I hated school from the moment I entered kindergarten. The whole routine of going to this maze of cinder block cells for five days a week always rubbed me the wrong way. I’m not sure I ever figured out why until many years after I graduated, and this is probably good: If I knew then what I know now, I would probably have flunked out intentionally, just to make a point.
There were times in the past when I had hunches of what the problem was. You know, the teachers were all liberal because they all belonged to the union. (One teacher did confess conservatism to me once; he was the football coach, and, incidentally, more artistically astute than his colleague the band director.) But one day it dawned on me all at once: the problem with public schools is that they’re run by the State.
I know what you might be thinking: States are inefficient, slow to respond to needs, terrible with money, and many of the employees, in the absence of real accountability, are hardly of the….What shall we say?…..hard-working variety. This is all true. The crucial matter, however, is the one which most people completely miss and never think about: The schools promote the agenda of the State.
“Oh, oh! But there’s nothing wrong with that,” you might say. “It’s all fine, because we live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
The simple fact is that the rights of citizens and of the individual states have been eroding ever since the Constitution was foisted onto the republic in the absence of any popular demand to abandon the Articles of Confederation (see Albert Jay Nock’s book, Our Enemy, the State). The “rights” of the Federal government have been increasing.
I have not digressed, for this is public school lie number one: that we live in a free country. The usurpations of the Federal government are always painted as heroic moves to save the world, or to save the poor, or to end the great depression, or even….the biggest lightning rod of all (at least if you’re not a neoconservative, for whom World War II is the most important issue)….slavery.
No, Abraham Lincoln didn’t give two scoops of ice cream about slavery. He wanted a war, and he wanted it for the income from tariffs.
One could go on forever about this issue, but let’s approach just two more subjects:
1. Culture. Cultural education in the public schools is a joke. Most of the time it’s based on the notion that it gives the students busy work so that they don’t do drugs, or it teaches them teamwork, or, in the case of the marching band, how to obey orders without questioning–an indispensable disposition for State power. (A good antidote to all this is William Byrd’s short treatise on why everyone should learn to sing.) The actual ability to appreciate art, music, theater, etc., is nowhere near the core of the curriculum. Literature might be, given that everyone has to take English class. But the collapse of language into modern-day semantics would render this a subject all unto itself, so I shall pass it by for now. (For more on the collapse of language, see Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences.)
2. The worst, most crucial lie. Let’s cut to the chase: Much of the political dreck that comes out of public schools is based on the ridiculous notion that Herbert Hoover was a laissez-faire president in the august mold of Calvin Coolidge and that it is this which led to the depression and nearly destroyed America. This sets up the gullible to become hero worshipers of FDR, whose War- and New Deal-mongering is hailed almost universally as the elixir of the economic troubles of the late 20’s and early 30’s.
In truth, Herbert Hoover began the process of increasing government regulation over the economy. This needlessly prolonged the depression. As a matter of fact, FDR ran against him on a more conservative platform, but then, of course, changed his mind after being elected. (Obama supporters take heed.) It was not until the Roosevelt administration finally exhausted every bureaucratic option and simply let the economy go on its own that it began to recover. Be it noted, too, that it wasn’t the war that saved us. Wars don’t improve economies, as Friederic Bastiat pointed out ages ago–though no one in the Oligarchy seems to have taken notice. (For more on the myths of the Great Depression, see Thomas Woods’ book 33 Questions about American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask.)
Nevertheless, people go on believing that the depression worsened under a laissez-faire administration and improved under a socialist one. This misconception makes it nearly impossible to have a serious conversation with most people about the virtues of the free market.
All of this is brought to you by our public schools, who’ve done a fantastic job of making the State look good.
Finally, a question: Generally people will not hesitate to partake of a quality item that is offered for free, so why is it written in law that children must attend school, under penalty of law?