The Washington Post recently reported on a troubling trend in the United States: attacks on the value of higher education. The Washington Post is correct that education matters for democracy. A society made up of uneducated people, vast inequality, and greed as the primary motivator is the antithesis of a democracy. Democracy must come before economics.
But if the Washington Post values democracy over economics when it comes to education policy, why does it reverse that stance when it comes to family planning?
The Washington Post has itself promoted ideas that have created the situation they now bemoan. For example, they encourage Millenials to have more kids because “it’s good for the economy”. However, we know that encouraging fertility for the sake of the economy only serves to drive further inequality and weaken democracy.
If we value democracy, we have to ensure that the conditions in which people are actually born and raised foster democracy. Downstream and after-the-fact approaches are a farce, and build inequality more than democracy. Yes, education matters for democracy. But not family planning matters even more. Why? The point of education is to ensure free and equal citizens, but family planning – more than education – determines the people we become.
The Washington Post isn’t connecting the dots, and suffers (as we all do) from temporal myopia. The myopia is not limited to the issue of education. It’s overriding in things like our view of child care policies (where else do we ignore the source of need), preventing mass extinction, and certainly in climate change mitigation, where we routinely ignore the most important behavior change.
What’s the solution? Through better family planning policies we could afford to make college free and obligatory. That may be what real democracy requires.
We can break our temporal myopia, and change the way we see the world.
Take action: Urge Washington Post’s editor @PostBaron to embrace democracy at its source, and abandon its promotion of economic-growth based family planning.