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The death of Samuel Paty offers a pause for deep, deep reflection. We at LSS don’t do solemn or serious, and the whole matter is beautifully covered by Charles Hadji in the Conversation. But we have seen the education system from both sides. It’s been around for thousands of years, and on the whole, it has served humanity well. The general agreement is that learners and teachers agree not to kill each other. Our only other general observation is that countries with good education systems seem to prosper economically, as China, South Korea and Germany learned long ago.
Say what you like about what happened after 1792, the ideals of the French Revolution were very important indeed. Along with the Constitution of the United States, they come as close as you can get to a mission statement for the modern world, and Charles addresses this very nicely. Both were products of the Enlightenment, whose founding father was the ultimate multicultural cosmopolitan, Baruch Spinoza. We’ll leave you with this extract from Charles’ first rate article-but do read the lot-it’s worth it. We may have to fight to defend these values one day.
“No one can renounce the freedom to judge and opine as he wishes”, as Spinoza pointed out in his Theological-Political Treatise. “In a free state it is possible for everyone to think what he wants and to say what he thinks”.
However, this in no way gives the “right to act by one’s own decree”. When it comes to actions, the law of the Republic prevails and is imposed on all, even the most zealous servants of a religion.
It is this freedom of thought that the teachers of the Republic must promote and defend – and that was intended to be destroyed in the assassination of Samuel Paty.
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