“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [people] to do nothing.”
This quote by Edmund Burke (1729-1797), says much about the eventual demise of democratic societies. Without an enculturated morality of social sustainability that clearly discerns the value of every decision by individuals and organizations as either (+) contributing proactively to the sustainability of individuals/families and society, (ᴓ) neither constructive or detrimental, or (–) detrimental to the sustainability of individuals/families and society, then the sustainability of society is very much at the hands of individuals who either take no action automatically to aid the sustainability of society or whose decisions are detrimental to that end. In either case, the “evil” that Burke predicts will surely bring about the moral and social decline of a democratic society, as we are seeing today.
The process of interpreting social issues in terms of the values of social sustainability involves decision-making, a process and responsibility that most people in democratic societies will accept in the future. Such decision-making is critical to achieve social stability, a precursor for social sustainability. Until citizens and organizations appreciate the difference between “doing business as usual and traditional” OR “doing business that proactively sustains individuals/families and society” then the fate of our great grandchildren will be forfeit.
Consider education and Edmund Burke’s quote. Education (Pre K/12) is much like the “good people” in his quote. It is a “good institution” but it is doing nothing intentionally, consciously or proactively to make a contribution to the sustainability of democratic societies, communities or individual/families. In the last 50 years it has become listless without power; it is directionless without a rudder, compass or pilot; it has become irrelevant as a change-agent of our democratic culture. Education across America must answer two questions: 1) What is the purpose of education? and, 2) “Why teach social sustainability?” We will examine these questions in forthcoming Posts.