Towards a free commonwealth

«Academies, that are founded at the public expense, are instituted not so much to cultivate men’s natural abilities as to restrain them. But, in a free commonwealth, arts and sciences will be best cultivated to the full, if everyone that asks leave is allowed to teach publicly, and that at his own cost and risk.»

– Spinoza, “Political Treatise“, §49.


«Today it is  relatively easy to get wide  agreement on  the  fact  that gratuitous
compulsory schooling  is contrary  to the political self-interest  of an  enlightened majority. (…)

Community  control  of  the lower  levels  of  a  system  turns  local  school  board members  into  pimps  for  the  professional  hookers who  control  the upper  levels.  Learning  by doing
is  not worth much  if doing has  to  be  defined,  by professional  educators  or  by  law,  as  socially valu­able  learning.  The global  village will  be  a  global schoolhouse  if  teachers hold  all  the  strings.  It would  be  distinguishable  in  name  only  from  a global madhouse  run  by  social  therapists  or  a global  prison  run  by  corporation  wardens. (…)

Learning  from  programmed  information  always hides  reality  behind a  screen. (…)

The  consumer  of precooked knowledge  learns to react  to knowledge he has  acquired  rather  than to  the  reality  from  which  a  team  of  experts  has abstracted  it.  If access  to  reality  is  always  con­trolled  by  a  therapist  and  if the  learner  accepts this  control  as  natural,  his  entire  worIdview  be­comes hygienic and neutral; he becomes politically

– Ivan Ilich, “After Deschooling, What?”, p. 1-28.


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