Education is Liberation
One of the greatest losses suffered by abandoning our classical Christian heritage has been the loss of intellectual freedom. Classical education has also been called the liberal arts because it prepares people to be at liberty intellectually. The goal of the education being given at St. Abeâ€™s is to provide students with the tools of learning so they will be able to think with wisdom for themselves. In abandoning this type of education, we, as a nation, have set the stage for ourselves and our children to be easily enslaved by the prevailing doctrines of our day. In T.S. Eliotâ€™s words, we have set ourselves up to become a great body of â€œmen and women detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion: in other words, we have become a mobâ€ which is â€œno less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed , well housed, and well disciplined.â€ This is no less evident than in election years! Our children no longer have the mental will to not fall prey to the clamoring of the loudest voice which is grasping for our attention. Instead, they mindlessly follow the latest pied piper of the day, lured by the newest tune.
Dorothy Sayers, in an essay on what she calls the lost tools of learning, recognizes the intellectual enslavement we ensure for our children by neglecting our classical Christian heritage. Writing in 1947, she says:
â€œWe let our young men and women go out unarmed, in a day when armor was never so necessary. By teaching them all to read, we have left them at the mercy of the printed word. By the invention of the film and the radio, we have made certain that no aversion to reading shall secure them from the incessant battery of words, words, words. They do not know what the words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edge or fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects. We who were scandalized in 1940 when men were sent to fight armored tanks with rifles, are not scandalized when young men and women are sent into the world to fight massed propaganda with a smattering of â€œsubjectsâ€; and when whole classes and whole nations become hypnotized by the arts of the spell binder, we have the impudence to be astonished.â€
Even more so today than seven decades ago, our children are at the mercy of the printed word. St. Abeâ€™s exists for the purpose of making students masters of words, rather than slaves to them. Ironically, the first step in doing so is also why St. Abeâ€™s exists we want our students to be slaves of The Word, for this is the first step to truly being free.