Teach the Children Well: Six Thinkers for a New Generation
“Unless we can make the philosophic foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue … the prospects of freedom are indeed dark.”
- F. A. Hayek (1949), Studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (1967).
MasterResource is a free market energy blog covering green jobs, climate-change policies, mineral-resource availability, and other political economy issues. Much of our analysis gets back to a realistic view of consumer-driven markets versus government intervention (and business cronyism behind much government intervention). And that gets to critical thinkers whose timeless contributions have shaped modern arguments about freedom versus coercion.
World views and critical thinking skills are formed early. Thus it is incumbent upon our high schools–public and private–to fairly present competing ideas so that students can appreciate contrast and better understand the “middle” of the debate.
Once students get the fundamentals of major societal issues and policy debates, they can go off to college and see through the tenured professors who too often are not scholars but closed-minded, arrogant intellectuals. (Guaranteed jobs for life can do that, but educational reform is coming….)
I had the good fortune to guest-teach at Houston’s Kinkaid School where I graduated (class of ’73) from. My three-week Interim Term course (2006–2010) introduced a group of students each year to the science of liberty, in distinction to the Progressive view that slants their curriculum in U.S. History, Government, and Economics.
Elite high schools, like colleges, have a diversity problem–but not in the area that one might think. The wise George Will said it well:
American campuses have more insistently proclaimed their commitment to diversity as they have become more intellectually monochrome. They do indeed cultivate diversity — in race, skin color, ethnicity, sexual preference. In everything but thought.
But how can the students be reached with a viewpoint that they want to hear–but one that their teachers might not be sufficiently interested in to teach them? One solution in the information age is a website where
- Inquiring students can visit and learn what they are missing;
- Parents can visit to share with/educate their children-students;
- Teachers will study knowing that students, parents, alumni, and even administration are studying.
Such a site, www.freekinkaid.org, was started by a group of Kinkaidians five weeks ago today. By link dissemination (no advertising), approximately six thousand Kinkaid parents, alumni, students, and teachers have viewed the site, as well as those in other Houston private schools. Outside attention might follow given that the site could be a template for similar efforts in other schools around the country.
The Big Six (Intellectuals)
A particularly popular attraction on the homepage has been the “Kinkaid Six” where each scholar presents a message to school students.
James Buchanan: realistic, not romantic, government
Milton Friedman: free to choose
F. A. Hayek: undesigned market order
Ludwig von Mises: real-world economics
Ayn Rand: rational self-interest
Julian Simon: the ultimate resource
Is this site helpful to present a worldview that is currently missing or underrepresented on the faculty of your high school or university?
What thinkers might you add to these six?
How might the freedom message be best presented to the next generation for better thinking for a better society? Nominations are now open!