Local Commentary

Editorial: The Free Higher Education Plan

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders agree on one important issue going into the Democratic National Convention, that a college education should be free to aspiring youths in families with incomes less than $125,000. It is a huge step in the right direction for the entire nation.

Imagine that, the initiative proposes education, not organized stupidity, as a guaranteed right of American citizenship! How refreshing! How anti-hysteria, how anti-bigoted, how anti-xenophobic, how anti-bullying, how anti-Trump can you get?

It is long overdue for the nation to revive and celebrate the true democratic Enlightenment movement of the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe that informed and grew the American revolution and the cornerstone documents of its subsequent democratic-republican tradition.

It is high time that the ugly, cynical revisionists of proto-fascist postmodernism, that which has led to the Trumpist version of so-called “patriotism,” be thoroughly repudiated.

No, the Founding Fathers, while hardly perfect, were not the greedy, self-serving, slovenly pigs as postmodern revisionist hogwash claims. They were high-minded, believers in reason and science over superstition and tyranny, and many were very progressive thinkers in terms of feminism and abolitionism.

They aligned with the Paris-based “History of Philosophy” movement, the radical wing that opposed the institutions of monarchy in favor of science-based universal education and democracy.

The enemies that the British crown threw against them were rooted in religious irrationalism and fear, among them the so-called Great Awakening and Methodist fundamentalism of that era, which assigned to an angry god every natural calamity and event of the age.

As the renowned Pavlovian psychologist William Sargant wrote in his pioneering book, Battle for the Mind, the use of religious fervor (or, fear) driving the religious evangelist John Wesley to “convert” large areas of the British Isles “helped to stave off political revolution at a time when Western Europe and North America were in ferment, or in actual revolt.” Wesley, in allegiance to the British crown, fervently hated the American revolution.

Happily, Methodism is not like that today. But the use of irrationalism and encouraged ignorance is still a tried and true tactic for the suppression of the general public, whether in a tyranny, a cult, or in a culture, like ours, soaked in the limitless diversions of “bread and circuses.”

If we want to “take our nation back,” it has to happen by a revival of free, public and scientific-based universal education, especially to include higher education.