An Open Letter to Home Schools

by Jon Rappoport

Imagine this.  The key subject that turns a mediocre education into a brilliant one has been eliminated from most schools of any kind. It’s true, and that subject is logic.

James Madison, thought of by many as the father of the Constitution, studied logic intensely at the College of New Jersey.  In fact, we have 122 pages of Madison’s own handwritten notes from the course.  The course followed the pattern laid down in a famous 17th-century book, Logic or the Art of Thinking.

As a college student, Thomas Jefferson studied philosophy and logic under Professor William Small, at William and Mary.  Small had come to the college from Aberdeen, Scotland, where he, in turn, had studied under William Duncan, a renowned logician and author of Elements of Logick.  Indeed, Jefferson later remarked Professor Small went a long way toward shaping his life.

In both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, we can see that the development of the content is achieved by a brilliant logical progression of ideas.

The philosopher whose work contributed most to the founding documents of the American Republic, John Locke, once wrote, “Logic is the anatomy of thought.”

To most students and teachers alike, these are buried secrets.  And for good reason.  The public school system of the United States has gradually eliminated this branch of knowledge, logic, from its curriculum.

Why?  Because the modern shapers of American education decided that the independent ability to reason was not a useful goal.  It’s that simple.

When you stop and consider it, creating strong and independent minds runs counter to the “flow” of education.  Instead, courses are meant to imprint data on student minds.  Period.

If students were taught the secret of logic, they would eventually be able to establish a position apart from peer pressure, apart from the Collective, apart from “the herd of sheep.”

They would be able to question, analyze, and dissect information with a skill that surpasses mere grumbling and adolescent dissatisfaction.

They would, in fact, fulfill, on an individual level, the meaning of the Declaration of Independence.

Teachers are meant to prepare students to go out into the world armed with the very best tools of thinking and reasoning.  Teachers are meant to train students so they have strong independent minds.

Let me point out that there is a difference between encouraging students to rebel and have grossly inflated opinions based on nothing and showing them how to think and reason with power.

In the former case, you are turning out pretentious people who are walking on thin ice.  In the latter case, you are imbuing students with superior skills that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.

Were Thomas Jefferson and James Madison no better than rebellious teenagers out to cause trouble?  Or were they mature men who saw through the manipulations of tyranny?

In society today, we are faced with a flood of information wherever we turn.  There are three general goals implied by all this information:

  1. maintain things as they are, maintain the status quo;
  2. search for the conspiracy behind events;
  3. buy into grandiose solutions to our problems.

A student who is well ground in logic does not unthinkingly fall into any of these urgings.  Instead, he examines what he is reading, hearing, or watching.  He takes apart information and judges it on its own merits, on a case by case basis.  He finds the logical flaws and gaps in it.  He can assess the value of any argument and come to a rational decision about it.

Having and using this skill is one of the primary aims of a proper education.  Without a serious study of logic, this aim goes begging.  The student drifts on a sea of random, disconnected ideas and opinions.  Eventually, as an adult, to keep himself from living in a state of confusion, he grabs on to some authority and allies himself with it.  There is no predicting what that authority will be.

Is this the future we want for our students?

Or should we teach them how to reason, how to apply logic, how to have the kind of power the founders applied to their circumstances, in order to create, on these shores, an independent and free society?

JON RAPPOPORT, author of LOGIC AND ANALYSIS, a unique course for home schools and adults.

Published in: on November 13, 2010 at 3:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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