Dec

25

Bastiat"I, the father of a family, and the teacher whom I hire for the education of my son, may both believe that genuine education consists in teaching what things are and what effects they produce, in the physical order as well as in the moral order. We may think that he is the best educated who has the most exact idea of phenomena and best understands the connection between causes and effects. We should like to base education on this assumption. But the state has another idea… Now, what does the state do? It says to us: "Teach what you want to your student; but when he is twenty years old, I shall question him concerning the opinions of Thales and Pythagoras; I shall have him scan the verses of Plautus; and if he is not good enough in these matters to prove to me that he has devoted the whole of his youth to them, he will be able to become neither a physician nor a barrister nor a magistrate nor a consul nor a diplomat nor a teacher." From that moment I am forced to submit, for I will not take upon myself the responsibility of closing to my son so many fine careers. You may tell me that I am free; but I say that I am not, since you reduce me to making a pedant of my son, at least from my point of view-perhaps a frightful little rhetorician-and unquestionably an unruly rebel. If only the knowledge required for the bachelor's degree still bore some relation to the needs and the interests of our age! If at least it were merely useless! But it is deplorably harmful. To pervert the human mind-that is the problem which seems to have been posed and which has been solved by those to whom the monopoly of education has been handed over."


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