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The Release From Tutelage

What kind of schools do we need to extricate ourselves from the conspiracy to be much less than we really are? Why, enlightened schools, of course, in the sense Immanuel Kant wrote about them. "Man’s release from a tutelage," said Kant, "is enlightenment. His tutelage is his inability to make use of his understanding without guidance from another." Tutelage is the oppressor we must overthrow, not conspiracy. Eva Brann of St. John’s College saw the matter this way: the proper work of a real self, she said, is to be active in gathering and presenting, comparing and distinguishing, subjecting things to rules, judging. The very notion of America is a place where argument and self-reliance are demanded from all if we are to remain America. Annoying as it often is, our duty is to endure argument and encourage it. "Would the world be more beautiful were all our faces alike?" wrote Jefferson. "The Creator has made no two faces alike, so no two minds, and probably no two creeds."

The first Enlightenment was a false one. It merely transferred the right to direct our lives from a corporate Church and a hereditary nobility to a pack of experts whose minds were (and are) for sale to anyone with a checkbook. In the second Enlightenment we need to correct our mistakes, using what schools we decide upon to help us strive for full consciousness, for self-assertion, mental independence, and personal sovereignty—for a release from tutelage for everybody. Only in this way can we make use of our understanding without guidance from strangers who work for a corporate state system, increasingly impatient with human beings.

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