Education, what is it good for? What can education do for you as a person and for you as part of society? It is almost universally recognized that for the individual, education is the way out - the way out of ignorance, poverty, dependence and superstition. For society, education is the way out of violence and war. Every day, we hear of violence throughout the world, of countries, and people hating each other enough to go to war, countries almost seem to enjoy destroying themselves and their neighbors in what have become thoughtless and pointless acts of violence. There is no valid reason to initiate a war.
No educated person wants war as a first choice to resolve a problem. People that are educated have learned to make value judgments. It is the use of these value comparisons that set most educated people apart from others. In all the decisions that we make each day, we choose between losing and winning. The choices multiply daily and the people making the best choices are the winners. The same is true for nations. Today exist some of the highest educated countries in the history of the world. Most nations take pride in their educational achievements. Former Third World Countries have become industrial giants. Nations such as China and India are becoming powerhouses with a growing number of P. H. D. s, Engineers and Computer Wizards. Education is becoming so widespread that the day when a handful of educated elite leaders can march the uneducated, impoverished mass of a country to war is no longer the norm. The circumstances of Pre-WWII Germany or Pre-Revolution Russia are fast disappearing, though unfortunately, not fast enough.
Each day we hear of some dictator, in a far off land, threatening to take his people to war unless his demands are met. Most often the people of his nation are not included in his decision making process. They lack the education and knowledge to make those decisions and those decisions are left to the "experts". That is the reasoning of dictators. Amazingly, in nations with universal higher education, dictators seem hard put to find an appropriate audience. Education shrinks the pool of the gullible followers needed by dictators to do their deeds. Leaderless mobs desperately seeking after a leader are getting harder to find today. Education has amazing consequences.
As the educational level of countries increase, their prosperity increases. As countries become prosperous, they risk losing all they have if they go to war. That is why very few advanced educated countries go to war unless they are strongly provoked. Even when strongly provoked, a war can spin out of control leaving nations in difficult circumstances that they never anticipated. War is a hard decision whose consequences can never be accurately predicted. Education gives countries something to lose by war. It gives nations a reason to avoid war. Can the answer to a world peace be as simple as education? Yes, why not.