So much ignorant discourse is taking place in our country today.  Purposeful lying by our nation’s elected leaders and their blindfolded followers are the soup du jour.

I’m 85 and have witnessed such a shameless time once before.  When I was 21, we gathered around our small b&w televisions watching the Joe McCarthy hearings.  A scary time for America.

So, here we are again.  A dark time to live through.  And, yet, when we eventually arrive at the other side the sun will be shining and America, once again, will be a better and a happier place.

Social Historians claim that to move from a negative living climate to a more positive one often takes a physical calamity in order to trigger outcomes in a more positive direction. 

That may well be true.  However, I believe that there resides a potentially less tragic way to bring our enlightenment.

Education, if it’s not too interfered with by our current political leadership, is totally capable.  (Here I must confess my potentially prejudiced background:  one year a high school teacher; fifteen years a college teacher; and, forty years in the training world.)

One of the best definitions I’ve read comes from an article, “What is Education?” by Tony McGregor in Owlcation:

“Education is not about certificates and degrees—education is about how a person relates to life. As Greek philosopher, Epictetus, said, “Only the educated are free.”

Education is the opposite of indoctrination. Indoctrination tells people what to think, tells people what the “truth” is, closes minds to critical thought.

Education, on the other hand, opens the mind, encourages a search for truth and develops a mind that can engage critically with many different ideas.

Education also is not simply about “intellectual” pursuits. The old Roman dictum of Mens saga in corpore sano (a sound mind in a sound body) is still a characteristic of a good education.

Education is about learning, not teaching. As Galileo Galilei said, “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.”

The word “education” itself refers to “bringing out” or “bringing forth what is within” from the Latin “e-ducere.”

Our schooling is important.  So is reading the thoughts contained in “the great books” from centuries past.  But, equally so, is an ability to question the things we hear that may initially stimulate our emotions.

Worse still, some of the lies we hear today may nurture anger and distrust — the enemies of an educated person.

Accepting untruths disguised as “facts,” without either reason or question, is the hallmark of an uneducated person.

On the other hand, education is what we need to lead us forward and out of this current culture of lying.  (Maybe our President will even learn to spell.)

A final thought.  John McCain died today (Sunday) from one of the cruelest cancers. Among many others, Glioblastoma has taken away Ted Kennedy exactly nine years ago and Joe Biden’s son, Beau, as well as one of my daughters when she was only twenty-four.   McCain ran against G. W. Bush in the 2000 GOP primary and lost.  (Disclosure:  I was a modest donor to McCain’s candidacy.)  He was the Republican nominee in 2008.  McCain died a uniquely American hero.  He served his country in ways that few could ever hope to match — be they former POWs or not.  A man who was one of our few current political leaders who put Country above Party and a believer in serving causes greater than his own self-interest.  A giant and an educated American!

More on Wednesday  –  –  –

  — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning
August 27, 2018  (Mondays & Wednesdays)


 (This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)