Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/661

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
643
STATE EDUCATION: A NECESSITY.

sphere. One relates to temporal and the other to spiritual matters; and hence one embraces the great truth that the citizen should "render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's"; the other, that he should render "unto God the things that are God's." The organisms that administer these curricula must necessarily differ. The comprehensive specialty of the Church is faith in a revealed religion. This, according to each sectarian creed, must be taught by the Church. The distinguishing specialty of the state is law, and obedience to this arbiter is the foundation on which the "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are guaranteed to the citizen, and must be taught by secular schools, either permitted directly or aided by the state. These organisms have each a special work. And while the state could teach religion as well as the Church could make and enforce laws regulating all state matters and the duty of the citizen, in doing this, each must necessarily abandon its own specialty; so that, while these organisms exist separate, as in America, each must pursue its own specialty. In no other way can the proper support of the several arbiters be maintained.

The argument, therefore, of Mr. Herbert, above quoted, against a national system of education for the reasons stated or implied, is unsound, and of no possible application. He has presented no argument against a national system of education that would not apply as well in in any other case of enforced taxation. Substitute a national system of imposts, a tariff, instead of a national system of education, and ask his questions, and the same answers must be given. Thus: "Does a national Church compel some to support a system to which they are opposed? So does a national system of imposts. Does the one exalt the principle of majorities over the individual conscience? So does the other. Does a national Church imply a distrust of the people, of their willingness to make sacrifices, of their capacity to manage their own affairs? So does a national system of imposts." Now, it is evident that the results here arrived at prove nothing more than this: that an enforced tax, however imposed, must necessarily result as stated; some will be opposed, majorities will be exalted, and even some slight foundation afforded for the startling implication of distrust in the voluntary action of the people, as a whole, in the matter concerned.

But we can not conclude that this religious argument in any way militates against the argument in favor of national education. The argument in favor of a national tariff, though oppressive to some, is only such oppression as minorities must endure in any species of legislation, whether for the promotion of virtue or the suppression of vice. But there is still a more complete answer to this religious argument, as used by Mr. Herbert. Over matters of conscience the higher law has dominion; but only over intentional acts has human legislation any rightful control. The control of men's actions lies within, but