2

To quote Lincoln's Gettysburg Address a democracy is

Government of the people, by the people, for the people

But how can a democracy function effectively if the population are not educated about the political system, and thus don't know which form of government best represents them, or which form of government is in their best interests? Bearing this in mind a lot of countries which profess to be a democracy (UK) don't institute compulsory political education, so is some form of political education a necessity for a democracy to function?.

If the answer is no, why not?

And if it's yes, can a country which doesn't institute political education really be considered a democracy?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Drunk Cynic, user9389, user1530, lazarusL, user11249 May 25 '17 at 22:53

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 4
    Are you expecting an answer based on science or political philosophy? – indigochild May 25 '17 at 13:06
  • 2
    Most of those countries do have compulsory education – K Dog May 25 '17 at 13:26
  • 3
    @blip and KDog I have created a chatroom for you to carry this discussion on chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/59300/… please use this instead of bickering in the comments section of my question. – SleepingGod May 25 '17 at 15:53
1

While some Libertarians are against compulsion on principle, I know of no one really that would argue against the idea that education isn't necessary for republican forms of government in principle. Education provides the means of the individual to prevent tyranny, to understand avarice as a corrupting influence in politicians, and it's opposite, virtue, that an uneducated man is both not fully formed unless educated, and it's a duty and obligation of the state and the individual to pursue enlightenment.

Consider the works of Thomas Jefferson (Note that Jefferson doesn't constrain education to politics alone but also to virtue, history and science, although he sometimes uses that term for learning in general):

"I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." --Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820. ME 15:278

"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIV, 1782. ME 2:207

"The most effectual means of preventing [the perversion of power into tyranny are] to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts which history exhibits, that possessed thereby of the experience of other ages and countries, they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes." --Thomas Jefferson: Diffusion of Knowledge Bill, 1779. FE 2:221, Papers 2:526

"The information of the people at large can alone make them the safe as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson to William Duane, 1810. ME 12:417

"Though [the people] may acquiesce, they cannot approve what they do not understand." --Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on Apportionment Bill, 1792. ME 3:211

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384

"Convinced that the people are the only safe depositories of their own liberty, and that they are not safe unless enlightened to a certain degree, I have looked on our present state of liberty as a short-lived possession unless the mass of the people could be informed to a certain degree." --Thomas Jefferson to Littleton Waller Tazewell, 1805.

"Freedom [is] the first-born daughter of science." --Thomas Jefferson to Francois D'Ivernois, 1795. ME 9:297

"Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to, convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. Madison Version FE 4:480

  • 4
    I think you need a good summary of what your answer is. This seems more like a list of quotes and a thought exercise than an answer to a question – SoylentGray May 25 '17 at 15:14

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.