# War, Obedience, and Schooling

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Psyche, Feb 29, 2012.

1. ### PsycheRegistered Senior Member

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As Peter Gray's Freedom to Learn blog describes so well there is no evidence that herding children of the same age, into the same classrooms, reading the same books at the same pace, with the same teachers for 13 years in an environment almost entirely sheltered from the reality of how the world actually works is the best methodology for educating human beings. It does however, seem to be the best approach to farming them. Child labor laws are supposed to protect children from mass exploitation from a ruling oligarchy, yet I don't remember receiving a penny for my part in keeping the teaching industrial machine rolling along even as it crushed the curiosity, creativity, and and the love of learning from my tender brain when I was growing up. Nowadays is my spiritual belief that every human being belongs to himself, and yet schools teach children that their lives are state property. It appears that much of what takes place inside a classroom is psychological indoctrination. We all would agree that educating the young is an essential thing for a rational, empathetic society to do. But what happens if, upon investigation, one finds that the whole established order of how this goes about getting done is not only obsolete, but immoral?

School Sucks - The American Way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okPnDZ1Txlo

3. ### wynn˙Valued Senior Member

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One tries to save oneself.

5. ### The EsotericistGetting the message to GarciaValued Senior Member

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Of course, of course. But how do you convince a society of people that have been indoctrinated by a system educated by compulsory education that compulsory education is a bad thing? Get real. It's impossible. Just like it is impossible to try to convince people that have been listening too, viewing, and reading mega corporate predatory media that consolidated media that has no regulations against monopolies is a bad thing, when this is the media they have gotten their view points from.

Come one, pointless thread. I have already tried. Beam me up Scotty, no intelligent life around here. People never question their assumptions or whether their minds, thoughts, perspectives and paradigms are theirs, or have been given to them by the establishment for reasons they have never even dared question.

In a post industrial, post modern, post information age society, the elites figure this is the only way society CAN be run where they can still be in charge. Otherwise. . . well hell, we might actually have a meritocracy, and shit, we wouldn't actually want that now, would we?

Democracy doesn't actually exist. Freedom doesn't actually exist. These are illusions.

By John Taylor Gatto
here
http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/prologue.htm

Prologue

Bianca, You Animal, Shut Up!

Our problem in understanding forced schooling stems from an inconvenient fact: that the wrong it does from a human perspective is right from a systems perspective. You can see this in the case of six-year-old Bianca, who came to my attention because an assistant principal screamed at her in front of an assembly, "BIANCA, YOU ANIMAL, SHUT UP!" Like the wail of a banshee, this sang the school doom of Bianca. Even though her body continued to shuffle around, the voodoo had poisoned her.

Do I make too much of this simple act of putting a little girl in her place? It must happen thousands of times every day in schools all over. I’ve seen it many times, and if I were painfully honest I’d admit to doing it many times. Schools are supposed to teach kids their place. That’s why we have age-graded classes. In any case, it wasn’t your own little Janey or mine.

Most of us tacitly accept the pragmatic terms of public school which allow every kind of psychic violence to be inflicted on Bianca in order to fulfill the prime directive of the system: putting children in their place. It’s called "social efficiency." But I get this precognition, this flash-forward to a moment far in the future when your little girl Jane, having left her comfortable home, wakes up to a world where Bianca is her enraged meter maid, or the passport clerk Jane counts on for her emergency ticket out of the country, or the strange lady who lives next door.

I picture this animal Bianca grown large and mean, the same Bianca who didn’t go to school for a month after her little friends took to whispering, "Bianca is an animal, Bianca is an animal," while Bianca, only seconds earlier a human being like themselves, sat choking back tears, struggling her way through a reading selection by guessing what the words meant.

In my dream I see Bianca as a fiend manufactured by schooling who now regards Janey as a vehicle for vengeance. In a transport of passion she:

1. Gives Jane’s car a ticket before the meter runs out.
2. Throws away Jane’s passport application after Jane leaves the office.
3. Plays heavy metal music through the thin partition which separates Bianca’s apartment from Jane’s while Jane pounds frantically on the wall for relief.
All the above.

You aren’t compelled to loan your car to anyone who wants it, but you are compelled to surrender your school-age child to strangers who process children for a livelihood, even though one in every nine schoolchildren is terrified of physical harm happening to them in school, terrified with good cause; about thirty-three are murdered there every year. From 1992 through 1999, 262 children were murdered in school in the United States. Your great-great-grandmother didn’t have to surrender her children. What happened?

If I demanded you give up your television to an anonymous, itinerant repairman who needed work you’d think I was crazy; if I came with a policeman who forced you to pay that repairman even after he broke your set, you would be outraged. Why are you so docile when you give up your child to a government agent called a schoolteacher?

I want to open up concealed aspects of modern schooling such as the deterioration it forces in the morality of parenting. You have no say at all in choosing your teachers. You know nothing about their backgrounds or families. And the state knows little more than you do. This is as radical a piece of social engineering as the human imagination can conceive. What does it mean?

One thing you do know is how unlikely it will be for any teacher to understand the personality of your particular child or anything significant about your family, culture, religion, plans, hopes, dreams. In the confusion of school affairs even teachers so disposed don’t have opportunity to know those things. How did this happen?

Before you hire a company to build a house, you would, I expect, insist on detailed plans showing what the finished structure was going to look like. Building a child’s mind and character is what public schools do, their justification for prematurely breaking family and neighborhood learning. Where is documentary evidence to prove this assumption that trained and certified professionals do it better than people who know and love them can? There isn’t any.

The cost in New York State for building a well-schooled child in the year 2000 is $200,000 per body when lost interest is calculated. That capital sum invested in the child’s name over the past twelve years would have delivered a million dollars to each kid as a nest egg to compensate for having no school. The original$200,000 is more than the average home in New York costs. You wouldn’t build a home without some idea what it would look like when finished, but you are compelled to let a corps of perfect strangers tinker with your child’s mind and personality without the foggiest idea what they want to do with it.

Law courts and legislatures have totally absolved school people from liability. You can sue a doctor for malpractice, not a schoolteacher. Every homebuilder is accountable to customers years after the home is built; not schoolteachers, though. You can’t sue a priest, minister, or rabbi either; that should be a clue.

If you can’t be guaranteed even minimal results by these institutions, not even physical safety; if you can’t be guaranteed anything except that you’ll be arrested if you fail to surrender your kid, just what does the public in public schools mean?

What exactly is public about public schools? That’s a question to take seriously. If schools were public as libraries, parks, and swimming pools are public, as highways and sidewalks are public, then the public would be satisfied with them most of the time. Instead, a situation of constant dissatisfaction has spanned many decades. Only in Orwell’s Newspeak, as perfected by legendary spin doctors of the twentieth century such as Ed Bernays or Ivy Lee or great advertising combines, is there anything public about public schools.

7. ### spidergoatLiddle' Dick TaterValued Senior Member

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Yes, it's true that school indoctrinates children into the prevailing ideology, but it's not quite as bad as the OP states. All cultures do that. It's possible to learn enough to transcend it's faults. In fact, I remember a few science and art teachers that kindled my imagination and thirst for knowledge.

8. ### wynn˙Valued Senior Member

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But why would one first need to convince others?

Why not first try to save oneself?

And if one isn't saved onself, how can one save others?

And when those who supposedly know better approach those people who "never question their assumptions etc." with an attitude of dismay, contempt, or just general negativity - how are those people supposed to trust them?

It's social Darwinism, an aspect of natural selection, survival of the fittest and all that.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

9. ### Saturnine PariahHell is other peopleValued Senior Member

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Psyche: " The War on Kids" and "Waiting for Superman" both pretty much sum up what you're saying there. In general the American Public Education system is a basket case in comparision of other countries.

10. ### PsycheRegistered Senior Member

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That's the most difficult realization that I struggle with every day. If I came up with the perfect argument, or the perfect pill that would instantaneously liberate people's minds from the matrix of lies they are trapped inside of it wouldn't make me any more free than I am now. The cage that I am in is embedded in the architecture of my own mind. The way it reflexively retreats from reality in all of the important ways. Sure, I can make the leap to liberty intellectually, that's the easy part. But the process of achieving self-acceptance and letting go of the idols of the tribe is gut-wrenching. I've tried on several occasions unplugging all at once and it is just too overwhelming. I even turn anarchy into an archon. The point isn't the destination, it is the process.

11. ### spidergoatLiddle' Dick TaterValued Senior Member

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The fact is, we are under no obligation to go to a public school. My parents didn't like the school system either, and so home schooled my brother until high school, and he did very well.

12. ### PsycheRegistered Senior Member

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I think it is encouraging that the amount of propaganda that has to be foisted on people is as great as it is. It just goes to show how much potential is inside every human being that we have to have these tireless structures of institutionalized mind violence in place (school, mainstream media). What needs to be done on our part is to come up with better arguments, or better approaches. I find that when I post liberty oriented stuff on facebook the stuff that gets the biggest response is humorus articles like the video on Hitler learning about SOPA, or the Onion's Autistic Reporter story on the Iraq war. When I'm in libertarian rant mode it tends to be too overbearing and out of touch with the memes they are normally saturated with.

Using humor and art you can bypass rational faculties which might otherwise filter the message out.

I think what we have is very much what Hobbes feared about a world without government, where people are simply incentivized to use the force of the government to achieve advantages over others. It's not like there is a lot of hand-wringing going on in dark corners or ivory towers. It's just that people are busy living their lives and they do so while accepting uncritically certain ideas about virtue that don't hold up under rational scrutiny.

I'm a huge fan of Gatto. Have you seen the five hour interview he gave for Tragedy and Hope Magazine? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQiW_l848t8

13. ### PsycheRegistered Senior Member

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That's something my soul so desperately craved when I was in high school. A genuine repore with an elder that I could respect and talk freely about ideas with. I always love to hear about instances when people did get that kick in the pants from a teacher. Sadly, they are in the extreme minority. 1 or 2 for most people if that.

14. ### AriochValued Senior Member

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@Psyche --

Usually it's best to just ignore the Esotericist, though I do admit that I occasionally feed that troll too.

15. ### wynn˙Valued Senior Member

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Trying to do it all on your own likely isn't going to work. For one, you didn't get yourself into the mess you are in all by yourself, there were numerous other people involved, so trying to take sole and full reponsibility for your situation is taking on too much. For two, there are people who are in a similar situation as yourself, who also struggle to save themselves. It could be very feasible to find them and to exchange notes, to support eachother.

Without a destination, there can be no process.
You have to have a clear idea of where you want to arrive at, or you won't know where to walk.

16. ### EnmosValued Senior Member

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That's true because the process leads to a destination.
However, one can enter the process without knowing the destination.

17. ### Oniw17ascetic, sage, diogenes, bum?Valued Senior Member

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Then what is the desired destination?

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19. ### Oniw17ascetic, sage, diogenes, bum?Valued Senior Member

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Well, I have my own confession... I read the first few posts, but was really just replying to what you said, though I made sure you didn't say anything before that first.

20. ### PsycheRegistered Senior Member

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The mark of a truly independent person is one who knows when to ask for help and is not shy about getting it. We are hopelessly social creatures. Nonetheless it is hard not to feel isolated.

I have a solid grasp of where I am going. But I get overwhelmed from knowing how much work is involved to get there, about how many layers of self-deception I have to peel back.

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22. ### wynn˙Valued Senior Member

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I don't think humans can be comfortable (at least not for long) with that kind of determinism and ignorance of their situation.

23. ### wynn˙Valued Senior Member

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Where are you going, what is your goal?