IBJOpinion

MARCUS: Training and education aren't same thing

Morton Marcus
March 26, 2011
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Morton Marcus

My friend’s father died last week in Michigan. I never met the father. I don’t know where or when he was born. I don’t know what he did in life or what family may be mourning his passing. I do know he was a very old and very sick man.

His life may not have been lived in Indiana, but that does not make him ineligible for a kind word from a Hoosier. I don’t know whether he had a genial personality, but I believe he had some fine characteristics that are part of his legacy.

These virtues are evident in his son, who is thoughtful in the pursuit of justice and unyielding in his search for personal and social sanity. His son is, as are we all, representative of those who raised us. We have been delegated to carry a set of values and attitudes into a most uncertain future. We are not automatons with pre-programmed responses to a limited set of lifetime experiences. Rather, we are creatures of free will acting in accord with our education as humans.

One must be educated to be human. Many creatures are susceptible to training, but that which makes us human requires education. Training is what we provide for employment, discipline is how we socialize animals, education is what we offer for living as a human being.

This is not news. We have known the value of the arts and humanities, of history and the social sciences for generations. Today, however, we confuse training and discipline with education. Sadly, it will only get worse if the current juggernaut against our schools persists.

It has become fashionable to attack teachers as the villains of education. This is possible because upward mobility from the primordial slime is no longer valued. A society more concerned with settling the professional football contract dispute than with the brutalization of public servants by Wisconsin’s Jurassic governor is not looking to the betterment of the human condition.

My friend, though retired, is still a teacher. He has always been a teacher, even when he was a civil servant or a newspaper editor. Teachers are people who encourage others to improve themselves and their ability to communicate. 

Today, many ill-informed people believe they have reached the pinnacle of personal virtue, the apex of public wisdom. They denigrate teachers and education. They know how others should live and wish to use government to enforce their behavioral codes on mankind.

The tragedy is that ignorant and bigoted people are encouraged to run for public office when they witness this dumbing-down of society. Lately, they have been victorious. We see this in the current Congress and even in our Indiana General Assembly. Recently, a minority block of Indiana representatives took decisive and divisive action. They left the state rather than permit the majority to push through a retrograde agenda of legislation.

It is easy to see a humorous side to this walkout by the House Democrats. One can joke about Moses Bauer leading his flock into exile, into the wilderness of Illinois. There they will remain for 40 days, eating unleavened bread, while their leader maintains communication with Pharaoh Bosma.

This uncooperative, passive-aggressive behavior, however, will not resolve the problem. Protest draws attention but rarely wins converts. If progressive thought is to spread and triumph, we must communicate our aspirations for a better world and be willing to struggle for their achievement.

Or so my friend would say. Somehow he learned that—perhaps from his father.•

__________

Marcus taught economics for more than 30 years at Indiana University and is the former director of IU’s Business Research Center. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at mmarcus@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am a Lyft driver who is a licensed CDL professional driver. ALL Lyft drivers take pride in providing quality service to the Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and we take the safety of our passengers and the public seriously.(passengers are required to put seat belts on when they get in our cars) We do go through background checks, driving records are checked as are the personal cars we drive, (these are OUR private cars we use) Unlike taxi cabs and their drivers Lyft (and yes Uber) provide passengers with a clean car inside and out, a friendly and courteous driver, and who is dressed appropriately and is groomed appropriately. I go so far as to offer mints, candy and/or small bottle of water to the my customers. It's a mutual respect between driver and passenger. With Best Regards

  2. to be the big fish in the little pond of IRL midwest racin' when yer up against Racin' Gardner

  3. In the first sentance "As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss are build quality & price." need a way to edit

  4. As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss is build quality & price. First none of these places is worth $1100 for a one bedroom. Downtown Carmel or Keystone at the Crossing in Indy. It doesn't matter. All require you to get in your car to get just about anywhere you need to go. I'm in one of the Carmel apartments now where after just 2.5 short years one of the kitchen cabinet doors is crooked and lawn and property maintenance seems to be lacking my old Indianapolis apartment which cost $300 less. This is one of the new star apartments. As they keep building throughout the area "deals" will start popping up creating shoppers. If your property is falling apart after year 3 what will it look like after year 5 or 10??? Why would one stay here if they could move to a new Broad Ripple in 2 to 3 years or another part of the Far Northside?? The complexes aren't going to let the "poor" move in without local permission so that's not that problem, but it the occupancy rate drops suddenly because the "Young" people moved back to Indy then look out.

  5. Why are you so concerned about Ace hardware? I don't understand why anyone goes there! Every time ive gone in the past, they don't have what I need and I end up going to the big box stores. I understand the service aspect and that they try to be helpful but if they are going to survive I think they might need to carry more specialty parts.

ADVERTISEMENT