I love to listen to music. Everything from Bluegrass to the Blues, Classical to Country, Jam Bands to Jazz. Even some old school rap or edgy Punk music can be catchy to my ear. A song by the English punk rock band, The Clash, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” is one of those tunes that has been running through my head lately and I can’t seem to get rid of it. (Sorry, you probably have it in your head now as well).
It’s a constant refrain. Should I stay home, or should I go to the market. For the record, I rarely go to the market, my wife does this for us. She says I spend too much. Should I stay home or should I go to a meeting and perhaps risk getting the Wuhan Virus. Should I stay out of the rancor of social media or should I dive in the deep-end by defending a position that may not conform to established social norms.
Like the song, I have the recurring tune of the health crisis running in my head. Even with limiting my exposure to social media, negative conversation and especially physically distancing myself from the purveyors of propaganda, aka, the news. The phrase, “Tune in, turn on, and drop out” used by Timothy Leary isn’t an option. Abusing drugs or alcohol to escape into an alternate universe that has descended upon us is not the answer for me. So what is?
One of the core tenants of citizenship is the principle of self-reliance;
to be responsible for yourself and finding the path to truth. To live freely one should provide the necessities of life for themselves. This includes knowledge that allows one to attain wisdom.
In 1970, Leonard E. Read, from “I Pencil” fame wrote a book entitled “Talking to Myself “. On pages 19 and 20, in the chapter entitled; “Eduction verses propaganda” Mr. Read wrote, “Eduction, not education, the true antonym of propaganda”. You may often hear, “If we could only educate people on this or that subject.” I find this reprehensible. I do not need to be educated. Why do some people feel they need to tell others they need to be educated? What if we are educated, yet do not agree with their point of view. Then what? What the statist is actually saying is “I will tell you like it is and you will now agree with my point of view”.
“Eduction, is rooted in the Latin “educere” which means “to draw out, elicit, evolve, to educe, or infer from data”. Too often in education today, an instructor will not share all sides of an argument with students or a curious individual for fear that the student or individual will arrive at a reasoned or rational point of view that is in opposition to the instructor. Many would rather indoctrinate through education because it is easier and more controlling.
My solution to all this is not to run from it but embrace the opportunity to read, listen, and study all sides of an argument and understand it so well that you can argue and recite the fallacy of the opposition. Expose it for its weakness and propose a solution that actually makes a persuasive argument. This takes work, study, time and most of all, persistence. It takes thinking, reflection, and rechecking one’s premise. The alternative I fear is chaos.
“Should I Stay or Should I Go” was released in 1982 as a double A-sided single with
“Straight-to-Hell”. Hm, if we do not practice our persuasion and eduction skills we just may end up in that forsaken place. The next time someone says to you, “If we can just provide those people with education” you’ll know what they mean. Think like them or else. I think I’ll go.