Most Schooling is Just Training for Stupidity and Conformity”

Here’s a disturbing comment from Noam Chomsky, the foremost intellectual in the United States:

Chomsky praises good teachers but warns us that “most schooling is just training for stupidity and conformity, and there are institutional reasons for that.… There are plenty of people who don’t want students to think. They are afraid of the ‘crisis of democracy.’ When people start thinking, then you get all these problems that I was quoting at the beginning. They won’t have humility enough to submit to a civil rule, or they’ll start trying to press their demands in the political arena, or they’ll have ideas of their own instead of believing what they’re told. Privilege and power typically don’t want that, so they can react, and a high school teacher who tries to get students to think may find repression, firing, and so on.” You can read more about this subject in Chomsky’s book Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies.

This fact of political life could explain why the medieval trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) tends to be suppressed in U.S. education. These studies help people develop the skills to think for themselves and to press their demands in the political arena.

Chomsky has been called the foremost intellectual in the United States because his scholarly work gets cited more often than that of any other living person. He was the eighth most cited source overall, behind Marx, Lenin, Shakespeare, Aristotle, the Bible, Plato, and Sigmund Freud.

Photo by Andrew Rusk

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