"The very nature of democracy is freedom and truth, without which democracy is vacant," James Eldredge explained in 1970. Back in 1940, Arthur Mason told the Glasgow Herald, "Democracy pertains to the economic conditions of the people. It is not true to say that freedom of the press and free criticism are the very soul of democracy. Such freedom, combined with religious freedom, which is usually added to make up the trinity of democratic liberty, can exist quite well under a benevolent plutocracy, an oligarchy, and a number of other forms of government." 

The United States was said to be "the home of political freedom." Dr. Charles Beard, the president of the American Association for Adult Education pointed out in 1936, "Democracy was conceived by its sponsors as a moral or humane ideal...They accepted a moral imperative older than Christianity, namely, that human life has a value in itself and can not be used for purposes alien to humanity." At the time, The Winnipeg Evening Tribune observed, "In Anglo-Saxon countries democracy, like the weather, has long been taken for granted." 

The St. Thomas Virgin Islands Daily News mentioned in 1940, "Democracy is government by the people. That answer is always right within certain limits; but democracy is more than rule by the majority. It is an orderly process of government so planned that only those capable of using power are given any authority. In schools and colleges everywhere, young people are studying and practicing citizenship through extra curricular activities designed to make their later problems of early interest, and to give exercises in the actual working of democratic institutions. Frequently there are serious misconceptions of the activities and the amount of power these students possess. Sometimes bad feeling arise which only years of experience can soften if not eradicate. These errors of judgment and attempts to go contrary to what is expected of them are but the growing pains of youth. If older people would only explain that democracy is itself only a method, and can be misunderstood, many heartbreaks might be saved. 

"Students are really allowed as much latitude as their elders have. In adult life, democracy really means 'government by the people who matter'. In school, democracy means that the majority should choose that which is good for the whole. No trained teacher would permit a student to do what is wrong because it is the will of a majority of other irresponsible students...Democracy in school might be defined as 'learning to vote for the right things without being made conscious of the administrative pressure which is always exerted.' The school authority know what is best – even where they appear to be tyrannical, despotic and absolute…They do have more knowledge as a rule, and many of them have that wisdom only the passing years can give. They know, for example, that democracy implies responsibility so to choose that freedom of choice may continue to be a privilege all may enjoy."

Since 1975, Mike Kelleher, a Professor of Chemistry called Nigeria home. He told reporter Joseph Rose in 1991 of life in Africa: "This is a Third World country with hope. The reason I went there was to see things grow and the reason I stay is to help things grow. Opus Dei is the name of a Catholic association. It means work of God in Latin. I came in contact with the group at Notre Dame and it was the reason I decided to go to Nigeria to work on my PhD, instead of going through with my plans to go to Berkeley. It was a British colony so the language is English, outside of their own tribal language…

"The spirit of service comes naturally to us Americans, but it's lacking there. We're teaching them to help their larger society, as a whole, grow. When we see African countries we see dictator after dictator after dictator, we never see democracies. Why is that? Traditionally, they're higher archical and patriarchal societies with the strong father image. And even to this present day (1991), when Nigeria is modernizing, the father is all powerful. So you grow up with the idea that the man at the head of the unit deserves the highest respect and that man on top is accountable to no one. They're trying to put these structures of democracy into place but the eternal vision isn't democracy because the fellow on top is a dictator. They see it that way because it's in their mentality. Even if a democracy is fully set up, it doesn't work. The person on top does what he wants and nobody says anything. Africa is essentially 100% black. To be white is strange, but there's no prejudice there. I'm a novelty because people like Americans. They've seen our system work and many of them want to come to the States." 

Professor Kelleher said Nigerian students, "they are extraordinary hard workers. They see the importance of education and it's incredible the amount of time students spend studying. That may be because there are not that many extra curricular activities and it may be because it's a developing country and you have to perform well." It was reported, "Due to the devaluation of the Nigerian monetary system in the past decade (the 1980s), Professor Kelleher only makes the equivalent $1000 per year at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka." However he enthused, "People say no hope for Nigeria, but I'm on the inside and see what's happening. It's a country emerged in all this potential, but with no one to help develop it, I want to help develop it. There's hope…" 

Blog Archive