Education for Freedom

Liberal education concerns itself, more than anything else, with the freedom of the human mind, to wit, with individual liberty. In its introverted aspect it develops the indomitable spirit of private logic and irrepressible values, and in its extraverted aspect it makes possible reasoned and empathetic engagement with both our long-dead forebears and our unborn offspring. For the Trivium teaches us to speak in a common language and name our thoughts and sensations, to put together complex ideas clearly without irrelevant admixture, and to present them with harmony and grace; and the Quadrivium charts out the way to contemplate God’s Creation in all its manifold beauty.

Man, after all, was made to be free, with each man using his own mind to serve the Lord. On the one hand practice in love is indispensible, and so on the other hand is the sieve of reason. As Darrell Cole says in presenting C. S. Lewis’s thoughts on pacifism,

Intuition provides a stronger case for pacifism [than for war]. We seem to feel very strongly that love and helping are good, while hate and harming are bad. What this intuition fails to tell us, however, is how we are to love and help the innocent who are being treated unjustly by the wicked without using force on the wicked. So intuition in this case leads us astray because it does not see (not immediately at least) what reason sees: that you can love and use force at the same time.

We need to know both that love is good and that sometimes, in the presence of evil, love demands war. Once, love has even demanded that God slay his only-begotten Son for the life of the world.


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