The truly educated become conscious. They become self-aware. They do not lie to themselves. They do not pretend that fraud is moral or that corporate greed is good. They do not claim that the demands of the marketplace can morally justify the hunger of children or denial of medical care to the sick. They do not throw 6 million families from their homes as the cost of doing business. Thought is a dialogue with one’s inner self. Those who think ask questions, questions those in authority do not want asked. They remember who we are, where we come from and where we should go. They remain eternally skeptical and distrustful of power. And they know that this moral independence is the only protection from the radical evil that results from collective unconsciousness. The capacity to think is the only bulwark against any centralized authority that seeks to impose mindless obedience. There is a huge difference, as Socrates understood, between teaching people what to think and teaching them how to think. Those who are endowed with a moral conscience refuse to commit crimes, even those sanctioned by the corporate state, because they do not in the end want to live with criminals—themselves.
“It is better to be at odds with the whole world than, being one, to be at odds with myself,” Socrates said.
Hedges is correct. Our nation's education system is being destroyed. And it has not happened by accident. I urge all of you to take the time and read The Underground History of American Education, by former NYC public school teacher, John Taylor Gatto. For those of you who cannot afford to purchase a copy, It is free to read online at his website. In my opinion, Gatto's book is the greatest, highly-documented, scholarly breakdown of how, since the late-19th century, America's industrial, economic and social elite have been strangling the education of the American Republic literally to death.