“A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?” -George Washington on Studying Politics
I think that this quote really shows how forward looking George Washington was. Few people want to seriously study politics, whether that be political science or political philosophy. The job market for those majors isn’t as lucrative as it is for a more business-focused major, so fewer intelligent people want to study politics.
That is potentially disastrous for America. Yes, business is a great thing to study and economic success is incredibly important. But so is the study of what makes a government work and how to preserve liberty and freedom. Undoubtedly those values are just as important as economic success, if not more so, right? I certainly think so. That is why I am a double major in accounting and politics. I think it is very important to learn business and politics. The practical and the philosophical. By learning both of those things I think I am becoming a more well-rounded person. However, I think the politics aspect of my education is the more important aspect. It is what will help me, and the others in that discipline, be the “future guardians of liberty” that Washington mentions in this great quote.
It would be great if everyone in America was taught more about politics. Especially in middle school and high school. At that age, children could be imbued with the values and virtues that will allow them to make America even better than it currently is. I think that is what this quote by George Washington on studying politics is really about. Kids should learn what values their government operates on and why those values are important. Without that knowledge, how can they be expected to uphold the virtues found in the Constitution?
Many of America’s problems today stem from one main thing. What is that thing? It is that kids aren’t taught the proper virtues and values. They are taught about diversity and kindness, and that is about it. They aren’t taught about republican virtues (not the Republican political party, but rather the values necessary for the citizen of a republic), liberty, or why the Constitution is so important. That is why you see the totalitarianism on college campuses that I mentioned in a recent post. The students simply don’t know what is important or how to govern themselves or each other. However, if they learned republican virtues and how to govern themselves, our college campuses would be much better places.
George Washington was incredibly forward looking, as shown by his quote on studying politics. He understood that without every generation learning republican virtues, such as why liberty is important, those virtues would quickly fall by the wayside. Recent years are all the proof that is needed. As schools have stopped teaching as much about why America and its values are great, those values have disappeared from our society. We need to start teaching them again!
Image at top from: AZ Quotes