Altruism versus the Individual in Public Education

The long wait for summer is almost over as school years are beginning to wind down. And that of course means graduations- a celebration of scholastic success and new beginnings, a time when young people begin to discover themselves and start the attainment of their dreams. But amidst the proms, barbeques and recognition of achievement, is there something darker? Could it be that the public educators are using the opportunity to implant a dark seed in the minds of graduates to undermine personal achievement? An idea that the investments made in them are not truly for the sake of their individual success?

It was with horror that I sat through my local high school’s graduation and senior awards ceremony and noted the subtle emphasis placed not on personal achievement, but altruisim. Senior project awards were given out based on the project’s altruistic efforts. Speakers praised the hard work of the graduates as being for the good of the collective student body. With alarming frequency, altruism is spoken of in glowing societal terms. And if someone, say a trusting and impressionable young high school graduate, does not know what altruism is, they would probably accept its goodness without question.

But what is altruism really? It is inherently statist- individuals are taught they have no worth in themselves. In fact, as an individual, they are a burden to the collective. They drain the collective’s resources and weaken it with their selfish needs and interests. The only value they have to society is through charity to other unfortunates, charity that comes to their own personal detriment.

In its true context, altruism is not desirable. It is extremely detrimental to the power of the individual, which this country was built on. Controversial though it may be, the question must be asked- is public education purposely undermining the self-worth of our young people? And for what reason? The fact that the public education system is teaching our students, the future of this country, that they have no self worth, is disturbing indeed.