’t accept these conclusions for any length of time. Their subconscious mind would bring them back to the fold because they feel bad outside the group. They don’t have the self-esteem and self-confidence to really believe they can be right when so many disagree with them.

What they lack is the greatest victim of progressive education: the virtue of independence.

The left likes to sneers at America as a nation of conservative sheep. This is projection. America is a nation of sheep -- but of sheep who follow the New Leftist ideologies and political correctness that have been indoctrinated into them in 12 years of public education.

If we’re ever going to turn this country around, we need to get people to think for themselves again. This country started with a Declaration of Independence; now it needs a Restoration of Independence.


EdMcGon said...

Ideally, education should do both: socialize AND encourage the development of each child's individual gifts. Unfortunately, the only time the second part is done is when a child is a prodigy. If they are merely "pretty good" at something, they get lumped into the same educational box as everyone else.

SN said...

I suspect that many, being celebrities, have an above-average sense of unworthiness. In a sense, they cannot fully explain and justify their success to themselves.