by Jack Le Moine
George Will’s column in the Washington Post today addresses the importance on fact-based education based on past knowledge.
And Americans are increasingly living in social silos and susceptible to confirmation bias — receptive only to information and ideas that confirm what they already think. Hence the nation’s foundational precepts need to be carefully studied, robustly debated and thoughtfully celebrated.”
Here are some quotes from past leaders.
Something Woodrow Wilson actually got right was that a university should be an “organ of recollection” and a “seat of vital memory,” lest we “become infantile in every generation.”
In his novel “Mr. Sammler’s Planet,” Saul Bellow wrote:
“It is sometimes necessary to repeat what all know. All mapmakers should place the Mississippi in the same location, and avoid originality. It may be boring, but one has to know where he is. We cannot have the Mississippi flowing toward the Rockies for a change.”
Historian Daniel Boorstin said, “Trying to plan for the future without knowing the past is like trying to plant cut flowers.”
Ronald Knox, the English priest and author who said that in the modern age “you do not believe what your grandfathers believed, and have no reason to hope that your grandsons will believe what you do.”
John Adams believed that “education makes a greater difference between man and man than nature has made between man and brute.”
I remember Isaac Newton’s response to a question, how can you see so much? “Because I stand on the shoulders of giants,” he replied.
For those looking to nurture a culture of progress and innovation this is the path forwards.