Phi Beta Cons

An Excellent Essay on an Intriguing Blog

Over the years, the Pope Center has published quite a few articles by SUNY-Oswego English professor Thomas Bertonneau. (An aside: I’ve known Tom for quite a few years, going back to the mid-90s when we both lived in Michigan. If you ever need to know anything about classical music, he’s the best person to ask!)

On a vibrant blog called The Orthosphere, Tom has an essay entitled “H. G. Wells and Education: How Students Respond to Big Ideas.” I recommend reading the essay, which is based on the reactions from students who are required to read some of Wells’ work. Here’s a key paragraph:

A good reason to assign Wells is that, in a broad sense, he is a liberal, just as most students are, and he wants things they think they also want – an egalitarian society, dispossession by the state of surplus personal wealth of others, universal free healthcare and universal free education.  Wells has, however, no respect for democracy, a liberal fetish, a student fetish.  The World Republic of the post-atomic war is the dictatorship of a usurping vanguard, which finds its opportunity in chaos and despair when it takes things in charge.  Karenin’s global system of education requires the abolition of every natural language except English, so as to ease the administrative labor of the governing council.  One writer is rightfully shocked: “They take away any individualism from the world, one sole heart under one government.”  The second part of the sentence baffles me, but the outrage in the first half encourages me.  As propagandized as students are, if only given a chance, they might think their way out of their jejune inculcation.

Read the Whole Thing — and perhaps check out the blog too.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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