Further Comments on Public Education
A blog commenter wrote:
“I think I disagree with this. I think Plato’s concefpt of public education particularly in elementary is a really nice way to preserve a society – that is kung matutupad ng maayos… As for your opinion regarding “The Seeds of Evil: How Communism Infiltrates Public Universities?” I don’t think communism is bad per se, naging masama na lang siguro because of propaganda, anyway, everything is a matter of propaganda, marketing, advertising, however, you may want to call it – mind conditioning lang… I’m from PUP, though, radical kung sa radical ang tingin ng iba, outrsiders will not really understand… you have to take something in context to real get the essence of it… the problem with the news is that they take something out of context and sensationalize it, kaya ganun… tuition fee increase is not the issue but the percentage of the increase, plus hindi man lang na explain kasi why it was for… But in the age of propaganda, it’s not about the point, it’s how you get the point across…”
Here’s my reply:
In fact both Plato and Aristotle were in favor of vesting the function of education with the state. It was one of the minor errors of Aristotle, but he “corrected” himself thousands of years later through his Epistemology when the United States, through its Founding Fathers, established a Constitution that was founded on Aristotelian philosophy. Between Aristotle and Plato, I’d pick Aristotle. Plato was a mystic; Aristotle was pro-reason. Aristotle was the first intellectual on earth.
The irony is, Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum were private, although the latter was open to the public and offered free of charge. Yes, the philosophical father of America was Aristotle. America’s Constitution rejected the idea of people’s “right to education” for the founding fathers believed that that would lead to the use of force against the citizens through the power of taxation. But more than a hundred years after the founding of America, the education “rightists” led by an American education reformer named Horace Mann established public education system in America as we know it today. We later on adopted this Horacean mentality in 1899 when our forefathers adopted our very first Constitution, which provided that “[p]ublic education shall be free and obligatory in all schools of the nation.”
But before the establishment of public education system in America, schools were private and children were taught through private tutorial and home schooling. That was the time America rose from a British colony to the greatest country on earth. You should know that America was built by its first industrialists, namely, Andrew Carnegie (who was a working student from age 12), James J. Hill (who was offered a free tuition in a private school but had to drop out after his father died), Edward H. Harriman (who quit school at age 14 to take a job as an errand boy on Wall Street in New York City), Cornelius Vanderbilt (who began working on his father’s ferry in New York harbor as a boy and quit school at the age of 11), and John D. Rockefeller (who started working as an assistant bookkeeper at age 16).
This shows that the greatest country on earth reached its status not because of imperialism as most socialists and liberals claim, but because of its great industrialists who built America’s free-enterprise before and during the 18th century. The irony here is that the ideological fathers of public education system and statism- Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels- were both born to aristocrat and wealthy family. Also, Horace Mann, the father of public education in America, was born to a rich and well-known family, he graduated valedictorian of his class in 1819, and he was a highly educated man. Yet these highly educated intellectual ‘elites’ were nothing compared to the highly superior mentality and reality-based wisdom of men like Carnegie, Hill, Harriman, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt who earned their way out of poverty in order to become the economic pillars and the best representatives of America’s free-market enterprise.
Now, now, now… Please don’t ever tell me the video below only applies to America. If you’re really a thinking being, you’d understand that the principles behind public education or private education, for that matter, apply everywhere. Those who kept on telling me that what I’m talking about applies only in the US or in the West are so stupid because they didn’t know what they’re talking about. So what’s good for the Philippines then? Socialism? I have commenters who told me that Ayn Rand’s views cannot be implemented in the Philippine setting. But these ideas are not simply Ayn Rand’s views. These are universal principles that can work in any social or geographical setting so long as the people understand the ‘real’ concept of reason. Of course, these ideas are banned from collectivist societies like Iran (because of their anti-man religion), Cuba (because of their anti-individualist ideology), and North Korea (because it’s a dictatorship). My critics should understand that before Ferdinand Magellan discovered our group of Islands, the Philippines as we know it today had no political, social and geographical identity yet. There were only ethnic and tribal groups prior to the more than 300 years occupation of Spain. But during Spain’s occupation, our society was firmly grounded in religion, specifically Catholicism. So what really applies to the Philippine setting then? Religion? Ethnic traditions? I say that we need a system grounded in reality, and the only system that could work in our country is free-market capitalism.