The late Leonard Read used to say that the best way (and maybe the only way, ultimately) to promote worthwhile ideas and ideals was not to proselytize, not to market, not to preach to others --- but rather, to focus attention on one's own learning, on improving one's own understanding. Then, Read postulated, one could become a beacon of knowledge for others to seek out, when they were ready to appreciate the truth. One could be a wellspring of wisdom. One's very life would be an explicit illustration of the concepts held dearest.
Leonard Read also felt that "education" (in its usual sense of teaching, training, schooling, or rearing) was not the right word to use for spreading important ideas. He suggested instead the term "eduction" --- meaning drawing forth, revealing what is hidden, leading out from the darkness. Read's immediate interest was free markets, private property, limited government, and libertarian (or "classical liberal") economics.
But Leonard Read's gentle philosophy applies far more widely, to every critical concept in life and mind. If a thought is truly good, it cannot be imposed on others by force or fraud without losing whatever goodness it may have had. Rather, it must be offered, diffidently, to those who seek it and are prepared to grasp it. The only real way to share such ideas is by example.
Friday, April 30, 1999 at 19:54:09 (EDT) = Datetag19990430