Friday, August 30, 2019

What I suspect drives hatred of “populism”

I meet people who tell me they hate “populism”, Trump, Brexit and the like every day. That they really hate is undeniable but their attempts to explain what it is they hate and fear about these things are always incoherent. I’ve long suspected that “populism”, whatever that is supposed to mean, is just a symptom of something else, the passing of a way of life.

A friend of mine shared this on Facebook this morning:
"The purpose of an education is not merely to communicate information, let alone current scientific opinion, nor to train future workers and managers. It is to teach the ability to think, discriminate, speak, and write, and, along with this, the ability to perceive the inner, connecting principles, the intrinsic relations, the LOGOI, of creation, which the ancient Christian Pythagorean tradition (right through the medieval period) understood in terms of number and cosmic harmony." — Stratford Caldecott, Beauty for Truth's Sake

Now that might strike you as a little odd. How many people are committed to the “ancient Christian Pythagorean tradition”? Very few, to answer my own question. But what is at risk is the notion of using education as a way of indoctrinating people into a value set, a way of life. Slowly and by degrees, the government has been taking over higher education and, not surprisingly, it has been insisting that it serve its purposes, which are to train future workers and managers. That’s not necessarily an unalloyed good. But education used to be something different. It used to be an elitist institution whereby the young of a privileged class were indoctrinated into it.


  1. But isn't education becoming elitist once more aS the costs have moved to a point that the population can no longer afford, and the elite smile, as they ensure they are becoming the only ones educated?

    1. That is definitely happening but I don't think it's education that is becoming elitist so much as it is admission to a narrow group of schools.