Academic Questions

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 140–146 | Cite as

Resuscitating Liberal Education and Democracy

  • John Oakley Beahrs
Can Reason Win?

Liberal education and democracy go hand in hand, as crowning achievements of Western civilization—indeed, of all humanity. Throughout human existence, most cultures have been either religious orthodoxies or secular tyrannies, where indoctrination and enforcement perpetuate the necessary socialization and acculturation. “Liberal democracies” more closely resemble individuals, in being comparatively self-determined and self-governed. Socialization and acculturation occur through open discourse (explanatory competition, free speech), already well established in ancient Greece prior to the first true democracies.1 Together, accurate self-defining information and open discourse define “liberal education,” a precondition for liberal democracy. Only with an informed citizenry composed of individuals who can think, reason, discriminate, and reflect independently can free institutions flourish.2

“Liberal democracy” optimizes rights and freedoms, balanced with equal opportunity in a fundamental...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oregon Health and Science UniversityPortlandUSA

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