By Dude Swheatie of KwugAs regular readers of this blog will know, I am a member of a political party that is standing in the 2015 UK General Election. Something that few of you will know is that from my 24th year and well into my 40's I was a great follower of the writings of American 19th Century 'transcendentalist' writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, even while Margaret Thatcher seemed to enjoy elaborating on his statement that "there is no such thing as society."(1) Yet I reckon that before the jingoism of the 'Falklands Factor' came to her electoral rescue Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher would not have enjoyed the Emerson quotation I came across this morning by way of a youtube recording of a Noam Chomsky lecturer entitled Corporate Attack on Education.(2)
In about the opening ten minutes Chomsky cites Adam Smith's much neglected-by-capitalists'-spin views of the wealthy who control society - or at least like to believe they can control society while greed controls them.(3) And then around the 12 minute mark he presents an Emerson quotation that I could not initially recall having read before but is much easier to track down in print via a Yahoo! search these days than it is to track down the original hard copy books. Such Yahoo! searches are great aids to direct quotation by way of copy-and-paste into blog piece!(4)
And that quotation from the essay New England Reformers made me laugh so much that I want to share it with my readers, albeit in a slightly more expanded form than that used by Chomsky:
I am afraid the remark is too honest, and comes from the same origin as the maxim of the tyrant, "If you would rule the world quietly, you must keep it amused." I notice too, that the ground on which eminent public servants urge the claims of popular education is fear: "This country is filling up with thousands and millions of voters, and you must educate them to keep them from our throats."The essential trouble for those politicians is that while I am an adult with a learning difficulty that tends toward slowness in learning and internalising 'information', once I became a reader I was better positioned to become a self-directed learner, and not accept, say, BBC shortlists of which politicians are worth the public hearing.
— Copied and pasted from Wikiquote Ralph Waldo Emerson (5)