Educate Yourself

Painting: Loch Lomond, Gustave Doré, 1913

By Thomas, Letters From the Ruins

The refusal to bend a knee is a refusal to show obedience to the current order. 

This is symptomatic of a general trend we have witnessed over the last decades. It is no longer enough to be neutral. Rather, we have to voice our public support for the politics of current year. If you refuse to accept the cornucopia of flashy, faux-radical opinions, then you will be asked to “educate yourself.”

But when you are told to educate yourself, you are being asked to relinquish a narrative for somebody else’s. Upon searching through the bibliography of links which a fellow educator sends, you will be battered with every shady trick in the book. 

You will see attempts at emotional manipulation. Attempts to make you feel guilty about your existence. Anything to make you swear allegiance to their destructive world. It is unsurprising that they themselves tend to have not even watched the links they sent you. 

The worst part is that this is the opposite of education. It is literally designed to infantilize you and forge a malleable adherent. If you accept the lazy talking points shoved your way, you are not empowered with knowledge. Rather, you become apologetic and regretful of who you are. Their attempts are little more than a battering ram for demoralisation. 

Not only is it lazy, it is also yet another symptom of the incredible limits of abstract moralism. I mentioned that in the process of supposed education, we are asked to drop our own narratives. Here, we must examine whether we are guilty of the same thing as the presumptive educators. 

Is your worldview nothing more than a series of lazily chained-together emotional sentiments about how the world should be? If this is the case, then you could equally be guilty of asking others to educate themselves in a more favourable climate than today. 

In truth, a worldview must be grounded. The further away your beliefs are from yourself, the emptier they are. Especially if they require others to recite their allegiance in order to be an “ally.” 

We should see the world around us as an opportunity. Speech is not only restricted, but actively crushed. But action, moral growth, and character are much harder to attack. It is these things we must give laser focus toward in the coming years. 

It might be asked, “How will these serve my political goals?” But I believe this is the wrong way of looking at things. First, because personal growth is an end in itself, but also, because a successful actor in the political sphere must be worthy of that which they fight for. 

If we focus on our own growth instead of speaking words into the ether, then we are investing in the future in a more serious way than anybody else. We need to have a political philosophy which implicates ourselves, rather than spends its time passing responsibility to anything or anybody else. 

Therefore, the term “educate yourself” symbolises so much of what is wrong with politics today. And I believe that it gives us a great opportunity to reconsider the way we approach the difficult questions before us. 

Thomas is an anonymous British postgraduate of Politics and Philosophy and writer of the blog ‘Letters From The Ruins.’ He can be found at or on his Instagram, @Letters_from_the_ruins.

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