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COLUMN: Wisdom, education not same

| December 29, 2010 9:00 PM

While a humorous quip (that I want to replace "... public school with Sunday school") to a quote I used as a part of my response of a recent My Turn piece by Mr. Ruskovich (Voters: We don't need no education), it struck me as somewhat disingenuous that he chose to misconstrue the tenor of my letter in order to "score points" on a different matter.

The point I was attempting to make was that it is unwise to equate being formally educated with a capacity to govern and that wisdom (the ultimate source of which I believe is from God) is a necessary capacity for good governance.

My letter (Wisdom: here's where it resides) was written as a counter to what appeared to this writer as an important sub-theme to the central message of Mr. Ruskovich's My Turn column; namely, that the results of the then recent election placed the less educated in the chairs of power and that fact in an of itself created a situation in which the quality of governance would decline. As stated in my previous letter: "... to equate one's stack of sheep skins as evidence for the capacity to govern woefully misses the mark of what it means to lead." In no sense could my letter be construed as an attack on public education. As a point of fact, in my letter, I expressed agreement with his concerns over funding for public education in Idaho. What was of great interest to me in reading Mr. Ruskovich's recent column was his use of Voltaire.

Voltaire - not his given name, but one he created in part, I believe, from the name of one of his family's chateaus - serves well as an example of the disconnect that can occur between education and wisdom. While we would be correct to applaud Voltaire's defense of the concept of freedom of religion, his attacks against the hypocritical practices of the ecclesiastical order in France, and his instance on social reform, we would also do well do "balance the equation" of this most brilliant man's life by also observing his somewhat convenient advocacy of hedonism, and how in areas social he seemed to confuse libertinism with liberation; thus lending support to the thrust of my original letter.

DAN OSTER

Athol

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