Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Three Causes That Work Towards Democracy.- We find, then, in the selfishness of the ruling classes, and in the discontent of the subject classes, two causes that work in the direction of democracy. But there is in the unselfishness of the ruling class a cause that works in the same direction. Unselfishness is as fundamental, if not as powerful, a characteristic of human nature as is its opposite. That it does not manifest itself more effectively, that it does not exert a more powerful influence in bringing on democracy, is due to the greater influence exerted by selfishness upon men's beliefs. We always incline to believe what we wish to believe, and our selfishness makes us wish to believe that the sufferings and deprivations and contracted lives of the poor are part of the inevitable order of things, not the result of man's own work; and we wish to believe this because, if the sufferings of the poor are inevitable, we can indulge in the luxury of pity as we contemplate them, without feeling under obligation to do anything about it. This explains why it happened that the unselfishness of the North had more to do with effecting the overthrow of slavery than had the unselfishness of the South. Not that the unselfishness of the North was the only, perhaps not even the chief, factor in bringing about the result. One need not read far in the history of the antislavery struggle to become aware of the fact that opposition to slavery was due to both the selfishness and the unselfishness of its opponents. The desire of the North for political power combined with its pity for the slave to free him. That the unselfishness of the South? in reference

The existence of a strong antislavery sentiment in the South is proved by the fact that in 1827 one hundred and six of the one hundred and thirty antislavery societies in the United States outside of Illinois were to slavery had so few visible results was by no means due to its absence, but to the fact that it had no support from the selfishness of Southern men.

Now this philanthropic sentiment is another of the forces tending towards democracy that must be reckoned with. By itself so weak that history might safely neglect it, in conjunction with the forces already mentioned it may turn the scale in favor of results of world-wide importance. With one group of the ruling class seeking to improve the condition of the masses for its own selfish purposes, with the masses bent on having their own welfare treated as an end in itself, it ought not to be a matter of wonder if the members of the ruling class, whose humanitarianism is so intense as to cause them to forsake the standpoint of their class, should make an effective alliance with the masses in bringing about progress towards democracy.

Progress of the World Towards Democracy. – This rough sketch may perhaps throw some light on the fact which De Tocqueville so long ago noted: the steady march of the world towards democracy. The peoples of the world may be divided into two classes those that are stationary and those that are moving towards democracy. Whether that ought to be the trend of progress, let it be repeated, is not the question. Perhaps there is but one stable condition of society — the stability of fossilization, such as China has shown to the world since the dawn of history. But if there are two, the other is democracy. If a living, growing, progressive society has any stable form, it is that which treats every man as an end in himself, as in slaveholding States. For a fuller discussion of this subject see the author's “ Political History of the United States," Vol. II. pp. 406, 407.

having an inalienable right to develop himself and pursue happiness without being hampered by artificial encumbrances. Whether such a form can be stable depends on the natural capacity of the average man and on his education. What his natural capacity is time alone can tell.

The philosophy of education is bound, therefore, to say to such bodies politic as that of Germany: “You have no foundation in the nature of things. You are neither frankly feudal nor frankly democratic. You do not, like China, seek to suppress three fourths of the man; nor do you, like the United States, seek to develop the whole man - unless he belongs to certain classes. But between these types you must choose, since, from the nature of the case, no other can be permanent."

QUESTIONS ON THE TEXT.

1. Illustrate by means of the German school system the connection between education and the form of government.

2. Why is Professor Peck opposed to universal education ?
3. Who, in his opinion, should receive an education?
4. What is the inevitable effect of education on the masses?
5. What does the text mean by the dilemma of rulers ?
6. What are the three causes that work towards democracy?

7. What are the two main conclusions of this chapter and on what arguments do they depend ?

SUGGESTIVE QUESTIONS.

1. Which do you consider the more desirable state for a human being, content or discontent?

2. Show that opponents of universal education ought logically to oppose republican government.

3. What is the difference between regarding man as a tool and thinking of him as an end in himself ?

4. Can you cite any examples from history that illustrate what the text calls the “ dilemma of rulers ” ?

5. State the history of popular suffrage in this country, and point out its bearing on the argument.

6. What is the Fifteenth Amendment, and why was it passed ?

7. The text says that the philosophy of education must choose between the fossilization of China, and the progressiveness of the United States; do you clearly see why?

CHAPTER IV.

THE END OF EDUCATION AS CONCEIVED BY THE

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF FIFTEEN.

All intelligent action presupposes a conception of the end to be attained. What end does education seek to realize?

The End of Education and Civilization. – A high authority intimates that the question is sufficiently answered by the demands of civilization. “ The chief consideration," says the Report of the Committee of Fifteen, “to which all others are to be subordinated is this requirement of the civilization into which the child is born, as determining not only what he shall study in school, but what habits and customs he shall be taught in the family before the school age arrives; as well as that he shall acquire a skilled acquaintance with some one of a definite series of trades, professions, or vocations in the years that follow school; and furthermore, that this question of the relation of the pupil to his civilization determines what political duties he shall assume and what religious faith or spiritual aspirations shall be adopted for the conduct of his life.'

If this reasoning is good from the point of view of an American, it is equally good from that of a Chinaman. The education required by the civilization of the United States lays emphasis on reflection, on emancipation from tradition; the education required by the civilization of

1 L. C., p. 41.

« AnteriorContinuar »