If the People rule, then the People must be wise

Our Enlightenment Forerunners had the insight to see the critical flaw in all historical failures at democratic government, to wit, or not — If the People rule, then the People must be wise.

The consequence is that equally distributed education and information are not just commodities you buy so you and yours can get ahead of them and theirs — they are essential to the intelligent functioning of government and the public interest.

That is why we are supposed to have universal free public education. That is why we used to have a government operated postal service that enabled the free-flow of information at a nominal fee, not whatever price the market would bear.

This entry was posted in Democracy, Education, Governance, Information and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to If the People rule, then the People must be wise

  1. I must say I agree. I’ve had this discussion with a few free-market enthusiasts myself as of late. The point I’ve never seen adequately answered by any proponent of the free market is that profit is not logically equivalent to progress – profit and progress can, and frequently do, come apart. Cutting corners is often the best way to make a few bob.

    What capitalism in general has missed is the value of a thing for its own sake. Education presents itself as an exemplary case – a high standard of education is, as you rightly state, essential if we want to have a high standard of public discourse. The profit motive must be overcome. It has become parasitic on human creativity.

    • Jon Awbrey says:

      I’m really just reciting — “in my own words”, as they used to instruct us — the lesson that our grade-school teachers impressed on our souls many long years ago. I have no idea what happened in the mean time, the very mean time, indeed.

  2. powercorrupts says:

    … and we also need a free flow of information across the net. Too bad people can create their own education now, like free-delivered pizzas with a chunk bitten out of the top. Let them regulate, I say … sometimes two wrongs make it rght.

  3. Reza says:

    The problem is that there might not be a consensus about what wisdom is, worse than that how should it be acquired and what types should be acquired. For example in some middle eastern countries wisdom is considered as only religious and secular or liberal knowledge is not only not considered wisdom but deviance. I think dialogue should be prior to education. We should be able to communicate what we find precious and all of us should be open to accepting better options. But do you think that prejudice would let this happen? it seems that before dialogue we should cure prejudice. But we all have prejudices. So who is going to cure whose prejudice and based on what unbiased ground? I think it would have been better if the world did not exist!!!

  4. abbeboulah says:

    It’s somewhat oversimplifying to declare one aspect of society a ‘critical flaw’, in my opinion — I can think of several equally critical weak spots in the so-called ‘democracy’ governance system. But I agree with the conclusion that public education is necessary, as well as infrastructure institutions such as the postal system — and we might add public information media like radio, TV, the internet. I like to use the road system as a vehicle for the point that such infrastructure must be public — the roads are there to allow everybody to reach their different destinations in opposite directions, but in order to make that possible, there have to be some agreed upon rules that everybody follows: which side of the road are we going to drive on? The attacks on public education seem to be based on a perception like an idea of public education as all one-way roads, all leading to the same place, which of course defies the purpose. What does it take to change that perception to one that accepts the role of public education as that of giving us the tools and means to collectively create public infrastructure (of all kinds) that enables all of us to pursue our different goals?

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