A priest I knew once observed that he anticipated two options at the Pearly Gates. With grace, we will be invited in. Without it, we will be told to break up into small groups.
I used actually to enjoy committee work. But that was with the Editors’Association of Canada. They all knew, and carefully followed, proper rules of order. That makes all the difference. Since, I have been trapped in too many committee rooms where nothing gets decided until the point of exhaustion, and the last person talking gets whatever he or she wants. It is maddening.
In a democracy like Canada, committee work is a glue holding us together. The average person with a desk job is going to spend a lot of his or her life in meetings. This being so, why on earth don’t we teach everyone proper rules of order in high school? Leaving aside its practical value, it is one of the most admirable and charming elements of our heritage.
For that matter, there are a few other vital matters that ought to be taught in high school, and rarely are. First, everyone should be versed in the standard logical fallacies. Everyone should be able to spot an ad hominem, for example, when they see it, and should know why it is not legitimate in argument. With all the time wasted on “media literacy,” this is the real way to ensure our people are not taken in by spurious appeals—if that’s what we really want.
Indeed, in trying to figure out why on earth these things are not taught in every school, I begin to wonder: is it because it would make us too capable of thinking and deciding for ourselves? Is that exactly the problem? I note, after all, that these things apparently are taught at the best private schools. Would the possibility of the average working guy knowing how to form a committee to get things done, and knowing a begging of the question when he heard it, be too much of a threat to the security of an elite?
After all, the true purpose of our schools really is indoctrination, isn’t it? Teaching people to think is not on the agenda.