Friday, January 27, 2006

Authority is Given

Universal education is not an impractical ideal; it is a prosaic commonplace called life. I call it Universitas de Harden Knocken. We all attend will-he-nill-she. What we make of it is very much up to ourselves.

American culture in the past few generations has learned to despise experience and any wisdom it might bring and favor academically certified expertise. Less than a century ago most lawyers learned the law by clerking for a member of the bar. Managers rose from the factory floor. Modestly educated tinkerers invented world changing technologies. Today any one without a high school diploma is all but unemployable as a janitor.

Auto didacts are derided because they lack credentials. Some deserve derision, but not all. Fools are given credence because they have pieces of parchment noting their extensive residence in the groves of academe. Some appear foolish only because their theorizing is so far in advance of convention. Yet others because they are fools.

My point is not some defense of luddism or blind tradition. Rather let us closely question any assertion of knowledge. As Ben Franklin said: "It is the first duty of every citizen to question authority."

Authority may be given ... Skepticism is demanded.


No comments:

Post a Comment