In a previous post, I discussed at length the purpose of education. In this essay, I ask, “What is the goal of education?” This is where a lot of people get tripped up; they confused “purpose” with “goal” and/or “outcome.” I don’t see much point in arguing the purpose of education; the goal however, is more open to debate. What do I think the goal is?:
To impart a person with a competent understanding of the world around them, and the justified confidence to find their place within it.
I admit, my concept of the goal is fuzzy: who decides what “competent” means? What is a curriculum of “significant depth?” I don’t have an answer to these questions, but I think in the future others will. Big data tools and methodologies applied to education achievement tracking could quantitatively gauge the breadth and depth of a student’s understanding, even when comparing students with totally different curricula.
A person subjected to a rigorous education (but not hothousing) upsets many stakeholders in society. Advertisers and other propagandists would find their trade difficult to ply. Careerist politicians and demagogues, such as Al Sharpton and Barack Obama, would never be able to find work. How do we produce such men however? What would the system look like that would provide education in this manner?
In terms of curricula, Charles Murray’s book “Real Education” discusses at length some examples that completely blow out of the water anything I had in school, so I’d call those a good start. After 13 years in the Florida public schools, I can flatly attest the education I received was painfully lacking in breadth and rigor – as though I had been completely cut off from my own history. I have been astonished at books from the Western Tradition that I discover in old book shops, on Amazon, and on Google Books that make me wince and say, “Why didn’t we read this book in school?” A few examples:
- The Republic (we ended up reading it first semester at university)
- The Autobiography of Ben Franklin
- The Writings of Thomas Paine
- The Communist Manifesto
- The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
- Up From Slavery
- The Gulag Archipelago
- Mein Kampf
- On Liberty
- The Writings of James Madison
- The Writings of Thomas Jefferson
- On the Social Contract
- The Art of War (not part of the Western Tradition, but wholly indispensable. A whole different blog post is necessary to scratch the contributions from the East)
- On War
- The Histories
- City of God
- The Wealth of Nations
- The Essays of Michel de Montaigne
- The Consolation of Philosophy
- …The Bible?
Much of my “self-education” from about 2008 onward has been playing a game of “catch-up” by delving into these old classics of Western literature, attempting to discover and reconnect to our past. Despite my doctorate, I am hesitant to call myself an “educated” person. I have read only a fraction of the books above. Among other shortcomings of mine:
- I never learned Latin in school
- I know virtually nothing of the Greek or Roman classics (except for The Odyssey)
- I know but a fraction of the works of William Shakespeare
- My knowledge of poetry is practically zero.
- Likewise, I know virtually nothing of classical music, or the classical composers
(As an aside, I am perplexed as to why anyone would go to college for a philosophy degree, when The Great Books of the Western World complete set can be bought from Barnes and Noble (and shipped to your door) for a little over a grand.)
Part of me is angry that these treasures were kept so hidden from my sight for so long, and that it is only because of the internet that I have rediscovered them. Why did our educators decide to throw it all away? Why did they decide the Classical Western education wasn’t worth a damn? Part of it I suspect is because Silicon Valley can’t make money off an education based on students reading paper books and writing with graphite pencils. And of course, the Marxists and crazy white liberals that own the education field are anti-Western to the core, and have no interest in the propagation of classical Western thought.
How to actually implement an ideal school?
Among other qualities, the ideal school would account for a child’s intrinsic, inherited, cognitive ability. In other words: their IQ. I am not going to waste time here going on a long-winded defense of the concept of IQ, when others have done a far-more admirable job. Murray and Herrnstein’s “The Bell Curve” has been prophetic since its printing in 1996. I have not yet read the text, but Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” supposedly also does the concept justice. The online writings of Steve Sailer on the subject of IQ are also illuminating. Contrary to all of the hollow egalitarianism that infects education these days, there really are winners and losers in education; the winners are born with good genes that grant them a high intellect; the losers, a poor one. As I have written previously, our advanced technological society requires many highly-educated, highly-intelligent people to keep running. The only way to get these people to exist is to exploit the scarce resource of high-IQ people. Economists refer to these people as “human capital.” They are people that can “make it go.” 21st-century America will be in direct competition technologically with Red China, Japan, Russia, and Brazil. We will need the best people, and to push them the hardest we can, to get them to go up against that level of competition. The purpose of the educational establishment is to identify children of high intellectual capability, and hit them with everything they’ve got. It’s other purpose is to weed out those for whom education is a waste of time, and get them out of school.
I think IQ segregation is a wonderful idea. The actual cutoffs are debatable, but as an example:
- Class I: < 60
- Class II: 60-70
- Class III: 71-80
- Class IV: 81-90
- Class V: 91-100
- Class VI: 101-110
- Class VII: 111-120
- Class VIII: 121+
The curriculum would reflect the IQs of the students in the class. It is pointless to waste time attempting to teach logarithms to fools. I think this would be an excellent idea, since this ensures that the brilliant are concentrated together, and kept well away from abuse by the lower classes. Classroom discipline would be strictly enforced. Troublemakers and degenerates would be dismissed from schooling. Every child does deserve a chance; but not an eleventh or twelfth one. There are many people in this world for whom education is an unbearable torture, and so it is pointless to drag them to school every day on the remote chance that they will have a cognitive epiphany. Serious infractions would result in immediate expulsion. A good alternative is to funnel these people into vocational schooling, where they may be better off learning a trade that uses their hands. The Red Chinese and Indians must laugh at us, as we endlessly coddle idiots and criminals in our school systems.
A Brief Aside on Homeschooling
Homeschooling is merely a semi-viable option. It appears to be a poor choice due to the enormous financial and time sacrifices it puts on the family. Under what conditions is homeschooling more favorable? If the nearby schools become too violent, then homeschooling becomes more attractive. If there is one parent that is competent to give the education, while the other is competent to make a living to support everyone, then it becomes more apealing. Homeschooling is hardly the domain of religious fundamentalists these days. Educated adults want a better education for their children than the gap-obsessed public schools will provide. Quite a few professors I knew at university homeschooled their children. It seems apparent there are some problems if brilliant people are purposely taking their children out of public school. As a big plus, homeschooling totally removes the political aspect of education; at least, assuming the parents aren’t politically indoctrinating their own children. Propaganda masquerading as education is one of the more dreary developments of the 20th century, as Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and Mao demonstrated (though there is some truth to the idea that “all education is propaganda.”). Homeschooling is actually quite dangerous to the current political order, as it creates a class of citizens that are politically unreliable.