I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: “Gil, what can I do to help secure the future of reasonableness?”
I’m glad you asked.
I think that the best way to ensure that most people are reasonable in the future is to raise reasonable children. Despite what you may have heard, children start off incredibly reasonable. They have to be. They must learn thousands of things without much help. They have to form theories, and then criticize them successfully so that they can improve them and eventually discover solutions that work. This requires developing rationality.
So, if kids are so reasonable, then why do some of them grow up to be so unreasonable?
Because of their parents (and teachers and others; but mostly because of their parents). Often with the best of intentions, parents systematically inhibit their children’s ability to reason about different things and cause them to develop entrenched irrationalities.
Before we became enlightened, people in power used to think various other groups of people were inferior and needed to be coerced in order to be happy, or to at least to become cooperative. They thought this about the poor, they thought this about blacks, they thought this about women, and many of us still think this about children. It’s The Final Prejudice.
If you’re a parent, or if you plan to become a parent, or if you’re just interested in how adults should treat children, then I urge you to become familar with the information at this site. I know it will seem radical. I know that it will contradict things that Everybody Knows. But, please try to suspend your doubts until after you become familiar with the theory.
If we want to raise children who will value liberty, responsibility, and reason then we should raise them to be free, responsible, and used to resolving conflicts with good natured, creative efforts to find common preferences rather than resorting to coercion.
Taking Children Seriously (TCS) just might save the world. And even if it doesn’t, it’s still the decent and reasonable way to treat people.
Do It For The Children!