Timothy N. Baldwin, JD.
April 23, 2011
Thomas Jefferson said, “education is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power” (see, Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, 2). Given my involvement in the study and practice of law and politics, I find this quote to be fascinating and profound. At first glance, the statement may appear overstated or too generalized, but when one understands what education truly is, Jefferson’s statement should ring true as applied not only to constitutional power, but to all areas of life.
To me, education is one of the most crucial elements of a successful life. Upon this basis, I have placed my name as a candidate for the Flathead Valley Community College trustee position, the election for which is May 3, 2011 in Flathead County, Montana.
So, what is education?
Before stating what it is, it is important to observe what it is not. Education is not mere dogma or recital. A student being told by his political science teacher that positive law is the only binding law on societies is not education. That is dogma. A child having to regurgitate his professor’s lectures is not education. That is recital.
Education is a process through which the student is instructed on how to use his or her faculties to obtain the truth of a general and particular matter. It is “the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life” (See, dictionary.com).
What is distinctive quality between dogma/recital and education?
education is learning how to learn—denoting a cycle or process,
a never-ending phenomenon. It is learning how to become intellectually
creative, independent and self-reliant.
The process of education never stops, and the more mature one becomes, the more important it is that the process becomes more intricate, elaborate and accurate.
When Jefferson said “education is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power”, did he mean that knowing how to derive complicated algebraic formulas will equip a citizen with knowledge of how to correctly judge government actions relative to constitutional limitations?
On their faces, they appear to be completely unrelated. However, given the true definition of education, I believe the example given does in fact equip a citizen with such knowledge–not because mathematic formulas directly enlighten one’s mind relative to political formulas but because one who knows how to calculate truth on a mathematical formula will be better equipped to know how to calculate truth in a political formula.
It is the search for truth that causes people to question, to seek and to find. True education will have the profound impact of opening one’s mind and broadening her horizon’s based upon how she is able to make conclusions using her own observation, study and analysis relative to the given facts.
I attended formal education on many levels, obtaining my Juris Doctorate degree at the age of 24. When I completed my formal education, I realized that my life’s education had just begun. I realized that education is not just about being taught; it is about teaching—teaching myself on what it means to be educated and on how to apply it in life. I learned how education relates to my relationship with my wife and family; to my performance as an attorney and business owner; to my ability to raise my children; to my quality as a citizen of the state of Montana; to my being a member of the community of the Flathead. In reality, education is the process of life.
The students and staff at Flathead Valley Community College should have an educational environment that reflects the importance education has on one’s life, not just while he or she is attending the college, but especially after graduation. Critical and broad thinking are a must. Honest and intellectual debates are requisite. Tolerance and open-mindedness are vital.
Teachers must be encouraged to challenge their students. Students must be rewarded for exploration. Opportunity, incentive and creativity are essential. Human intellect must build sound theory. Theory must be applied in practice. Practice must be based upon principle. All of this must be combined to impress upon each student’s mind the importance of human value, contribution and character.
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In conjunction, having respect for each other will encourage the process of education. Respect is based upon the foundation of human experience and value, which reveal the truth that no one person knows everything but everyone knows something from which we can all learn; that we all share similarities and yet diversities of life’s difficulties and pleasures; and that the betterment of our community, State and federal union are the fruits of our hard work, honesty, character, virtue and integrity. It is the competition of ideas and the synergy of human effort that will move a people—a college forward, tilling the fertile soil in which the process of education can thrive.
What better place for such a product and environment than at Flathead Valley Community College? I want to help make FVCC such a place.
© 2011 Timothy N. Baldwin, JD - All Rights Reserved
Timothy N. Baldwin is an attorney from Pensacola, FL. He received his bachelor of arts degree at the University of West Florida in 2001 and received his Juris Doctorate degree from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 2004. Baldwin was a Prosecutor in the 1st District of Florida from 2004 to 2006. In 2006, he started his own law practice, where he created specialized legal services entirely for property management companies.
Like his father, Chuck Baldwin, Timothy Baldwin is an astute articulator of cutting-edge political ideas, which he posts on his website, www.libertydefenseleague.com and speaks about in various public forum. Baldwin is the author of Freedom For A Change, in which he expounds the fundamental principles of freedom believed by America’s forefathers and gives inspiring and intelligent application of those principles to America’s current political and cultural standing. Baldwin believes that the times require all freedom-loving Americans to educate, invigorate and activate the principles of freedom within the STATES of America for ourselves and our posterity.
Web site: LibertyDefenseLeague