Well what would a dyslexic swine like me know about education? I can not even spell and my knowledge of grammar is revoltingly poor. As for my knowledge of languages (ancient or modern) this is confined to my (somewhat limited) knowledge of English. Oh, by the way, my knowledge both of mathematics and the natural sciences is rather limited as well.
However, I am going to comment about one recent incident which I believe shows (yet again) the decline of the classical vision of education (education in moral principles and general good conduct).
Last Thursday evening the Cambridge University Union held a debate on the motion:
“This House would gag the bad”.
By ‘House’ they (of course) did not mean someone’s home, they meant the Union (acting like a legislature) would, if it could, use the threat of violence to prevent people it regarded as bad expressing opinions by voice or in print.
As a publicity stunt the Union invited the French National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen to be one of the speakers against the motion. Various young people then expressed their ‘antifascism’ by smashing up Mr Le Pen’s car.
In the debate itself over 200 students voted in favour of the motion and 12 voted against the motion.
In short in the whole of the University of Cambridge only 12 students exist who have the decency and courage to come and vote against even such an obscene violation of liberty. The rest of “the House” did not even have the wit to understand that the power they wished to have to gag those with whom they not agree could also be used against themselves (some future government could regard them as bad).
As for the 12 just students, will they be part of the ‘saving remnant’ once written about by such writers as Irvine Babbitt and Paul Elmer More? It would be nice to think so, but it is more likely that these students (because of their unfashionable decency and courage) will be forced out of the intellectual and cultural world into dead end jobs where their impact (short or long term) on life will be close to nil.
“Oh well, we are just talking about a mob of students – they will change their opinions when they leave university”. It is true that many people become more ‘moderate’ when they leave university (i.e. they make compromises between their abstract principles and the situations they find themselves in), but it is not true that most people adopt new basic principles once they leave university.
If someone has not learnt decent moral principles by his early 20’s it is quite likely (although not inevitable) that he never will.