Friday, March 26, 2010

Education, Law, and People

[Reposted from]

Law is only necessary to the degree that education is ineffective. The goal of a civil society is to equip people to govern themselves; self-control is more effective than state-control. But don't get me wrong, I would never advocate the immediate abolition of the legal system. Simply and humbly put, written laws are the awkward mitten-hands that point out the borders between right and wrong. Because human interaction is so complicated and full of nuance, we do not possess effective enough language to define the boundaries for every action that borders on criminal infraction. Definite laws are necessarily only a guide, though hopefully they err on the side of freedom. Like any rigid machine, laws need human intelligence to manage the minute details and produce a quality result.

Human intelligence is developed through education. For our purposes, let us consider education in its two most general forms: science and art. Classically speaking, "science" is any technical knowledge (like facts and figures), while "art" involves a more general understanding of application, especially with regard to people. Law is a science, while self-control is an art.

I think it is fair to say that education involves a transfer of information from a given source to a student's mind. If it is, then I believe it is also fair to think of all informational sources as potential education sources. Many of us think of education as simply the textbooks and lectures of formal schooling. And while that media effectively teaches science, it is by its very nature too rigid to teach art. However, I submit that all media transfers some information, and therefore, also some form of education.

Therein lies an important sub-point: certain media (especially image-based media) passively informs its audience. The goal of advertising media, for example, is to instill a want in the viewer. This is accomplished by "educating" the viewer about a set of circumstances which may not represent the truth. I encourage you to consider the passive education you may be receiving.

The real question here is whether or not our culture is learning (from whatever source) the information necessary for each individual to make effective moral and ethical choices with respect to his or her role in the larger picture. A balance between science and art is necessary for total perspective. The degree to which we are over-educated in science is the degree to which we become culturally inflexible, and the degree to which we are overeducated in art is the degree to which we lack an understanding of absolutes. The rigid use of laws, either to define what we all should accept or to reign in those ideas that are outside what we ought to accept, necessarily limits the freedom of the individual.

To return to the thesis of this article, the ability of the individual to control his own ethics (to find his fit) determines his ability to live in accordance with natural laws of human civilization. The degree to which each person is able to this, is the degree to which law would be rendered unnecessary. It is information about the bigger picture that determines a person's fit, and therefore, his reason to want to live in accordance with natural laws.

It is classic literature that studies these nuances; this information. The philosophers, entrepreneurs, and statesmen that wrote these works, wrote them from the trenches of cultural warfare, not from the comfortable halls of idealistic scholarship. These works represent first-hand experience with the subject matter: people. People--those wonderful, emotional creatures that purposefully defy convention and definition. People--the characters that fill the stages and silver screens of real life. People--the constant flaw in any plan, the exception to every rule, and the enduring force of change and balance on Earth.

For information to flow out of the Consortium and represent first-hand experience, we have to work with people. The process of building the Consortium and inspiring our people to read, discuss, write, and apply will serve as the very process of liberally educating each member of our community. A rising tide raises all ships, and this education process will constantly improve our media output to the point that our momentum will be unstoppable.

What makes a classic is it's level of truth and wisdom. Truth and wisdom govern the individual who understands them. A society of individuals who govern themselves do not need a cumbersome, expensive central bureaucracy. This society will be free.
FEATURED MEDIA: A Thomas Jefferson Education - A phenomenal book outlining the need for an increase in classic liberal arts education. This sort of education, which teaches the student the deeper connections of life, is the sort of education that made the Founding Fathers of America. Our education system today is broken, and it is up the independent individual to set things right.

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