Ayn Rand Quotes on Education

Do you think many young people have a similar "erroneous" outlook?

Yes. [Obj 774] They have accepted the philosophical beliefs of their elders. [Obj 774] They are the distilled essence of the Establishment's culture. [Obj 916] The average graduate has no concept of knowledge. He has the cynicism of a decadent adult and the credulity of a child. His mind is in a state of whirling confusion. [Obj 917] He finds himself in the midst of the brilliant complexity of an industrial, technological civilization which he cannot begin to understand.

You refer to "graduates" in particular - you think it's education's fault?

[Donahue #1 41:56] Today, those who didn't go to college are better informed and less easily fooled than those who did. [ARL 52] Of all government undertakings, none has failed so disastrously as public education. [Obj 933] The grade-and-high-school teachers blame it on parental influences. The college professors blame it on the teachers. Few, if any, question the content of the courses.

So, what's wrong with the courses?

[Obj 956] The purpose of education is to teach a student how to live, by developing his mind. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e. conceptual. He has to be taught how to think, to integrate, to prove by his own effort. This is what the colleges renounced long ago. What they are teaching today has no relevance to anything.

Is this necessarily the fault of public education? Wouldn't private schools under no regulation run the risk of being even more limited and trend-driven?

[Margin 35] Oh, no! The exact opposite is true. [ARL 78] A private school has the right to teach any ideas of its owners' choice, and to exclude all opposing ideas; but it has no power to force such exclusion on the rest of the country. The opponents have the right to teach a wider spectrum of viewpoints, if they so choose. The competition of the free marketplace of ideas does the rest, determining every school's success or failure - which, historically, was the course of the development of the great private universities. [Faith 8] If you want to prove to yourself the power of ideas, the intellectual history of the Nineteenth Century would be a good example to study.

So you would support a voucher system?

[ARL 81] It would work not as a motor of freedom, but as a brake on total regimentation, [ARL 77] a temporary measure in a grave national emergency. [ARL 53] We are living in a disastrously mixed economy, which cannot be freed overnight. In today's context, the proposal would be a step in the right direction.

What about government scholarships?

[Obj 92] The recipient of a public scholarship is morally justified only so long as he regards it as restitution and opposes all forms of welfare statism. Those who advocate public scholarships have no right to them; those who oppose them, have. If this sounds like a paradox, the fault lies in the moral contradictions of welfare statism, not in its victims.

Excerpt from a Wired "Interview" that was constructed from the writing and interviews of Ayn Rand. Some interesting stuff here...

Considering my current status as a government-funded graduate student, this was particularly interesting:

"The recipient of a public scholarship is morally justified only so long as he regards it as restitution and opposes all forms of welfare statism."