Benjamin Franklin once said “The good education of youth has been esteemed by wise men in all ages, as the surest foundation of the happiness both of private families and of common-wealths,”
He and the rest of the Founders recognized that the continuation of liberty is in the hands of an educated electorate. When the people are uninformed, they can be manipulated and enslaved- case in point- the feudalist system in the Middle Ages.
So, if the education of the public, and particularly young people, is crucial in a free society, the role of the teacher is perhaps one of the most important. They influence the individual at a crucial age- when they are discovering the world and learning to think for themselves. By opening the young mind to the wonders of society and humanity, a good professor can inspire passion in a student to succeed and change the world. And that is a truly beautiful thing.
But what happens when the teacher misuses their position? What happens when the teacher uses their position to push a private agenda, poisoning the student’s mind through malicious lies?
Given the trust and importance placed in public educators, is this duplicity not a betrayal of the free society they are supposed to be preserving?
I have spent many lectures fighting back tears of anger as my professors malign everything I believe in, mocking the conservative way of thinking, lying about the goals of an opposing party, snickering at anyone who has the guts to stand up and try to defend what they believe in. Can there be anything more despicable than a professor who uses their position to put down young people who are just learning to stand up for themselves? Yes, freedom of speech is crucial to public dialogue, and teachers have a right to their opinion, but do those opinions have a place in the classroom, especially when they are used it to be divisive and to bully?
And what about the lies? How many students take what their teachers say at face value, as they should be able to, and live in the manufactured reality of political spin? Shouldn’t we be able to place trust in our educators? Is it any wonder then, when the classroom is used as a propaganda platform, that the right wing is so unabashedly maligned in the public dialogue?
And perhaps the most crucial question, what does this mean for the future of our country? When students are lied to, taught not to think for themselves, and believe in the absolute evil of a certain way of thinking, how can a free society survive? This is where education becomes a national security issue. This is what the Founders warned about. The teacher has the power to shape the destiny of the next generation. And when they use their position to indoctrinate rather than promote critical thought, teach them to be guided by the opinions of others- that is when the next generation becomes slaves to the government, rather than the masters of it.