The Common Sense of Educating The Whole Person / #criticalthinkers #citizenship #theFreedomPapers
It does not seem to be that being outspoken, non-tribal critical thinkers are valued or rightly understood for what they can offer the local and national community. The established, public school educational order seems to disregard the creation of Americans with these mindsets, and appears to be tilted in favoring the shaping of minds primarily into important specific knowledge focuses (science, technology, education, math).
The creation, valuing and support of open-minded, non-tribal, ideologically free, moral critical thinkers is one of the greatest gifts any nation seeking to maintain individual freedom and liberty can give itself, because these protect and defend, not firstly with weapons made of iron, but with the intangible instruments of the mind: common sense, refined executive functions, and intellects crafted to become observant, analytical, fair and balanced in perspective, ever-ready to the questioning and refinement of one’s education.
Education, then, is not always had within the confines of the schools and universities, but out in the real world through the practice of writing, of public speaking, in the discussion of ideas, in the discussion of history, in the understanding of one self; ones prejudices, how one’s perspectives were formed, how they are changed, and why we must change, why we must keep some things the same, why it is important to defend some ideas, and finally, why it is important to create new ideas.
Critical thinkers in the English Parliament looked to talk common sense into King Charles of England. They called on him to refrain his military and financial imposition on his English subjects in America. They railed in Parliament beseeching their colleagues to abstain from seeking to further reproach their fellow Englishmen with impositions on their freedoms and liberties and on their pursuit of living at peace, and called upon the King to steadfastly change his tactics course in engaging war on the grounds of the opposition simply seeking their freedom from oppression. At stake was the possibility of losing its complete investment in a new and uncharted land of opportunity.
But alas, King Charles did not listen to these particular parliamentary speakers, choosing instead the rough road of greater taxation, and maintaining hostility in his military towards his own subjects in America. Such a strategy fomented the rise of the first and second Continental Congresses to arise as an organization of government fueled not in ideology, but in the universal pursuit of creating a government based on the protection and defense of individual freedom and liberty.
This congress was not like today’s U.S. Congress in our nation’s capital, but it was mobile, in continual communication within itself in a time when there were no other branches of government, yet in time, it saw that it would need a President to lead, manage, direct, and confront the challenges directly facing the nation, that it would need a supreme court of law of which the ideas founding the birth of a nation would be protected with jurisprudence from immediate ideological threats, and that a congress representing the nations people, could join to discuss all the matters of relevancy, being as one, an equal branch to the President, and that of a most supreme court.
It was so that fifty six men signed the Declaration of Independence when there was yet no other government but that congress of delegates and its own military wing administrated by none other than General George Washington. They signed a piece of paper with ideas on what they did not like, and what they held dear as to how a people should be able to live. Though they were men, their families, including women and children, suffered greatly due to their staunch adherence to a vision of individual freedom and liberty, and of a right to live in peace without oppression. These were men with wives and children. They were critical thinkers. Nineteen of them were Yale, Harvard or Princeton graduates. Some were lawyers, some were doctors, inventors, writers, businessmen, and some were farmers.
Of the signers of the parchment, all were targeted with efforts of having their livelihoods destroyed. One third of the signers had their lives and property effectively brought to ashes. Five were captured by the British and killed. One was imprisoned and died to the conditions of his capture. Another signer, suffered having his wife imprisoned and she died therein, whereas, another had his wife and thirteen children run out of their home and into harsh weather to die. The rest of the signers were under constant threat of danger.
But they did not stop. They discussed the most important topics, refining their critical thinking skills, strengthening their resolve to confidently move forward to do what was right for those they represented, and they understood the gravity of the moment in time they were in.
Question: How should we go about discussing the most important topics of discussion in the public domain?
In one respect, the delegates of the Continental Congress’s were at first seeking unity through the introduction, clarification of ideas through discourse, (therein exercising their critical thinking abilities), in order to get intellectually and emotionally ready to finally declare the Godly-right to be respected as individuals, in their property, and in their ability to secure their own futures without oppression, or threat of oppression and at the second, doing so while maintaining a real army to begin to defend such rights in the face of intolerance.
None of these 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence messaged one another with baseless communication, but the order of the day was a prescient need to secure better terms with England, and if that would not be possible, then to become a sovereign and independent nation of citizens unlike the world had ever had under the system of nation-states.
These farmers, doctors, lawyers, and business men, who in publicly speaking on the ideals which would form a new vision, placed themselves, their families, and their livelihoods in real and present danger. The dangers they experienced heightened the value of their mission each time they joined to speak with one another. They were forming a government from scratch, and were at the basement level, talking about the ideas. There was no glory to bask in for these men and their families, though the occasion of the birth of a nation was truly momentous.
Our words matter, and can electrically lead towards the supercharging of viewpoints and perspectives in others. Taking care to speak soberly, fairly, and with the greatest degree of intellectual responsibility exercises the critical thinking faculties of others, and communicates not only the salient points of the topics, but the need to express self with social responsibility unto others as to how our words impact our fellow citizens. These parameters in how we communicate with one another cannot be emphasized enough. Our ability to discourse respectfully, even as we disagree, marks our ability to look beyond our perspectives and still attain to the greater measure of civility needful to continue the conversation.
If it is not so that we express with an aim of mindful respect on how our communication is received, then should we ask ourselves what is the true goal of our expression? Is it to bring challenging intellectual rigor that constructs ideas and deconstructs erroneous ones, or are we simply looking to express without regard?
It is important ‘how we say what we say,’ as it is important what we are actually saying. The delivery of our message balances the crux of the message. The ‘founding fathers’ of the United States of America gained steam through two Continental Congresses, both clarifying their purpose and vision, and raising their bravado with one another to finally stand up to an English king that was not listening to what was being expressed. An English king who’s own parliament was both advising to invade and prolong military campaigns and also to altogether remove themselves from further oppressing their brethren American colonists counterparts.
The ‘founding fathers’ were patriotic critical thinkers. They were not simply skilled in one trade, but became proficient communicators, and champions of ideas. They valued paraverbal awareness, they valued the ability to communicate with respect, to discuss
ideas, and to be about the identifying of the present threats to individual freedom and liberty. This is what the leaders in the Continental Congresses did. Surely, their were Tories, or monarchist sympathizers within the delegations. There were competing ideological factions vying for a vision for the country.
Yet in the end, it was the God-fearing, bible-toting man, John Adams, who stirred up the spirit within the winning faction of that Second Continental Congress. He did this in repeatedly ‘taking the floor’ and speaking with heart and with such persuasive consensus that it was impossible to ignore the universal altruism of his God-inspired vision for America. Others, like, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Thomas Payne, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin, jumped in and added unto such ideals.
- Do our academic institutions support the creation of non-tribal, ideologically-free critical thinkers?, therein securing new generations of American citizens who are ever on the look out in the protection of our inalienable rights?
- Should our educational system shape professionals proficient in one trade, or professional citizens who can attain to a vocation, and also exercise their ability to critically think in a manner that attains, if not closely aspires to the spirit of 1776?