Monday, September 27, 2010

Socrates in South Carolina?

We are about to embark on an important debate in South Carolina - the "Governor's Summit on Higher Education" that will hopefully be in a "Socratic environment" as he put it:

"We think this summit could well provide the open and indeed Socratic environment needed to foster a frank debate about how best to address recent burdensome tuition hikes, as well as explore ways to better protect the taxpayer while keeping the dream of college within reach for hardworking South Carolina families." (quotes from Governor Sanford's website)

Let's remind ourselves that Socrates who was characterized by Plato as "the gadfly of the state (Athens)" and found guilty of corrupting the young minds of Athens and refusing to recognize the gods - was not necessarily a man of the political establishment in Athens.

A "Socratic environment" calls for an openess to debate and a willingness to engage in education, as well as the need to challenge and question 'conventional wisdom or myths'.

Let the debate begin: myths tend to shrink in the light of reason.

And lets keep Benjamin Franklin's stern warning in our mind: "The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance."

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