It appears to us that nothing valid can be said against socialism in principle; and that the attempts to assail it, or to defend private property, on the ground of justice, must inevitably fail. The distinction between rich and poor, so slightly connected as it is with merit and demerit, or even with exertion and want of exertion in the individual, is obviously unjust; such a feature could not be put into the rudest imaginings of a perfectly just state of society; the present capricious distribution of the means of life and enjoyment, could only be defended as an admitted imperfection, submitted to as an effect of causes in other respects beneficial. Again, the moral objection to competition, as arming one human being against another, making the good of each depend upon evil to others, making all who have anything to gain or lose, live as in the midst of enemies, by no means deserves the disdain with which it is treated by some of the adversaries of socialism, and among the rest, by Mr. Newman. Socialism, as long as it attacks the existing individualism, is easily triumphant; its weakness hitherto is in what it proposes to reasonable objections to socialism are altogether practical, consisting in difficulties to be surmounted, and in the insufficiency of any scheme yet promulgated to provide against them; their removal must be a work of thought and discussion, aided by progressive experiments, and by the general moral improvement of mankind, through good government and education.
It would be both unfair and unreasonable to impute to Mr. Fitch, as a settled conviction, the doctrine here incidentally thrown out—a doctrine breathing the very spirit, and expressed in almost the words, of the apologies made in the over-centralised governments of the Continent for not permitting any one to perform the smallest act connected with public interests without the leave of the Government. But when such a maxim finds its way to the public under such auspices, it is time to enter a protest in behalf of those “private persons” whose power of public usefulness Mr. Fitch estimates so lightly, but whose liberty of making themselves useful in their own way, without requiring the consent of any public authority, has mainly contributed to make England the free country she is; and whose well-directed public spirit is covering America with the very institutions which her state of society most needs, and was least likely in any other manner to get—institutions for the careful cultivation of the higher studies. Whether endowments for educational purposes are a good or an evil is a fair question for argument, and shall be argued presently. But the reason by which Mr. Fitch supports his doctrine—namely, that as education and the relief of the poor require organization and fixed principles, no tampering with them by private persons should be allowed—would avail equally against allowing any private person to set up and support a school, or to expend money in his lifetime on any plan for the benefit of the poor. Such doctrines lead straight to making education and beneficence an absolute monopoly in the hands of, at the best, a parliamentary majority; that is, of an executive government making itself habitually the organ of the prevalent opinion in the country, but liable to spasmodic fits of interference by the country’s more direct representatives. It is hardly necessary to say that Mr. Fitch cannot intend this; but it is those who do not intend a bad principle, but only a particular consequence of it, that usually do the work of naturalising the principle, and making it one of the moving forces in society and government.
Learning is the product of the activity of learners.
- John Holt
Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced.
- John Keats
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.
- John Lubbock
The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn.
- John Lubbock
A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another; and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the dominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, an aristocracy, or a majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body.
- John Stuart Mill
Genius is an exceedingly common human quality, probably natural to most of us.
- John Taylor Gatto
Much education today is monumentally ineffective.
It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook.
- Henry David Thoreau
If you think you can do a thing, or think you can't do a thing; you're right.
- Henry Ford
Education makes people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.
- Henry Peter Brougham
A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life.
- Henry Ward Beecher
The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.
- Herbert Spencer
A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.
- Horace Mann
If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.
- Ignacio Estrada
Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.
- Isaac Asimov
School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.
- Ivan Illich
The mind grows by what it feeds on.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
- Margaret Mead
Education is not something which the teacher does ...it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.
- Maria Montessori
Never help a child with a task that they feel they can complete themselves.
- Maria Montessori
The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, The children are now working as if I did not exist.
- Maria Montessori
To stimulate life, leaving it then free to develop, to unfold, herein lies the first task of the teacher.
- Maria Montessori
We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to the big differences that we often cannot foresee.
- Marian Wright Edelman
You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals.
- Marie Curie
You will not reap the fruit of individuality in your children if you clone their education.
- Marilyn Howshall
I try never to let my schooling get in the way of my education.
- Mark Twain
Never let formal education get in the way of your learning.
- Mark Twain
Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.
- Mark Twain
The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.
- Mark Twain
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.
- Mark Twain
The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.
- Mark VanDoren
The kids in our classroom are infinitely more significant than the subject matter we teach.
- Meladee McCarty
The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.
Training teaches how.
Though, in the interests of universal labour, the formation of national and cosmopolitan unionism be clearly an end to be aimed at, the best, if not the only means to that end is the previous formation and bringing to maturity of separate trade unions. The thing is scarcely to be done, if done at all, in any other way. National unionism is only to be built up piecemeal. To begin by laying foundations coextensive with the area to be finally covered, would be a sure way of never getting beyond the foundations. The only plan at all feasible, is for separate sections of labourers to organise themselves independently, and for each separate organisation to confine its attention to its own affairs, wherein it would long find abundant occupation without troubling itself about those of its neighbours, until it and they, having grown strong enough to stand alone, should perceive it to be for their mutual advantage to coalesce and stand together. This is the plan which, unconsciously perhaps for the most part, trades’ unions are at present following, each in obedience to its own selfish instinct, seeking only to do the best for itself, yet each doing thereby the best for the others also. That this or any other plan will ever really eventuate in the formation of a confederacy embracing the entire working population, may to most people appear an utterly chimerical notion, and no doubt the chances are great against its realisation. But the thing, however improbable, is not more improbable than some of the actual phenomena of unionism would not long since have appeared. Half a century back, while the marvellous organising aptitudes of working men lay dormant and unsuspected, it would have been quite as difficult for any one to look forward to the existing ‘amalgamation’ of little less than 50,000 engineers or 70,000 miners, as it is now to imagine that in another century or so—no very long period in a nation’s life—a combination of these and of other associations may weld together the whole community of British workmen as one brotherhood. At the present rate of progress less than a hundred years would suffice for the operation.
But though the population principle and its consequences are in no way touched by anything that Mr. Thornton has advanced, in another of its bearings the labour question, considered as one of mere economics, assumes a materially changed aspect. The doctrine hitherto taught by all or most economists (including myself), which denied it to be possible that trade combinations can raise wages, or which limited their operation in that respect to the somewhat earlier attainment of a rise which the competition of the market would have produced without them,—this doctrine is deprived of its scientific foundation, and must be thrown aside. The right and wrong of the proceedings of Trades’ Unions becomes a common question of prudence and social duty, not one which is peremptorily decided by unbending necessities of political economy.
One more point is too important to be omitted. Common justice requires, and the Commissioners have urged—though their proposals in this respect are far short of what they themselves would probably desire—that in the employment of the endowments equal provision should be made for the education of both sexes. Many of the original endowments were for girls as well as boys; in the progress of abuse the boys have very often had their rights filched from them, the girls almost always. In one of the great endowed establishments of which the efficiency has been least impaired by neglect or malversation, Christ’s Hospital, the foundation was for both sexes: at present those who benefit by it are eighteen girls and 1,192 boys. Considering that, in the eyes of the law and of the State, one girl ought to count for exactly as much as one boy, and that, as members of society, the good education of women is almost more important than even that of men, it is an essential part of a just scheme for the use of the means provided for education that the benefit of them should be given alike to girls and to boys, without preference or partiality.
There is, however, another, and a less elevated, but not fallacious point of view, from which the apparent injustice of Unionism to the non-united classes of labourers may be morally vindicated to the conscience of an intelligent Unionist. This is the Malthusian point of view, so blindly decried as hostile and odious, above all, to the labouring classes. The ignorant and untrained part of the poorer classes (such Unionists may say) will people up to the point which will keep their wages at that miserable rate which the low scale of their ideas and habits makes endurable to them. As long as their minds remain in their present state, our preventing them from competing with us for employment does them no real injury; it only saves ourselves from being brought down to their level. Those whom we exclude are a morally inferior class of labourers to us; their labour is worth less, and their want of prudence and self-restraint makes them much more active in adding to the population. We do them no wrong by intrenching ourselves behind a barrier, to exclude those whose competition would bring down our wages, without more than momentarily raising theirs, but only adding to the total numbers in existence. This is the practical justification, as things now are, of some of the exclusive regulations of Trades’ Unions. If the majority of their members look upon this state of things, so far as the excluded labourers are concerned, with indifference, and think it enough for the Unions to take care of their own members, this is not more culpable in them than is the same indifference in classes far more powerful and more privileged by society. But it is a strong indication of a better spirit among them, that the operatives and artisans throughout the country form the main strength of the demand, rapidly becoming irresistible, for universal and compulsory education. The brutish ignorance of the lowest order of unskilled labourers has no more determined enemies, none more earnest in insisting that it be cured, than the comparatively educated workmen who direct the Unions.
It is not with this express purpose that the Commissioners have made the recommendation; it is because they believe that in itself it would be the greatest improvement in national education to which the endowments provided for the superior departments of instruction could possibly be applied. The work would be further carried on by the endowments of the Universities; which are already partly expended in scholarships, to aid the maintenance of those who have shown themselves worthy, but would not otherwise be able, to pursue the studies of the University. There are other important uses, which need not here be discussed, to which University endowments may be, and to some extent are, very suitably applied: for instance, the maintenance of professors, and in some cases the encouragement of students, in kinds of knowledge never likely to be sought by more than a few, but which it is of importance to mankind that those few should have the means of finding; such as those ancient languages which are chiefly valuable philologically; comparative philology itself, which has of late years yielded such a harvest of interesting and valuable knowledge; historical erudition in many of its departments; and, it may be added, the highest branches of almost all sciences, even physical: for the speculative researches which lead to the grandest results in science are not those by which money can be made in the general market.