Investigating Journalist Jon Rappoport
November 22, 2010
Literacy is the foundation of education, but if the student can’t think and reason about what he reads, if he can’t ask intelligent questions about what he reads, then he is at sea like a cork bobbing on the waves.
Let’s suppose you wanted to create a high-functioning android. What would you do?
You would endow this creature with the ability to absorb information and remember it faultlessly. He would be a remarkable rote learner.
He would never question what he reads. To guarantee this, you would omit teaching him logic.
Then he would go through life like a sponge, soaking up data and reciting it.
Is this what we want from young minds?
Well, in some societies, the answer is a resounding yes. Of course, those societies are managed from the top down. The leaders demand obedience.
In America, things are different. At least for now. We still possess sufficient freedom to want more from students. We want to somehow imbue students with the capacity for independent thought.
However, this goal is not achieved by waving a magic wand. Neither is it achieved by simply reminding young people that they are free.
Let us return, for a moment, to the birthplace of liberty, ancient Greece. Two and a half thousand years ago, something unprecedented happened in the city of Athens. From out of the darkness of prior civilizations, a new concept was set into motion.
The INDIVIDUAL was free. He could choose. He could think about vital issues of the day and make decisions.
A teacher named Socrates began to teach students. He engaged in a practice that was brand new: dialogue. Conversation aimed at understanding, at a deep level, ideas like Justice and the Good.
It wasn’t enough to read about such ideas or memorize second-hand conclusions.
Dialogue, as Socrates used it, contained LOGIC.
He would show that certain ideas inevitably led to absurd conclusions. He would show that certain trains of correct reasoning led to insights.
This was thinking at a whole new level.
It caught on. In fact, it formed the basis for the pursuit called science. It formed the basis for the institution called law. And finally, in the late 18th century, men on this soil created a Republic that operated by and through law.
Law—not decree, not force, not a monarch’s assumption of divine right to rule, not the shifting bobbing changing will of the majority.
The basis of American law was embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, two documents that were debated and drafted by men who very well understood the branch of learning called logic. They were devoted to it.
In fact, logic was the connective tissue that held these documents together and made them operable.
Now, all these years later, the study of logic has been systemically removed from most school curricula.
In other words, the essence of what made the Republic possible has been taken away from the population.
Think about the effect of that action.
It’s as if sailors and navigators, going to sea in ships their ancestors built, no longer knew how to read the stars or use instruments to guide them to distant ports.
No deep appreciation of the Declaration or the Constitution is possible in the absence of logic. These documents become vague mirrors of sentiments expressed centuries ago, in another world, by men whose brilliance is forgotten.
And if you are an ambitious person with an agenda that involves trampling freedom and burying it, if you are seeking to replace this form of government with another one that destroys what was built here, you will also replace logic with spurious and attractive-sounding ideas—so you can move the mob. So you can revert to control rather than freedom.
And who is going to stop you? The young, with their half-baked educations, who can’t follow a train of thought past the first station? School teachers, who never learned logic when they were young?
It’s fine to talk about “the struggle” and the need to “defend liberty.” But if you abandon the world of ideas to those who want to undermine the Republic, the battle is lost.
The world of ideas is not some ivory tower of meaningless chatter. It is vital. It is alive. It is the bloodstream of the Republic.
When Tom Paine penned Common Sense in 1776, it sold an astonishing 500,000 copies in that first year. The eloquent prose and the logic of it literally forced the Declaration to be written.
Such living ideas need to be articulated at length in order to take on their true meaning. But the ideas standing alone collapse. They need the connective tissue of logic to form a coherent whole. Then, the power appears out of the fog.
To paraphrase the old conundrum about the tree falling in the forest, if a logical argument is made and no one can understand it, is it logic? Is it real?
At least in pragmatic terms, we have the answer, and we can see it if we look around us. Minds lacking real education falter, retreat, glaze over, and reach for the latest homily, the latest slogan, the latest prescription for our ills.
Minds revert to older nostrums, which can be summarized under one label: COLLECTIVISIM. The vague philosophy that asserts the group has all rights and the individual has none.
This is where we are heading. This is where we have been heading for some time. On that shore, decorated with empty promises, more and more people believe “everybody will be given everything they need.”
Of course, collectivism is always a mass puppet show, in which the leaders who hold the strings solidify their tyranny behind the curtain.
Portraying themselves as saviors, they promote a false dream. They spin fantasies. They issue sugar-coated directives. They offer empty generalities. They claim they are for the Good. They skip and chisel their way from A to B to F to Z to R effortlessly, as if they are champions of valid deduction.
Minds that cannot distinguish deceptive idealism from correct reasoning buy the Fool’s Gold. And then, in the absence of logic, freedom disappears.
No one remembers what it was. No one cares.
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Freedom was just another fairy tale in an old book. Now we have a new fairy tale. It is shinier. It is more modern. It is simpler.
Is this what you want?
If your answer is no, the first profound order of business is the reinstatement of logic, as a branch of learning, as an extensive discipline, as a set of fine tools for minds, in education.
� 2010 Jon Rappoport - All Rights Reserved
Jon Rappoport has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize early in his career, Jon has published articles on medical fraud, politics, alternative health, and sports in LA Weekly, CBS Healthwatch, Spin, Stern, and other magazines and newspapers in the US and Europe.
He is the is author of several books, including The Secret Behind Secret Societies and The Magic Agent (a novel).
Jon is the author of a new course for home schoolers, LOGIC AND ANALYSIS.
E-Mail: [email protected]
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