Henry Rollins has become a regular voice at Big Think, for which we can all be grateful. It's hard to name another man who has self-created his own life in the same manner as Rollins. Best known as the lead singer of the seminal punk band Blag Flag, he has recreated himself several times since that band's demise.
Black Flag continually challenged their audience's expectations for the band and, as the lead singer, Rollins took the brunt of their rage, which was often physical violence. Rollins typically responded in kind, pulling audience members on stage and beating them. As he matured, however, and became more educated and more politically active, he channeled that anger into activism. In a 2010 interview, he said, "This is where my anger takes me, to places like this [Bhopal, India] not into abuse but into proactive, clean movement".
First with the Rollins Band, then with his own record label and publishing company, with prolific spoken word performances and as the host a various radio shows, he also began acting in films and TV shows, was named Details Magazine's Man of the Year in 1994, and political activism, promoting LGBT rights, World Hunger Relief, an end to war, and touring with the United Service Organizations to entertain American troops (beginning in 2003 with the Iraq War).
All the while, he was becoming incredibly self-educated.
It's not at all surprising then to hear Rollins say the education is the key to having a real and vigorous democracy . . . and to reducing prison populations, which are mostly men.
Daniel Honan on August 12, 2012According to Henry Rollins, education is the great leveler of the playing field, which is why the punk rocker says that elites are fearful of it. What would happen if our educational system did succeed in leveling the playing field? According to Rollins, for one thing, the prison population will plummet.
The temptation to rob a liquor store, for instance, would be greatly reduced, Rollins says, if our schools succeeded in teaching all students aptitude -- the ability to learn. That means "someone can open any book and have the ability to obtain knowledge."
What other benefits would reinventing education have?
Rollins says that democracy would be a much more vigorous thing. "We would expect much more of our politicians," he says, "and Thomas Jefferson would finally stop rolling in his grave."
Watch the video here:
Image courtesy of Shutterstock