March 12, 2011

Loving Liberty

Tom Hodgkinson writes in his book The Idle Parent (Click here to visit The Idler web site):

As John Locke wisely observed, children are lovers of liberty. They resist confinement. They appear to have naturally imperious, even insolent natures. Clearly the purpose of 'civilizing' through parental nagging and school-based education systems is to squash the imperiousness and introduce docility. To make slaves out of gods. That the kids resist the process tooth and nail should be celebrated. Might their resistance not demonstrate that there is something at fault with the enclosing system rather than the things enclosed? We should learn from these liberty-lovers to resist enclosure ourselves, rather than attempting to drag the kids down to our slavish level. Forget ideas of 'good' and 'bad' behaviour. Keep instead the poles of 'free' and 'enslaved' in your mind. Reduce authority and enlarge freedom. Revere and respect the little creatures in your house. As Bertrand Russell wrote in 'Freedom Versus Authority in Education': 'Reverence for human personality is the beginning of wisdom, in every social question, but above all in education.'

And George Meredith writes in his novel The Ordeal of Richard Feverel:

It is difficult for those who think very earnestly for their children to know when their children are thinking on their own account. The exercise of their volition we construe as revolt. Our love does not like to be invalided and deposed from its command ...