Yesterday I commented at McQ’s place that my greatest delusion in life has been my belief in democracy, and that as it always has and always will, democracy will vote itself into ruin. Aristotle was the first to make that observation, I believe. The American founders carefully distinguished between the republic that they were creating and democracy, which they feared. The distinction was fairly quickly lost. Virtue was the thing that would keep a republic going, so long as virtue remained. Democracy turns back, always, to mere appetites, unrestrained by virtue.
Ordered liberty is the virtuous pursuit of the good. It must be moral and ethical. Voting yourself money from your neighbor’s pocket is neither. But it is now the standard mode of American politics, and from that come the outcroppings of postmodern disintegration.
Bruce Thornton discusses, with an appropriate flatness, the horror that our schools and universities have become:
[T]he monopoly on teacher training and certification enjoyed by Schools of Education is what accounts for the deterioration and dysfunction of American education. Lacking any real content, given that the only useful preparation for a teacher is in the subject matter to be taught, Ed Schools have been prey to every lunatic fad that pops up in the pseudo-sciences like psychology or sociology. Whole language reading instruction, the â€œNew Math,â€ will-oâ€™-the-wisps like â€œself esteemâ€ or â€œvalues clarification,â€ and hundreds of other pedagogical equivalents of phrenology or mesmerism have compensated for the simple fact that teaching is an art, not a science, and as such will be learned by actually teaching under the supervision of an experienced and successful teacher, not by sitting in classrooms listening to the latest pop-psychological bunkum about â€œlearning stylesâ€ and such.
The great Thomas Sowell has been hammering on this for years. I’m reading Sowell’s stunning collection of essays, Black Rednecks and White Liberals, slowly, a few paragraphs at a time, usually while I’m waiting in the vehicle for Madam Vandam to come back out of a store. Whenever I read a book that slowly it is because I don’t want to be finished with it. I don’t want to move on to the next one.
“No one knew.” Thomas Sowell knows.