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Friday, June 17, 2005

"Tyrants are successful only when the people are ignorant."

In the US, Texans Kim du Toit and his wife both used to have weblogs that I considered daily reads. KimduToit.com posts mainly on gun rights (along with a fair bit of swearing, politics in the US, Europe, and Africa, and tame pictures of attractive women from the early 1900s). Kim still posts and I still check in often. Mrs du Toit used to post a lot on education, especially homeschooling issues, but has stopped blogging, and most of her archives are unavailable.

This is a great shame, as both have had a large influence on my views on both gun rights and education. Many of Mrs du Toit's best posts are still available via Google cache however, including this one, from back in 2002, which neatly details all that is rotten in the state of the modern Western education system. I hadn't seen it before because I hadn't even heard of blogs back then, but it's a classic. Even if you don't have school-age children, please take the time to read it.

I hope she doesn't mind, but I've reposted the entire thing in the expanded section of this post. My favourite bits are in bold.

Academic Excellence

Academic excellence is a term that has changed its meaning over the centuries. Education, once a bastion of the rich and powerful, became available to the common man with the miracle of a single invention. This single invention, beyond the microchip, the combustion engine, and aspirin had more impact on history than any other single or combined inventions of the last thousand years. What single invention? The printing press.

The printing press was first put to use reproducing the Judeo/Christian texts. Scribes, who once devoted their lives to copying the scripture, could now devote their time and energy to their flocks. But, this was not the only group who lost their jobs to technology, although they were likely the first group to suffer layoffs due to automation. With the printing press came standardization, an agreed upon text that could not be easily altered in each successive edition by the creative or sinister interpretation of the scribe. As had been done by earlier Papal revisionists, too many copies were in circulation for anyone to make significant alterations without notice by the masses. Therefore, the printing press did more than make reproduction of the written word faster, it made historical revisionism impossible.

After sufficient machines were set pumping out the Bible, they were used to reproduce other precious manuscripts: Homer, Socrates, Plato, Aurelius, and other contributors to the Western Canon. These texts were previously owned and read only by the privileged and ruling classes and were the basis of academic study. Their inexpensive reproduction made it possible for these texts to fall into the hands of a man outside of the ruling class.

Time continues on and eventually all the great literary and scholarly works were set to type and bound for the consumption of the masses. New techniques in binding and paper manufacture reduced the costs further, to the point where, even the middle classes could own a copy of Aurelius, Locke, Byron or Shakespeare.

In the beginning, all books were printed in their original Latin or Greek. If you were educated, you read Latin or Greek, not wanting to trust your academic pursuits to a translator, or the selection limited by intentional or accidental translation omission. College and private libraries were filled with 10,000 years of recorded history. If a student spent his days in that library, reading the wisdom of the ages, he could expect, even without debate our discourse, to come out of library doors educated.

There are direct correlations to the increase in the body of literature and the availability of printed texts. As more and more people read what had been written, absorbed the success and foibles of civilizations past, new theories emerged, and the people formulated new governments based on the successes of previous civilizations.

They knew what would work, because it had worked countless times in the past. They also knew what would fail, the signs of impending doom, the first signs towards an Orwellian destiny, or Sodom and Gomorra outcome.

As part of the American experiment, public libraries brought the wisdom of the ancient and modern tomes to the common man. Latin was taught in grammar school so that each new generation could study our shared history through the written word.

The concept of the public library was a new dynamic. It should not be surprising then, that our Founding Fathers, all readers and scholars of the Western Canon, should expect that the availability of these texts for the masses would lead to an enlightened age. They fully expected that all citizens, once properly versed in 10,000 years of history could and would understand the brilliance of the American doctrine, would protect and defend their freedoms, understand the basic principles of liberty and recognize its enemies, and peace and prosperity would prevail. It should also be clear why the first protection guaranteed to all citizens was the freedom of the presses and of thought, for they understood that through the suppression of ideas, historical revisionism, that all great civilizations became tyrannies.

Tyrants are successful only when the people are ignorant. Our Founding Fathers understood this. Marx understood this. Lenin understood this. All great men of principle and all tyrants understood this.

It was with this in mind that Jefferson began his pursuit of public education. Make libraries and classrooms available to all, allow the common man the time and privilege of reading the works of history, and he too will become educated, prosperous, and able to pursue his own path of happiness.

But the experiment failed. Why?

At the turn of the last century, Jefferson’s worst fears came to fruition. The masses moved from an agrarian lifestyle to one focused on urban manufacture. Jefferson prophesized that one of the biggest threats to corruption of government was through manufacturing entities assuming control of our governments:
"I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there shall be vacant lands in any part of America. When they get piled upon one another in large cities as in Europe, they will become corrupt as in Europe ."

--Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787
"While we have land to labor, let us never wish to see our citizens occupied at a workbench or twirling a distaff. Carpenters, masons, smiths, are wanting in husbandry; but for the general operations of manufacture, let our workshops remain in Europe . It is better to carry provisions and materials to workmen there than bring them to the provision and materials and with them their manners and principles."

--Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia , Q.XIX, 1782
As we entered the industrial age, manufacturers were dissatisfied with the workforce. An educated and independent man would not stand for hours at an assembly line. He was not docile or complacent. The manufacturers conspired with government, and with the communists and socialists of the era, to remake public education--not one in which we would turn out educated men and women, but factory drones who would respond like Pavlov’s dog to the ringing of bells and factory whistles. It was at this time, that the school model was altered, dramatically altered. The school model, once an open classroom of debate and civil discourse, now mirrored the factory floor. Bells and factory whistles were added to public schools, student study periods were shortened so that students became used to moving from area to area, by the clock instead of at the completion of an assignment. Arrive at a set time, eat at a set time, even hunger was scheduled for every person. Independent thought and individual pursuits of excellence were labeled as elitist in the propaganda of the era. Factory owners wanted worker drones and the unscrupulous government legislators conspired in their manufacture.

It seems strange that the Capitalist manufacturers should conspire with the communists, but they did. The communists and socialists saw this as a means to an end. They understood that the undervalued and overworked worker would be the basis of a cultural revolution and so they colluded with manufacturers, who were themselves ignorant of the risks, to set in motion the path to anarchy and dissatisfaction.
"You can’t make Socialists out of individualists. Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming where everyone is interdependent."

--John Dewey
It was through communists and behavioral theorists, such as Dewey, that the educational model shifted from one of individual and scholarly pursuit to one of collective reprogramming. The concept of an individual’s unique pursuit of happiness was modified and a canned and bottled definition of what would constitute happiness was promoted: 3 rooms and a bath, 2.5 children, access to convenience products, all acquired and maintained by a permanent manufacture job. It was also at this time that the teaching of Latin was eliminated. How best to seal the fate of the masses by closing the door on 10,000 years of history?

Up until the 1920s and early 1930s our Universities still provided a liberal arts education, based on the study of literature, history, and the reading and discussion of the Western Canon. It took another generation, the graduates of a Latin-free education, entering college before the Latin texts were removed from University libraries. There was no party or book burning ceremony in these institutions, but surely the ilk of Dewey delighted at their removal.
"In 50 years, we went from teaching Latin and Greek in high school, to teaching remedial English in college."

--Joseph Sobran
The definition of an educated man changed. An educated man, who once stood as the gatekeeper of tyranny and oppression, had been destroyed. Our educational institutions became trade and technical schools where we turned out MBAs, engineers, doctors and other skilled technicians, gone were the degrees of letters and liberal arts scholars. The masses were now defenseless against the roots of oppression, ignorant to the warning signs of tyranny, and all but blind to the Orwellian and Machiavellian signals that their liberty was coming to an end. Education remodeled itself to one that trained the masses in trade and manufacture, it was education no longer, but merely institutionalized apprenticeship and social reconditioning.

Even today more recent additions to the Western Canon are being removed from our public school libraries. Works such as Huckleberry Finn and the collected works of G.A. Henty, are being removed under the guise of obliterating racism or gender stereotyping, both the new buzz phrases and double-speak for the old practice of book burning and historical revisionism. This gave rise to multiculturalism, the final step in the obliteration of the Western Canon.

Students of history also know that there always exists a remnant who will work against oppression. They are often spoken of as the meek and the innocent. They seem to appear out of nowhere. This remnant is among us now and has worked silently to overthrow the educational abuses of the last 100 years. The remnant were unable to work within the system to remake and restore public education and so they worked, as all revolutionaries do in the beginning, on the fringes and in the backrooms and basements. They developed and supported each other through underground and grassroots efforts, protecting each other from attack by joining of forces and unimaginable partnerships and alliances. These educational revolutionaries make for strange bedfellows. The first on the battle lines were the religious-right, removing their children from the hands of the brain washing educators. The groundwork done, the pathway cleared, they were followed none too distantly by the educational elitists, often atheists and humanists, who saw that the only way to restore our nation was through education of their children. When the religious-right and the humanists join together for a common cause, no external entity can put down their efforts.
"I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power."

--Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820
This remnant now has significant numbers to come out of the closet, although they represent only a minority of two or three million in number. Their solidarity to the cause can no longer be put down or dismissed as a group of reactionaries or extremists. This feat has been accomplished again by the printing press, albeit the modern electronic version, made possible by the Internet.

The public school machine is still working hard to put down this rebellion by legislating that a parent cannot educate a child as they see fit, by attempting to proscribe their own version of what constitutes education by requiring uniform and standarized tests, attempting to control Internet content, to profile individuals and families as potential terrorists or child abusers if they insist on "thinking outside the box" or outside the factory or office floor. Daily accounts are reported of the intrusions of school boards, truant officers, and social workers dog at their resolve and attempt to chip away at their successes: threat of jail, fines, and in some cases the attempt to separate children from their parents. But the masses are not swallowing it any longer, as the evidence put forth by the remnant is irrefutable.

Academic excellence has once again been achieved by the remnant by outperforming on in every imaginable area: spelling bees, SAT and ACT exams, and in psychiatric studies that show that their children are more (not less) socialized and adaptable, more self-assured, and more productive and happier as adults, than their institutionally reengineered counterparts.

The final argument used by the public school is one of socialization and their failed attempts to convince the masses that children need indoctrination and must become social conformists by association with their peers. They attempt to veil their indoctrination attempts by describing a child’s need to be with other children, when in fact the goal is to separate children from their parents and other adults, at earlier and earlier ages, to prevent adults from shielding them from the abuses of social reengineering. The social indoctrination camps, the public schools, are having more and more difficulty, because their lies and self-produced and tampered studies have been refuted and debunked.

These revolutionaries are not soldiers, nor are they outspoken or versed in soap boxing, they are the silent minority of organized and solidified parents who home school their children. Homeschoolers have restored meaning to the term academic excellence and are a force that is our greatest hope to restore liberty to our nation.

To find the educational remnant and fellow revolutionaries you can begin your search at:

* http://www.hslda.org
* http://www.sepschool.org
* Dumbing Us Down : The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
by John Taylor Gatto
* Or at our sister site, http://www.illinoishomeschool.com/ihs or http://www.homeschool-texas.com/ihs

Other recommended reading:

* The Burden of Bad Ideas, Heather MacDonald
* An Autobiography of a Superfluous Man, Albert Jay Nock
* The Disadvantages of Being Educated, Albert Jay Nock
* Albert Jay Nock on Education, Wendy McElroy
* John Dewey and available on Marxist.org:
The Philosopher’s Search for the Immutable, John Dewey, 1929

Google Cache: MrsduToit.com
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Posted by RightWingDeathBeast | 6/17/2005 04:20:00 pm


Blogger Lucyna said...

I hope everyone who comes here reads this.

6/17/2005 05:00:00 pm  
Blogger GaryH said...

RWDB - Thankyou for posting this. A good little read.

6/17/2005 05:15:00 pm  
Blogger docjok said...

This is an excellent article - thank you for posting it. Unfortunately it is so true. We ignore this sort on analysis at our peril as a society. Do we really need to live under 70 years of ruthless dictatorship like the Russians to find out the the socialist utopian myth is in fact one of the biggest lies of all time.

6/17/2005 09:24:00 pm  
Blogger peasant said...

The Wayback Machine (web.archive.org) has a nice navigable copy of the old site here. Some excellent material. This article was the third in a series of six.

6/19/2005 04:31:00 am  

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