Sep 12, 2018

Hazony on the most effective indoctrination

On EconTalk (a):

Hazony: When I was in high school, the school rounded up all the sort of bright kind of students, bright honor students, and put them in a class called Politics.

And they taught us about politics... what do they teach us? They taught us that politics is a big dispute between Hobbes and Locke and Rousseau.

They picked three thinkers, all three of which wrote these mathematical books that accept these same, more or less the same exact Lockean axioms as the starting point for politics.

And made is though there was like a big argument among them. Okay? Now, when you do that – and I'm not saying anybody did this on purpose, right? It's not like the high school teacher knew better.

Roberts: It's not sinister...

Hazony: It's not sinister. But the fact that it's not sinister doesn't mean it's not stupid.

What happens when you do that – I mean, this is as effective a tool for indoctrination as any that have been devised. You give a student three different thinkers. You tell the student: What are the differences among them? What are the distinctions? And you completely ignore the shared premises so that the students never question them. Ever.

Background on what he means by "Lockean" here.