Another point is the modern type of education which gives precedence to the sciences that deal only with means, over philosophy and religion that deal with ends. Today the differentiation between these two categories is more and more acknowledged and this not only in purely Catholic circles. The cognition that most great issues of our time are moral and not material is gaining ground and the dawn of the worship of exact sciences in the upper intellectual stratas seems to be nearer than ever before. […]

The superstitious belief that rudimentary knowledge of a few truths enables the average individual to understand intuitively the major problems around us seduced the ochlocrats the world over to spend huge sums for mass education. This intellectual optimism of the ochlocrats has ended in a spending orgy in educational matters without parallel; nobody after all would be worse off if the whole lot of detective novels, sex stories, tepid magazines, spicy reviews, and sport pages remained unread. A reading-writing education as such has benefited nobody, has elated nobody spiritually or culturally.

There is no need to go to the other extreme and to believe that the knowledge of the three R’s is basically destructive, but nothing is more stupid or irrealistic than to judge the level of other countries by the number of illiterates. Accepting such standards one has to put Latvia higher than France, or the Germanies of 1890 higher than the German World of 1810. Imperial Russia had a far larger percentage of illiterates than the American Middle West yet she produced such men as Dostoyevski, Myerezhkovski, Vyereshtshagin, Tolstoy, Tshaykovski, Solovyov, Pushkin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Turgenyev, Skryabin, Mendeleyev, and Mussorgsky.

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, The Menace of the Herd, or Procrustes at Large (1943)


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