The Enemy of Idealism


A 6-year-old newsie in Los Angeles, California. May 1915. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine
A 6-year-old newsie in Los Angeles, California. May 1915. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine

I hope you can recall how many times I’ve castigated, lamented, condemned the role of “business” in education, particularly lemonade stands.

If you don’t, let me remind you with some links

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Conservatives to Occupy Duty: Cities Must Heed Business Interests

Lemons for Lessons: Replacing Childhood with Business Ideology

The Child of the Marketplace Metaphor

Summer Camps and Business Plans: Finance over Frolick

So, that ought to keep you busy. But here’s a bit more. From the 1953 book by the philosopher Elijah Jordan, Business Be Damned (can I get an amen?):

…the chief enemy of idealism in youth, and the reason this idealism does not lead into noble and fine activities, is the business atmosphere.  Business effectively squelches any emerging nobility or magnanimity, and substitutes for it self-seeking mercenary interests. The effect on the young is deadly. A child had better die of poverty and its attendant evils than learn to support itself too young. Better starve than shine shoes or deliver magazines on the street [or get a “bank loan” for a lemonade stand], for not even trained and mature persons can do that much business and maintain a character. The worst possible thing to do to a child is to teach him the tricks by which he can support himself. A civilization which permits children to support themselves is already lost. A business system that requires self-support of children is damnable.

 

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