ARI’s Point of View on Education and a Free Society
For Ayn Rand, a nation’s long-term direction is set not by today’s political headlines and debates, but by the ideas and ideals that come to dominate its culture. Above all else, such dominance depends on trends in a nation’s educational systems, which train young minds and impart fundamental ideas and convictions. If students learn to think rationally and scientifically and to value themselves and their intellectual independence, the culture will come to reflect that. But if education fails in this task, the culture will degrade, with succeeding generations less able to think and to deal with the abstract requirements of life and more willing to follow authority. Such a nation will not remain free for long.
In her lengthy essay “The Comprachicos,” Rand examines the pervasive intellectual influence in education, Progressive education, and finds it thoroughly irrational and destructive. From kindergarten onward the Progressive approach stunts the student’s ability to think abstractly and logically, with far reaching implications for our culture and nation. (Originally published in The Objectivist Newsletter in 1970, “The Comprachicos” can be found in Return of The Primitive.)
ARI stands apart from this modern educational trend. Through our education programs, we foster abstract thinking and intellectual independence in students and oppose the anti-conceptual methodology of Progressive education.
Below is a 1964 interview, part of Columbia University’s “Ayn Rand on Campus” radio series, in which Rand discusses the purpose and value of education, and touches on the effects of contemporary trends in education.