So, I have been reading a fair amount of Scottish philosophy in preparation for my masters program. When something struck me last night that scared me. In Adam Smith’s writings he discusses all of the benefits of capitalism, which boil down to true freedom in a sense that it has the most fluid social system allowing people to move from one class to the next and capitalism by nature produces more than it needs and creates an environment in which the even the most poor benefit. He said, “it is better to be a poor man in a rich country than a rich man in a poor country”, and to some effect this is true. However, Adam Ferguson has made a compelling point on the great disadvantages of capitalism. He believed that when you place a societal emphasis on making money and producing products, that morality and virtue bend to the will of the market. Adam Smith counters Ferguson’s ideas by saying that educating people in the history of humanity and the understanding of earlier cultural morality can prevent this lack of virtue from ever coming to fruition.
Now that I have said that I can explain what scares me. I think that not only is our government failing us, but our education system is also. We have a government which, lets be honest (regardless of party) is completely out of touch with the average person and for all intents and purposes is ran by businessmen. Then we have an educational system that is abandoning learning for completing benchmarks, there is a generation of kids that have facts memorized, but can’t think for themselves, and its easier for me to count people my age that have opinions on the world than the apathetic lazy asses that don’t care because it doesn’t effect their paycheck.
At least once a day I am asked what am I doing with my life, I reply by telling them I plan to go to graduate school to study Scottish political philosophy, without hesitation people smirk, furrow their eyebrows, frown, or even laugh at the idea, then the inevitable question, “What do you plan on doing with that…nothing” The question I have always wanted to ask in response was, I did not realize that learning was only worth something if it was vocational training. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I amck to life, I want to believe that peop smarter or better than anyone, but I do feel different. I feel different because I want to know that there is more than a paychele not only can do good, but will, but most of all I want to live a life dedicated to knowledge and understanding of what we are as a species.