Today’s words of wisdom come from former American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), who we’re going to assume you’ve probably heard of. The quote below makes clear that democracy cannot succeed on its own. It’s only one piece of a larger puzzle.
There are those in America who treat the U.S. Constitution as if it were a sacred document, a sort of divine cookbook recipe for the perfect free society. The truth is that a democratic society is fragile and ripe for exploitation. A successful democracy relies heavily on the abilities and intelligence of the populace.
But what if the populace lacks in ability? What if the world continues on a slow, meticulous de-evolution into superficial idiocracy? What if — and this might not be a difficult hypothetical for you to conceptualize — the voters are nothing but a bunch of misinformed morons?
Well, then it all falls apart.
This is why education is so important. It’s also why powerful people make it a priority to try and wield as much control over education as possible, although that’s a different topic altogether. Democracy cannot succeed without a culture of learning, introspection, and critical thinking. FDR knew that then; we ought to know it now.
Words of wisdom from FDR: “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”
Scientist Lawrence Krauss expresses a similar view in the video below. A robust education system is in America’s best interest. It’s in the world’s best interest. Yet time and time again we fail ourselves and our society by bastardizing “the safeguard of democracy”: