Ironically, I do not believe that I have ever in the halls of the Academy touched on the topic of education, that is, what the government proffers as such.
For it is galling that the State should be a provider of education at all.
We have in the free world in general and the United States in particular a fine tradition of the free press, which institution generally operates as a check against government excess. If there is a hint of the personal peccadilloes of an elected official or if someone claims that the single most nationally unifying event in the last 50 years was the product of a government conspiracy of absurd design and dubious motivation, our faithful media are there to report it.
But the media have shown themselves completely unable to fulfill this function in one key aspect. While the press do jealously guard their own sacred cows in the First Amendment, they fail miserably as guardians of the others. Pointedly, they fail to question the legitimacy of government involvement in new ventures as they come along. They regard their role as ensuring proper government function and spreading truth, yet they disregard the fundamental truth of our republic, that government should only be allowed to interfere in certain matters, but no others. While they seem to understand particular limits on government, the more general concept of a limited government eludes them.
And I place the blame for this failure at the feet of government-run education. Whatever else a government school teaches, the superiority of private education is not it. Rather, the goal of public education is to socialize, to create a population that is not wary of government intrusion but accepting and welcoming, even demanding of it.
The schools should teach basic skills in letters and numbers, literature, the sciences, and mathematics. They should provide knowledge about our history and that of the wider world. And they should teach critical thinking skills such as logical analysis and the spotting of demagoguery. But there ought to be a wild diversity of political, religious, social views taught, and none to the exclusion of the others. When the State hires the teatchers and the State mandates not just what is to be taught but how, no doctrine which is contrary to its expansion can long expect currency.
So the problem isn't merely, or precisely, that the media is full of liberal hacks, which it incontrovertibly is. The problem is that thanks to years of government training, it's full of closed-minded liberal hacks.
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