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3-060 (Raw)

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author,male,Holden, George Kenyon,un addressee
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Connell, 1980
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3-060-raw.txt — 3 KB

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It is no doubt a growing conviction of the necessity of qualifying the mass of the people to exercise wisely a power it is manifestly impossible to withhold from them, which has stimulated so many of those occupying the high places of society to exert themselves in the advancement of popular education. The most serious and far-seeing thinkers of our day clearly perceive that the only wise means of averting anarchy is to teach the people their own interests - to co-operate with them in the attainment of them - and to qualify both them and the classes above them to perceive in how many ways their interests may, instead of conflicting, be made to coincide. The people may thus be rendered not only a harmless, but a highly beneficial, conducting channel of political power - just as the same instrumentality by which a powder magazine may be exploded, may, under the guidance of a wiser art, be made to work an electric telegraph.
While the whole world, and especially that portion of it which speaks our own language, is pressing forward in this glorious career, it is surely not for Australia, with her golden resources, and her highly paid labourers, to lag behind in the race. Shall mechanics with incomes equal to those of the middle classes of other countries, remain content with their former pittance of education and intellectual advantage? No latitude of popular privileges, whether equalling or exceeding those of the mother country, can ever afford any real dignity or advantage, unless accompanied by the knowledge which qualifies for its intelligent exercise - which will enable you to appreciate the exertions of the honest public servant - to penetrate the disguises of the artful demagogue, who would flatter you for his own sinister ends - to check the rashness of the merely speculative politician - to take enlightened views of the great questions affecting our social welfare - to submit cheerfully to regulations entailing personal inconvenience, where their ultimate social results can be shewn to compensate the sacrifice - to exercise self-control - and resist the temptation to expend augmented wages in mere bodily indulgence - to cultivate habits of courtesy and mutual forbearance - to reconcile the difficult, but not contradictory, duties of following with conscientious decision your own religious convictions, and at the same time cherishing the most unalloyed charity towards all who differ from you - to take an intelligent part when your assistance appears requisite, in the management of useful public institutions, or furtherance of beneficial social movements - these and numberless other features in the character of good citizens must be established and generally prevalent among you before you can hope for any lasting social improvement. [184] And these are the qualities which such an association as this School of Arts (or as I may again call it, the People's University) is calculated to promote.
Of political institutions this is not the place to speak, unless it be to repeat that such Institutions as this are equally entitled to the support of those who dread, and of those who rejoice in the advance of popular influence. Our mission is to quell the fears of the one by rendering the popular element innocuous - and to realise the hopes of the other, by ensuring its efficiency and durability. A popular form of Government without an educated people, is a dead shell, cast on a beach with no living inhabitant - while a people truly educated, will spontaneously form its own institutions as the nautilus forms its beautiful habitation, from its own vital secretions adapted to its own shape, growing with its own growth, repaired and renewed by its own inherent powers, whenever mutilated by accident or violence, and floating its fragile inhabitant safe through all the storms of that same ocean, which spurns the dead shell from its bosom to rot on the shore of oblivion.