Education is Key to Building Democracies in Developing Countries

Education is key.


If we really want to turn countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria (or any number of developing countries rife with war) into modern democracies where all people are treated equal – we need to focus on educating the population.  Period.   Focus squarely on the minds of the youth.

As it stands today, their behavioral and moral influences are fundamentally religious parents and their village/tribal elders (equally strict, if not more so).  This is not a post to attack religion.  This is a post to point out that there are these young, fertile and curious minds in small rural villages and huge urban theocracies around the world who only know the things they are told by their elders whom they respect.

They have limited access to education.

The education they may have access to is lacking in the fundamentals of modern knowledge about our world and how it functions.

Scientific things such as:

  • climate science
  • microscopic life forms
  • how germs spread
  • basic sanitation and healthcare principles
  • basic biology and chemistry
  • basic aerodynamics (What is lift and how does it affect how a plane or a bird fly?)
  • how sexual reproduction works
  • birth control
  • how gravity works
  • what the water cycle is
  • how clouds are formed
  • evolution
  • how magnets work
  • what an earthquake is
  • what causes waves
  • why the seasons change

Not to mention topics related to human history and cultural development:

  • Gender equality
  • Ancient history (an understanding which leads to understanding how all cultures developed)
  • Modern history
  • The British conquest of the world and the cultural impact on the colonies (and native populations)
  • WW1 and WW2 – the effect on society, industry and culture
  • Industrial revolution
  • Universal suffrage
  • the principles of what a modern democracy is and how it evolved

This is all pretty basic information that any intelligent person in the West takes for granted. Before seeking a solution to how to bring a peaceful, democratically elected government to some of the most un-refined places in the world; we need to understand the base of knowledge that is receiving our cries for individual freedom and democracy for all.

These are not people who understand these basic facts about our world and our species. These are people who ask the local preacher for an explanation to questions they themselves cannot answer.

We show up in largely uneducated Islamic countries shouting about freedom and democracy; but what do they hear?

Imagine a young Afghan boy asking his fundamentalist preacher what ‘democracy’ means.

Upon pondering this hypothetical; we must first ask ourselves:

  • Would his answer be favorable or accurate?
  • What resources does this boy have to check the validity of the answer he received?
  • If he sought another answer; what would happen to him if he was caught?
  • If he found another answer; what would happen to him when he brought this to his preacher?
  • What would happen if he started sharing this new information with his friends, parents or neighbors?
  • What if he started sharing this information loudly and publicly?

In my humble opinion; if we as a society could do one thing that would benefit children all around the world – it would be to educate everyone.  Adults are a lost cause.  You can’t teach an old dog new tricks – as it is said.

We CAN reach the youth.



STEP 1:  Acquire thousands of tablet computers and USB flash drives (at least 32GB drives)

STEP 2:  Acquire a solar charger for each tablet

STEP 3:  Load every single Bill Nye the Science Guy episode on to each tablet (because we all know where we really learned about the water cycle)

STEP 4:  Load copies of Rosetta Stone on each tablet (

STEP 5:  Load as much as will reasonably fit of National Geographic magazine (

STEP 6:  Load every single episode of The Nature of Things with David Suzuki (

STEP 7:  Randomly load Western TV shows on the flash drives.  Everything from Mork and Mindy to Breaking Bad.  Any assortment of full seasons; no two flash drives need be the same.

STEP 8:  Have western planes air drop these tablets all over the developing world; all over Africa and Asia; all over North Korea and anywhere where education is being held hostage by morally-defunct governments or by difficult economies.

Do the same with the flash drives in areas where some people have some access to computers but the information that they can access is highly restricted.

Give them access to our culture of freedom and equality; a glimpse through a dusty window.  A fragment of hope wrapped in the knowledge that there is a better way.



  • Check out
  • Check out this news article ( about this actually working

This theory of educating in remote and impoverished areas has worked.  It is repeatable and scale-able.  My interpretation is simply a little more aggressive.

“Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence.”

C. Hitchens

The Pursuit of Truth in a World of Endless Information

“This man, on one hand, believes that he knows something, while not knowing. On the other hand, I – equally ignorant – do not believe that I know anything.”
-Apology (Plato)

By: Big Think
Featuring: Bill Nye

It’s important to criticize ideas and to hold all ideas up to an open discussion; not to prove or disprove those ideas but simply to open minds to the fact that none of us know anything for sure and what we think we know must always be updated with new information.

Education and knowledge are fundamental and have been vital to the success of the human species.  That is where the money needs to go; creating informed, educated and intelligent citizens and voters.

There’s a big difference between criticizing an idea and criticizing a person. Religion is an idea, it’s a thought process, it’s a way of thought and an explanation for some people. Someone believing an idea is true without any evidence is a choice they are free to make, despite the illogicality of it.

Personally criticizing someones un-willingness to entertain the thought they might be wrong is necessary and important.

Any criticism that comes from me about religion is about the idea of it from an objective point of view.

A couple of those objective observations would be that:

  • Religions (and all belief systems) have played a vital role in the development of our societies and our species. Both causing harmony and causing war and division. Fostering community, fostering fellowship, promoting togetherness.
  • There are good and bad things in the world; but it’s not black and white. Citing divine inspiration or religion as a moral yard stick is flawed simply because of the example set by the very people in the upper echelon of those groups. It’s never black and white yet all theistic faiths make it black and white.
  • The only moral yard stick we really need that holds true across almost all cultures and belief systems is to “do unto others as you would have them do to you”.

I believe that people should be allowed to do as they wish, provided it doesn’t harm anyone else or their ability to do as they wish. Government shouldn’t be involved in peoples personal lives.

There needs to be a separation of belief systems (a personal choice that is a reflection of the freedom we have here) and decisions made by government that affect everyone (abortion, gay marriage, pot prohibition, euthanasia and tax exemption for churches – to name a few).

I’m only militant about this stuff because societies status quo has it backwards and changes need to be made regarding how we prioritize things. Based on what I know so far, (keeping in mind that my opinion is fluid and always subject to change with the presentation of new data) most of the bad things that have happened regarding personal liberty have been a result of religious people.

For example: 9/11, The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, protesting Gay Marriage, anti-abortion attitudes, being against publicly funded birth control, most of the shit going on in the Middle East, the US not taking action on climate change, the US teaching creationism in schools as fact – to name a few.

I’ll basically shut up whenever decisions are made objectively regarding stuff that affects us all. Canada is pretty accepting of secularism and the non-religious; but it’s a global issue. We’re attached at the hip to the US and in essence the rest of the world. If the next generation believes in a magic sky fairy that watches everything we do and personally cares about YOU, we’re all fucked.

Think globally; act locally.

One might say, “We’ve had religion for thousands of years, why is it such a big deal now?”

I’m so glad you asked!  It’s such a big deal now because the Roman Empire didn’t have Nuclear Weapons.  Genghis Khan didn’t have M16s, tanks, or artillery.

If the next generation in America grows up believing that they are are right because they believe in a Christian God and that everyone who doesn’t is wrong; it’s an automatic, unquestionable US vs. THEM situation.  One side will never truly trust the other and they will never truly get along.

Add to that the fact that 48% of American Christians believe as fact that Jesus Christ will return to earth in the next 40 years.  (Citation:  Pew Research Center:

Think about that.

Just think about it.

Keep thinking for another moment.




They believe this as undisputed literal FACT.

What we have now is half of a generation of Americans born after 2000 A.D. that:

  • Have access to nuclear weapons
  • Fundamentally believe that they are superior in morality and value versus anyone who disagrees with them
  • Have access to every piece of knowledge known to humanity (but choose to ignore it)
  • Believe that natural disasters happen because gays have basic human rights
  • Believe that we have absolutely no control over our destiny because it is all pre-ordained

Evolution is a beautiful thing.  To disregard evolution is to disregard all of our monumental achievements as a species – dishonoring our ancestors, their ancestors, and their ancestors ancestors.

Tens of thousands of years of intellectual growth; learning for ourselves, being curious, inventing tools, improving the tools we’ve built, building incredible buildings like the Pyramids, advancing our architecture by trial and error, math, biology, chemistry, archaeology  – to disregard all of that evidence is absurd.

The unfortunate reality is many Christians think it’s all hog wash.

Anyone who thinks my attitude is offensive or too much should watch that video and think on it for a bit. Our species is at a point now where we have all of these amazing tools and can truly do anything.

We have the sum total of the worlds information available 24/7 in an instant on a portable device we carry in our pocket at all times.

Fucking act like it.