In Defense of Liberty and Education for All

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In Defense of Liberty and Education for All

How does a society become socially free and have equal opportunity for all its citizens? According to the conventional democratic American belief, all people should be granted the same educational opportunities so that everyone has the fair chance to succeed in society. However, in William A. Henry's essay, "In Defense of Elitism," he argues for the archaic belief that society should limit higher educational opportunities because most people do not have the capability to compete in college. Henry wants to scale back the number of college students in America to an accomplished few. As such, Henry contends that the educational standards will ultimately rise, which will make college more prestigious. Upon inspection though, Henry's views and beliefs are rendered false because his evidence is exaggerated, distorted and inappropriately compared and contrasted to support his claims. In reality, Henry's beliefs clash with America's true intentions for a democratic society, which are depicted in Benjamin R. Barber's essay, "America Skips School."

The journalist and critic, William A. Henry III, criticizes the egalitarian American view regarding education, which he believes degrades the value and accomplishment of receiving a college degree in an American society. Henry tries to argue this by explaining that there are too many students enrolled in college and that the standards and requirements of courses will as a result decline. The essay argues that obtaining a college education has become too commonplace and that the prestige and honor of higher learning has diminished. Essentially, he thinks the American society has allowed too...

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...Prentice Hall, 1996. 185-193.

The African American activist, writer and lecturer, Malcolm X, claimed that intense independent learning in isolation is far more effective than to attend college where there are more distractions that interfere with studying. Malcolm X defines his views on the basis of his own challenges and victories in overcoming his illiteracy in prison and the facts in history that show how the formally educated White man can still act in ignorance and blindness towards other races. The purpose of his essay is to inform individuals that they have the power to change themselves in order to overcome obstacles in life that try to stop them from realizing and living their dreams. Malcolm X's essay speaks to African Americans who do not realize their full potential and to college students who may want to reconsider their means of getting an education.
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