Part 3 of my series on education in a pluralistic society is now up at EdChoice. Previous parts covered how we want transcendent things from education and how schools deliver them even in a pluralistic context. I now turn to why our growing use of technocratic accountability systems gets in the way – and why this danger is perennial in a pluralistic society:
Ask yourself why this kind of standardizing technocracy didn’t exist before the rise of the modern world with its freedom and pluralism. Disagreement about transcendent things was unthinkable in older, tradition-bound societies. They did not need to worry, as we do, about what might happen if we admit that we don’t agree about the things that matter to us most.
This is also why the temptation to embrace technocracy never goes away, no matter how many times we try these kinds of systems and find they don’t work. Once we claim our freedom to think for ourselves, we are always tempted to flee from our responsibility to think for ourselves.
Debating what is good, true and beautiful is hard. Giving power to a class of technocrats who promise us we won’t have to settle such uncomfortable questions is much easier…while it lasts.
As always, your thoughts are appreciated!