MACAULAY ON DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT
Every person, we presume, will acknowledge that, to establish an academic system on immutable principles, would be the height of absurdity. Every year sees the empire of science enlarged by the acquisition of some new province, or improved by the construction of some easier road. Surely the change which daily takes place in the state of knowledge, ought to be accompanied by a corresponding change in the method of instruction. In many cases the rude and imperfect works of early speculators ought to give place to the more complete and luminous performances of those who succeed to great fluctuations. The same tongue which at one period may be richer than any other in valuable works, may, some centuries after, be poorer than any. That, while such revolutions take place, education ought to remain unchanged, is a proposition too absurd to be maintained for a moment.
If it be desirable that education should, by a gradual and constant change, adapt itself to the circumstances of every generation, how is this object to be secured? We answer -- only by perfect freedom of competition. Under such a system, every possible exigence would be met. Whatever language, whatever art, whatever science, it might at any time be useful to know, that men would surely learn, and would as surely find instructors to teach. The professor who should persist in devoting his attention to branches of knowledge which had become useless, would soon be deserted by his pupils. There would be as much of every sort of information as would afford profit and pleasure to the possessor -- and no more.
--from "The London University"
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