Back to Methuselah eBook

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Now an acute person will ask me why, if this be so, our false education does not provoke our scholars to find out the truth.  My answer is that it sometimes does.  Voltaire was a pupil of the Jesuits; Samuel Butler was the pupil of a hopelessly conventional and erroneous country parson.  But then Voltaire was Voltaire, and Butler was Butler:  that is, their minds were so abnormally strong that they could throw off the doses of poison that paralyse ordinary minds.  When the doctors inoculate you and the homeopathists dose you, they give you an infinitesimally attenuated dose.  If they gave you the virus at full strength it would overcome your resistance and produce its direct effect.  The doses of false doctrine given at public schools and universities are so big that they overwhelm the resistance that a tiny dose would provoke.  The normal student is corrupted beyond redemption, and will drive the genius who resists out of the country if he can.  Byron and Shelley had to fly to Italy, whilst Castlereagh and Eldon ruled the roost at home.  Rousseau was hunted from frontier to frontier; Karl Marx starved in exile in a Soho lodging; Ruskin’s articles were refused by the magazines (he was too rich to be otherwise persecuted); whilst mindless forgotten nonentities governed the land; sent men to the prison or the gallows for blasphemy and sedition (meaning the truth about Church and State); and sedulously stored up the social disease and corruption which explode from time to time in gigantic boils that have to be lanced by a million bayonets.  This is the result of allopathic education.  Homeopathic education has not yet been officially tried, and would obviously be a delicate matter if it were.  A body of schoolmasters inciting their pupils to infinitesimal peccadilloes with the object of provoking them to exclaim, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan,’ or telling them white lies about history for the sake of being contradicted, insulted, and refuted, would certainly do less harm than our present educational allopaths do; but then nobody will advocate homeopathic education.  Allopathy has produced the poisonous illusion that it enlightens instead of darkening.  The suggestion may, however, explain why, whilst most people’s minds succumb to inculcation and environment, a few react vigorously:  honest and decent people coming from thievish slums, and sceptics and realists from country parsonages.

THE DIABOLICAL EFFICIENCY OF TECHNICAL EDUCATION

But meanwhile—­and here comes the horror of it—­our technical instruction is honest and efficient.  The public schoolboy who is carefully blinded, duped, and corrupted as to the nature of a society based on profiteering, and is taught to honor parasitic idleness and luxury, learns to shoot and ride and keep fit with all the assistance and guidance that can be procured for him by the most anxiously sincere desire that he may do these things well, and if possible superlatively well.  In the army he

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Back to Methuselah from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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