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Freedom of Thought and Majority Rule in the Public School: The Bankruptcy of Liberal Ideology?


reviewed by David Tyack — 1984

coverTitle: Freedom of Thought and Majority Rule in the Public School: The Bankruptcy of Liberal Ideology?
Author(s): Stephen Arons
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, MA
ISBN: 0870235249, Pages: , Year: 1986
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Nearly a half-century ago, in American Inquisitors, Walter Lippmann probed the conflict between majority rule and freedom of thought and conscience in American education. He imagined a conversation on the subject between Socrates, Thomas Jefferson, and William Jennings Bryan. This is how it ended: SOCRATES: Well, how would you gentlemen compose your fundamental principles, if a majority, exercising its fundamental right to rule, ordained that only Buddhism should be taught in the public schools? BRYAN: I’d move to a Christian country. JEFFERSON: I’d exercise the sacred right of revolution. What would you do, Socrates? SOCRATES: I’d reexamine my fundamental principles. In Compelling Belief Stephen Arons has attempted just such a reexamination. He has reached the striking conclusion that “the present structure of public education” (not just certain coercive practices in schools) is unconstitutional because it violates First Amendment freedoms. One need say no more to show that Arons’s book is provocative. He has gone beyond... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 85 Number 4, 1984, p. 653-657
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 885, Date Accessed: 12/14/2017 2:50:50 AM

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