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The rape of the Locke

“Education, education, education”—a famous soundbite by Tony Blair; and justly famous, for it epitomises what the left thinks at base (it was widely sneered at by the right at the time). Even today, if you voice an inegalitarian point, people (women) will say, “I’m shocked to hear you say such a thing—an educated man like you.” Well, I am educated—possibly over-educated—but the point stands, to be educated and to be on the left are synonymous (and right-wing people are uneducated troglodyte trolls who live under the bridge and believe Jesus and the tooth fairy used to ride dinosaurs about in the Jurassic period—or something like that, anyway).

The obsession with education goes back to John Locke. It was Locke who conceived man as a tabula rasa and, in addition, voiced the opinion that most ills in man can be attributed to a bad upbringing. A bad education. The one proposition follows from the other; and it also follows that if everyone could have a “decent education” then everyone would be as capable as Locke (philosopher, doctor, economist etc). To understand the power Locke attributed to education consider that he said, “I think I may say that of all the men we meet with, nine parts of ten are what they are, good or evil, useful or not, by their education.” So it’s 90% education for Locke.

Locke was taken as an inspiration for the American Revolution and was also a general lodestar for English Whigs (aka the left). His influence has never really diminished. When Blair said “education, education, education” he was just summoning Locke—“nine parts of ten are what they are”. The alternative view is that people are born with innate capacities that can be retarded or refined by life experiences (the potential genius does need the conservatoire where he is taught by someone who was taught by someone who was taught by someone who was taught by someone who was taught by Liszt—otherwise he’ll never get the right hand posture at the piano that has been conveyed down experientially from the master; now that’s tradition—you can’t get it from a YouTube tutorial, no matter how bright you are).

Even today, when conservatives complain that universities are filled with too many people—people who really need to do “apprenticeships”, apparently—they are at war, almost 320 years after he died, with Locke’s ghost. Yet all education amounts to, at all levels, is an indoctrination into leftist ideas—the capacity to think for yourself also being limited by innate factors. Locke’s father was a Puritan; we need to unlock ourselves from this democratic primitive Christian tyranny.


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