Saturday, August 4, 2007


I am a minor student of World War I. I wish Hollywood would make more films on this almost forgotten war.

Though the air war is not my primary interest, I did recently watch Flyboys. Here is a trailer for those interested.

Education, Discipline, Moral Character

Reading Will and Ariel Durant's The Story of Civilization: Part VIII - The Age of Louis XIV, page 217, speaking of John Milton, I read:

"The first task of the teacher is to form moral character in the student, "to repair the ruins of our first parents"--i.e., to overcome the natural wickedness of man ("original sin")-- or (as we should now say) to readjust to the needs of civilized life the native character formed by the needs of the hunting stage."

I must agree. Though I am not an educator nor a parent, I have witnessed plenty the loss of youth a good education because of their lack of discipline and displaying a moral character. The blame must lie with the parents and teachers. I do not think that will be found in schools the discipline necessary to obtain an education.

A philosophical question will be, since we have thrown God out of our schools, can there be an instilling of moral character?

The Durants quote Milton a little later, page 221:

"There is not that thing in the world of more grave and urgent importance throughout the whole life of man than discipline. What need I instance? He that hath read with judgement of nations and commonwealths...will readily agree that the flourishing and decaying of all civil societies, all the movements and turnings of human occasions, are moved to and fro as upon the axle of discipline.... Nor is there any sociable perfection in this life, civil or sacred, that can be above Discipline; but she is that which with her musical cords preserves and holds all the parts thereof together."

And so I worry about this country, and for the world at large, because I have seen the steady decline of discipline and moral character.

I don't know how we will recover, but it must start with parents and teachers.