Our World Peace Manifesto

World Peace and Public Education,dove-sign-of-pacifism

To say that America or any country is losing social capital is to say that it is socially disintegrating and that it is vulnerable to radical, demagogic movements. In the USA what our oligarchs offer us seems attractive because we haven’t the social capital to control our own destinies.[1] We have lost the common purpose that unified the west during World War II and the will to act effectively and with conviction.

We lose Social Capital when we do not talk to one another, do not hear, understanding or care about one another’s needs, and we tend towards radicalization and conflict – possibly humanity’s last one.

A new mission is required for public schools with the moral imperative that everything that takes place in them must improve the quality of life of someone or everyone without diminishing it for anyone: students, teachers, administrators, parents, janitors or members of the whole world community. It is a mission that makes democracy a cooperative, learning culture that prospers because citizens are free and encouraged to think for themselves, free to experiment and adventure without fear; to decide for themselves what will constitute quality in their individual lives.

This mission has been co-opted in today’s schools and in our democracy by business and industry. Self motivated learning has been replaced by indoctrination, and autonomy by dependence. For business, industry and our plutocracy, life quality is measured by profit and material possessions, whereas in truly free societies real life quality is measured by good health, autonomy, love, social well being and learning. Our co-opted schools do not interest us enough to inspire learning for the love of learning or with the respect for diversity needed to resolve conflicts in which we destroy one another. [2]

The replenishment of our social capital and the salvation of our democracy is, in my view, requires establishing public schools in which students have the choices they need to shape their own destiny and where they share their interests, where they learn together in constantly changing small groups; where they get to know each other intimately and like each other and each learner helps the other; where teachers are coaches who help all students set their learning goals and coach them to make sure they successfully reach them; where acquiring information is less important than learning to solve problems and seeing and taking advantage of opportunities; where an important object is to learn as much as possible about the other people in the world and learn to respect and tolerate their differences, and where students learn to decide for themselves how they will manage their own lives.

When the world is filled with such schools, there will be abundant social capital to keep democracy vital and assure peace among all people of the world.

James C. Leiter Jr.

Morelia, Mexico

[1]  Eric Hoffer, THE TRUE BELIEVER

[2]   Patriotism is a type of demagoguery because it results in the people of one country to feel superior to those in another and pits them against one another, often fatally. (Author)

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