04w51:2 John Ralston Saul on Citizenship, Education, and Bilingualism

by timothy. 0 Comments

Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 51 number 2 (John Ralston Saul on citizenship, education, and bilingualism)

Upon Receiving an Honorary Degree from U of Ottawa | John Ralston Saul
“This privilege of freedom – which you haven’t been able to fully enjoy – comes with obligations. [They] have to do with your becoming full citizens, not simply with your becoming specialists, and they certainly do not have to do with you becoming someone who may earn a bit more money than others because of university training. This creation of the citizen is at the centre of the idea of public education in Canada. We are an egalitarian society, not a class-based society. […] I hope, in spite of the cost of education, that you have managed to use a good part of your time in order to read well beyond the books which were necessary for your courses, that you’ve been thinking about things that go well beyond what you’ve been specifically educating yourselves for and that you’ve been wasting the maximum amount of time pushing each other in debates and disagreements. […] On the other hand, if you haven’t been doing this for the last four years, I can reassure you of one thing: you’ve got about another 70 years […] on average, ahead of you to continue your reading and your debating and your thinking that you hopefully started in university. You’ve been preparing yourselves for the reality of truly living for the next 70 odd years. […] You’re not in a platoon going out to the frontline. And yet, they’ll talk a great deal to you about loyalty. In fact, a certain kind of disloyalty is essential to the success of a democracy, because disloyalty in normal peace time activity is a citizen’s strength. It’s all about talking and disagreeing and being disagreeable in public because you don’t want to conform, because you are not loyal to what others say you’re supposed to think. […] If you get into that habit now of being a tough-minded, disagreeable citizen, known as somebody who is not afraid to speak out in private meetings or in public or anything in between, then you will see that life is not about simply being there for the working hours, it isn’t simply about fulfilling the tasks which have been given you, or about getting the form right. Life is about something much more interesting and that. If you’re willing to take the risks, you’ll be in a position to change the way in which things are normally done. ”

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emailed by Timothy on Wednesday 15 December 2004 @ 3:14 PM

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