Carter G. Woodson’s classic book entitled “The Mis-Education of the negro”, is one of my all time favorite books. In 1933, he wrote a series of brutally honest essays on the state of our nation and its failures to properly educate the masses of people. I often refer to his writings when I am trying to make sense of our current social, economic, and political mess.
As our partisan politicians debate the answers to our many ills, both parties seem to believe that the answer lies within their ranks. Liberals believe that more government programs for the masses will stop our current societal hemorrhaging. Many liberals believe that throwing billions of our tax dollars into large bureaucratic agencies is the most effective way to lift the unfortunate. This “Robin Hood” mentality of robbing the rich to give to the poor sounds noble on the surface. Mr. Woodson poignantly argues against this socialistic viewpoint…
“History shows that although large numbers of people have actually tried to realize such pleasant dreams, they have in the final analysis come back to a social program based upon competition. If no one is to enjoy the fruits of exceptional labor any more than the individual who is not prepared to render such extraordinary service, not one of a thousand will be sufficiently humanitarian to give himself to achieve much of importance.”
The conservatives of our current generation have themselves fallen into the same trap of big government. The recent robbing of our pockets in the form of corporate welfare, bailouts, and special tax deals for only the top income earners negatively impact the masses of working class Americans. Mr. Woodson understood and properly articulated the need for radical change in the way we view or nation. In explaining this radical change, Mr. Woodson was not speaking of demanding our rights to be taken care of by the Government, nor was he speaking of Tea Parties or bigotry disguised as conservatism. His argument was for radical thinking, a truly radical definition of capitalism based upon real competition. He understood that the best form of Government was one that insured that every man could compete in the open market for their own success. He also understood that a system that pure would produce enough wealth to sustain those that could not sustain themselves while still rewarding the achiever. He also understood that America has never realized this effective balance of personal responsibility and social equality in regards to opportunity.
Both of our political parties today have longed promised security to the masses of people. One party offers security with a never ending stream of freebies designed to help the recipient, but in the end enslaves the recipient to the Government. The other party offers special deals to those in power while promising that wealth will eventually trickle down to the masses in the form of jobs and security. Mr. Woodson understood that Security does not lie within Washington DC, nor in the legislative chamber of State governments, nor in the halls of our Judicial system. Our only security lies within our ability to perform. Mr. Woodson wrote,
“History shows that it does not matter who is in power or what revolutionary forces take over the government, those who have not learned to do for themselves and have depended solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning.”
This notion of self empowerment is the key to retarding this trend of more Government, and the secret is education. The masses of Americans can no longer blindly allow others to think for them. We cannot trust the mutual fund managers, the supervisors, the job placement programs, the Mayor’s Office nor anyone else to feed us information. We live in the information age, and there is an abundance of relevant information for us to inspire our own personal radical revolution. To quote Mr. Woodson…
“Philosophers have long conceded, however, that every man has two educations: that which is given to him, and the other that which he gives himself. Of the two the latter is by far the more desirable.”
What will your history show?