Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
The Stupendous Waste of Talent by AmericanDreaming The Stupendous Waste of Talent by AmericanDreaming
"Much the simplest solution, and the only really effective one, is to make every kind of education free up to the age of twenty one for all boys and girls who desire it. The majority will be tired of education before that age, and will prefer to begin other work sooner; this will lead to a natural selection of those with strong interests in some pursuit requiring a long training. Among those selected in this way by their own inclinations, probably almost all those have marked abilities of the kind in question will be included. It is true that there will also be many who have very little ability; the desire to become a painter, for example, is by no means confined to those who can paint. But this degree of waste could well be borne by the community; it would be immeasurably less than that now entailed by the support of the idle rich. Any system which aims at avoiding this kind of waste must entail the far more serious waste of rejecting or spoiling some of the best ability in each generation. The system of free education up to any grade for all who desire it is the only system which is consistent with the principles of liberty, and the only one which gives a reasonable hope of affording full scope for talent. This system is equally compatible with all forms of Socialism and Anarchism. Theoretically, it is compatible with capitalism, but practically it is so opposite in spirit that it would hardly be feasible without a complete economic reconstruction. The fact that Socialism would facilitate it must be reckoned a very powerful argument in favor of change, for the waste of talent at present in the poorer classes of society must be stupendous."

- Betrand Russell "Proposed Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism, and Syndicalism" (1918).  See my review here.


Everything Springs From That by AmericanDreaming  How to Get Rid of Poor People by AmericanDreaming  An Investment in Knowledge by AmericanDreaming

See more in my Bertrand Russell folder.


I'm on YouTube.
:twitter: twitter.com/AmericnDreaming
Add a Comment:
 
:iconreclusivechicken:
ReclusiveChicken Featured By Owner May 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
People are now led to thinking that they are better than the system as a whole.
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner May 24, 2016   Writer
How so?
Reply
:iconreclusivechicken:
ReclusiveChicken Featured By Owner May 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Look at the ultra-conservative and ultra-liberal people that I've been ridiculing for the last month or so. They practically live in alternate universes where everything that agrees with them is "correct"; they whine about no-one else being so "supreme" and that they have this "rare thing" called "common sense", but it isn't rare. They have presses full of like-mined people devoted to their views; they share the same delusions and this provides false confirmation.
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner May 24, 2016   Writer
I know what you mean. Any ideas how such people could be brought to the middle a little bit?
Reply
:iconreclusivechicken:
ReclusiveChicken Featured By Owner May 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
imgflip.com/i/14omqk

It depends on how willing they are to take other perspectives into view. If they're as extreme as I'm saying they are, then they are usually unable to do this, thus one must use them as examples of misguided people to warn others. They are only individuals or small groups among billions of other people who don't even have political opinions.
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner May 24, 2016   Writer
Not a bad way to look at it.
Reply
:icongraeystone:
Graeystone Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016
"Never let school get in the way of a good education." - attributed to Mark Twain.
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner May 18, 2016   Writer
Mark Twain on Education by AmericanDreaming
Reply
:icongraeystone:
Graeystone Featured By Owner May 20, 2016
Eh, close enough.
Reply
:iconshirouzhiwu:
ShirouZhiwu Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If you are allowed to fail kids who do less than average and you are Ok with half or more not achieving a HS diploma, then a HS diploma will begin to mean something and public school will have a point.
Reply
:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015
Wow, there is a giant slam on the public education system, in 1918 no less.
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015   Writer
It was worse back then believe it or not. It's gotten better, but in the modern world it has not kept up.
Reply
:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015
Yeah, I can remember some of the stats from back then. Many people worked on a farm or in a factory, so a high school diploma was more than enough for them, and not even that sometimes. My maternal great-uncle was apprenticed to a glassblowing works at the age of 12, since as an orphan he had to earn his keep with the relatives who took him in. I don't think the general education courses for most K-12 public schooling really advanced since my parents were in school, though.
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015   Writer
Agreed, the system kind of plateaued mid 20th century and has stagnated since then.
Reply
:iconmobile707:
mobile707 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015
I'd love to know what Henry Louis Mencken would've had to say about Bertrand Russell's statement.
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015   Writer
Of what Mencken I have so far read, he has not spoken much of education in terms of policy. I am aware - and I suspect the purpose of your comment is to try to lead me to say this - that Mencken described himself as a libertarian. By today's standards, a libertarian is essentially someone in favor of social darwinism, and would obviously oppose free education. What being a libertarian meant in the 1920's, 30's and 40's, and/or what Mencken meant by it may be somewhat different. So ultimately, I don't (yet) know what Mencken would say on this subject, however if he disagrees with Russell, then I would disagree with him.
Reply
:iconmobile707:
mobile707 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015
I wasn't trying to lead you to say anything. And I thought the term "Libertarian" did not come into usage until the 1960s. But however that may be, I honestly was just struck by the contrast between the photograph of Russell (the eternal believer in the potential-benevolence of State Power) and the photo of Mencken, the eternal skeptic of such power.
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015   Writer
I don't know that Russell was always in favor of state power based on the work of his I have read. He certainly saw potential for a powerful and benevolent state, I agree. I think he and Mencken, both of whom I greatly admire, offer very different perspectives based on their different backgrounds. Although they lived during the same relative period, Russell was English, Mencken American (from Baltimore, MD). Russell was formally educated and a member of academia, Mencken was self-educated. Russell was a philosopher and mathematician, Mencken was a journalist and editorialist.  Russell spent much of his time with intellectuals, Mencken with ordinary people. Mencken lived through things like prohibition, Russell did not, etc. They both make good points on most of the topics they wrote about, and even where they disagree there is wisdom to be gleaned from each side I think.
Reply
:iconmarsmar:
Marsmar Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015
"Much the simplest solution, and the only really effective one, is to make every kind of education free up to the age of twenty one for all boys and girls who desire it."
And what of educational pursuits that require one to continue schooling well past the age of 21? Pursuits like medicine and the most rigorous sciences would have required classes stacked upon all the classes on could take until they're 21. 

It seems to me that the only possible scenario in which every single human being would never be readily available without cost unless through means of advanced technology, some science fiction-esc kind of way of teaching people without using so many physical resources is developed...or the equally unlikely scenario in which politics and economics gets a major overhaul.
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015   Writer
This was written nearly 100 years ago, so I'm not sure if education was different back then with respect to the years required for certain degrees. Let's get free education to 21, then we can have the free post-graduate debate. I also agree that technology can and will make education cheaper and more accessible.

Change is harder the larger the country. Little countries seem able to make huge changes while large countries endlessly debate tiny changes.
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×




Details

Submitted on
January 31, 2015
Image Size
852 KB
Resolution
1708×1078
Link
Thumb
Embed

Stats

Views
1,364
Favourites
41 (who?)
Comments
21
Downloads
6
×