Thursday, May 19, 2016

Gotta Love Mencken!

H L Mencken was a newsman back in the day when that did not mean "press-release-reader."  While he had some serious flaws, he was clairvoyant on a few matters.

Here's one:

“The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.”  --quoted at AOSHQ

Particularly delicious is his use of the word 'mountebank' in reference to politicians and pedagogues.  Graduates of publikscrewels may have to look up the word, of course.

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