Literacy is not, as it is considered in our schools, a portion of education. It is education. It is at once the ability and the inclination of the mind to find knowledge, to pursue understanding, and, out of knowledge and understanding, not out of received attitudes and values or emotional responses, however "worthy," to make judgments. Literate people are not easy prey. They do know an inference from a statement of fact. They are not easily persuaded by pretended authority. They are attentive to the natural requirements of logic. They can make distinctions, very fine distinctions, and are able both to notice and to examine their own predispositions and even their only presumably "right emotional responses." To say that young human beings are incapable of such powers is elitism.
Richard Mitchell, Graves of Academe