… is from pages 83-84 of my late, great colleague Walter Williams’s 2010 autobiography, Up From the Projects:
As a professor, I have never used my class for proselytizing students, as so many professors do. I do think that’s academic dishonesty. Personally, I want students to share my conviction that personal liberty, along with free markets, is morally superior to other forms of human organization. The most effective means of getting them to share it is to give them the tools to be rigorous, tough-minded thinkers.
DBx: Walter is correct both ethically and empirically.
The purpose of education is to teach students to be better thinkers. But today increasing numbers of people – especially many so-called “educators” – believe that the purpose of education is to stoke particular sorts of feelings.
‘Feeling’ is easy; it’s done expertly by toddlers. Yet ‘feeling’ is also human. And so it’s true that we want ourselves and others to have appropriate feelings – to have an appropriate set of what Adam Smith called “moral sentiments.” Formal education is not and will never be a chief source of appropriate moral sentiments. Formal education can be, however, a source of knowledge and mental habits that discipline our thinking in ways that assist us in improving the application of our moral sentiments to the outside world.