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Winston Churchill on Education and What It Means for All of Us

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
February 27, 2024 3:03 am

Winston Churchill on Education and What It Means for All of Us

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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February 27, 2024 3:03 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College and a Churchill scholar, tells the story of Winston Churchill on Education.

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See AT&T.com slash Samsung for details. And we continue with our American stories. Up next, a story on education and Sir Winston Churchill, told by Dr. Larry Peorn, a Churchill scholar and president of Hillsdale College. Winston Churchill, do you know, was a very great man.

It's breathtaking. He had flaws and all that, right? But nobody like him. He writes of Hitler, you see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police. On all sides, they are guarded by masses of armed men and cannons and airplanes and forts. And they want themselves before the world. Yet in their hearts, there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words. Words spoken abroad. Thoughts stirring at home, all the more powerful because forbidden. These terrify them, a little mouse of thought appears in the room and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into a panic. A tyrant is the enemy of learning any high thing.

That's the worst thing about them. And Winston Churchill knew that, didn't go to college. I met Sir Martin Gilbert, through whom I met Penelope Arnn, in a little library in North London called the Wiener Library. And this library is, we were to meet there and then I was to walk with him to the London School of Economics where I was supposed to be a student, although I hardly ever went there. Moved to Oxford right away because he gave me a job and I had to chase him down the stairs and say, where should I live? And he said, Oxford. I said, okay. So I moved over the weekend. But because of him, I met Penelope, my wife, right?

That was a big day for me. But I walk in this library and it's this quiet little library and there are these two Jewish ladies running it, older ladies. And I'm kind of shy.

I'm from Arkansas, you know, and never been abroad before. And I said, I'm looking for Martin Gilbert. And they knew immediately who that was. And they walked me over and he's looking at a book. It's a primary school reader and it's got the kind of primary colors in it. And he said, hello, nice to meet you. Look at this book.

Do you know what it was? It was a textbook from Hitler's Germany. And the story in the textbook, it's a little storybook, pictures and turn the page and a few words on each page. And what was happening was some German children with blonde hair and blue eyes and brown uniforms and backpacks went into a butcher shop. And the butcher was a Jewish butcher. He actually looked rather like Bluto in the Popeye cartoons. And the plot of the story is that he was tempting these German children into the back and he was butchering them.

Primary school, little kids. And Martin Gilbert said, notice this. And he pointed because there are sides of pork hanging everywhere. And he says, notice that the color, the hue of the sides of pork is the same as the hue of the skin of the butcher.

And nobody else is like that. That's education under a tyrant. You know what Churchill said education is?

He didn't go to college. Today, if you hear a politician, Republican or Democrat, describe education, it's a little better recently. But if you hear them describe it, they never know what it is.

Right? They think it's success. They think it's, you know. Whereas what Zach needs to know and what Carly needs to know is they need to know how to be.

They need to know how to live their lives because their whole lives are in front of them. And everything turns on how they choose. And we don't know that today, see. And that means that we're going down the road where you find Hitler at the end.

Right? In 1946, the war is over. Churchill has become the greatest man in the world and he goes to the University of Miami and gets an honorary degree. He always made the same joke when he got one. I've been so much better at receiving degrees than I was at taking exams.

But I'll read you what he wrote. This is an age of machinery and specialization. I hope nonetheless or all the more that the purely vocational aspect of university study will not be allowed to dominate or monopolize the attention of the returning servicemen.

Soldiers coming back from war. In 1953, I've known this for about a year. And as you know, I'm old now and I've been studying Winston Churchill for a long time. In 1953, he's the prime minister of the country for the second time and they're having a fight because they're starting adult education.

And he won't let them bring the bill forth. The secretary of education doesn't understand what education is about. She wants it all to be vocational.

Just training for a job. Do you see how ungenerous that is? Because all you're going to teach them to do is to do what you teach them to do. Instead of teaching them to be human, helping them to learn to be fully human. And so he says, I have to only paraphrase this, I don't have the quote right here, but he says, for adult people to address themselves to the greatest books in their age, what a satisfaction.

I was a late starter myself, he says. You see, he thinks human beings are ends, not means. That's why he saw Hitler for what he was. He goes on.

Engines were made for men, not men for engines. It ought to be part of our religion to see that our country is well governed. Well governed means, by the way, an education system and a governing system that treats you as the point of it all.

The purpose. Expert knowledge, however indispensable, is no substitute for a generous and comprehending outlook upon the human story with all its sadness and all its unquenchable hope. What does that mean? That means that the stakes in politics are everything. And you can only play for the stakes in the right way if you understand that politics is not everything. And the great statesmen who save everything are the ones who know that.

And you're listening to Dr. Larry Arnn, an extraordinary teacher who truly understands what education is, what its value is, and how it makes us all more human if done right. Human beings are ends, not means. Churchill understood that. Engines were made for men, not men for engines. It applies today like it did when Churchill uttered those lines in the 1950s.

The story of education and what Churchill thought about education, what Dr. Arnn, one of America's great educators in the classical sense and in the classic sense, and the story of so much more here on Our American Stories. Step into the world of power, loyalty, and luck. I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-27 04:38:58 / 2024-02-27 04:43:29 / 5

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