by John Taylor Gatto
The easiest way to make America better is to stop spending enormous treasure and human effort on forced schooling of the unprivileged young. By "unprivileged" I mean the bottom 95-90% of our population, not the ghettoized poor. Public education, as it is called, is actually the most fantastic intellectual confidence trick of the century and probably of all time.
Compulsion-schooling was a phenomenon borrowed from Prussia by emerging industrialist classes of the four great coal-producing powers (the U.S., Germany, England, and France) to prepare society for a highly cen-tralized mass-production economy designed to replace the small entreprenurial-agrarian economies of tradition. The development of coal, in conjunction with a reliable steam engine, made such a dystopian polity possible early in the 19th century.
Men could finally be like gods, at least a small section - perhaps five percent - could be because high-speed machinery eliminates the necessity of rewarding labor as fully human. The reality of laboring lives and parochial village concerns, upon which graceful lives of wealth had uneasily rested up to that point could finally be discounted for this to hap-pen, several thing had to be managed:
First, an industrial proletariat - a landless, lightly rooted mob - had to be created. This was relatively easy to accomplish in England and on the Continent where freedom traditions were squarely in the hands of a hereditary aristocracy. Where traditions of noblesse existed, they were overthrown by burgeoning commercial, industrial and financial interests.
But in America a powerful economy and society had arisen on the tradition of independent livelihoods fluid social classes and the Reformation doctrine, "Every man his own priest." Where elsewhere forced schooling was an underlining of the new moral world developing, in the U.S. it was essential to the making of the thing.
Forced schooling in America served a dual function: l) The creation of a mindless proletariat stripped of its traditions of lib-erty, independence, fidelity to God, loyalty to family and land. 2) The creation of a professional proletariat, suitably specialized to serve functionally in a highly centralized corporate/bureaucratic economy.
Next, a mass mind had to be created, a mind lacking critical dimen-sion dedicated to the proposition that one got ahead by pleasing authority, and trained to regard advancement principally as the road to increasing one's consumption. Forced schooling was (and is) the vehicle which drove the young to this end. The 20,000 walled and gated communities of America, a number rapidly growing, are only one of the tributes our disintegrating society pays to the class habits learned in school.
Over time, compulsion schooling in America has recreated the English class/caste system under the pretext of concern for the poor, it has dumbed down the American mind, imposing a bell curve artificially on the young as a justification of things as they are. It has crushed the average homeowner with a stupendous burden of taxation to support a world which would have disgusted George Washington, Tom Paine or Thomas Jefferson.
Forced schooling was imposed in America to turn back the promise of America's revolution to free the common man and woman to be whatever they had courage to be, and to dream whatever dreams they pleased. Forced schooling is choking America to death, leveling it to a global standard. God help us.