Teaching Henry George via Correspondence

by Helena Platkin

Some time ago I answered a call for volunteers and found myself in the correspondence course department. What a fascinating adventure It turned out to be! I had always associated the educational work of the School with classrooms and teachers. To my amazement I discovered that the School was carrying on an equally ambitious program without benefit of classes, or of any instructor save Henry George himself.

I was gradually introduced to hundreds and hundreds of correspondence students. In meeting them I found myself learning more and more about Progress and Poverty, from people in all walks of life, from places I had never heard of, students utterly diversified in background, humble, incredulous, but above all passionate to learn.

btwThere is something stimulating in the fresh, vigorous approach of the correspondence student. He cannot be led or driven. He is in it because he wants to be. From the sidewalks of New York to a mission in China, from the arctic plains’ of the Yukon to the tropical valleys of South America, students are delving into fundamental principles.

Doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief! The writer of that jingle bad nothing on the roster of enrolled correspondence students. From every occupation and every social stratum comes new and inspiring evidence that the principles of Henry George are being absorbed in the thought of men and women. From cities and villages, from factories and offices, from the Army, from West Point, from Hollywood, from penal institutions, from schools and shops and homes come students who are all seeking truth and understanding. One can almost visualize them as one handles their papers. And because of their sameness of purpose one develops a sort of kinship with the waitress in Winnipeg, the refugee in Richmond, the barber in Bolivia. Only something basic could bring together men so far apart in place and temperament.

To those Georgists who feel discouragement the correspondence course enrollment should be a source of inspiration and comfort. Georgism is reaching out; it is growing, and as it grows it gathers momentum. No matter how remote the goal may seem, we must attain it if we continue to go forward.

Reprinted from The Freeman, January, 1941. Thanks to Ed Dodson.

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