The notion that we have "forced" schooling in America strikes many persons as bizarre and unreal. Public schools are as American as apple pie -- we have been led to believe. And, indeed, that is the way I thought until the late 1980's. Then in the mid 1990's I went to my first "Separation of School & State" conference. This last weekend (November 20-22, 2004), I attended just such a conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in DC.
The issue of these conferences is government control of education, getting government out of education, and, in the meantime, getting our children out of government-run schools.
Control means -- at gun point. If you refuse to get your child into government-approved schooling, you will see the coercive force of law at your doorstep. Behind that coercion will be a gun. When Massachusetts first mandated state-controlled schooling, citizens out on Cape Cod rebelled. The State sent the militia to quell the rebellion -- at gunpoint. There have been many similar events since then. The gun, carried implicitly if not explicitly by the truant officer, is the enforcer of school attendance laws.
Government is inherently coercive -- which is not in itself a bad thing. Laws are made to be enforced. The current means of enforcement is generally a gun and/or jail. It may be a billy club, manacles, or a fist. Enforcement is the reason we make laws. We generally do not see the gun because we agree with the laws and obey them.
Civil government has, by nature, nearly a monopoly on the control of force -- and many governments want to erase the "nearly". In America, the Second Amendment prevents that erasure from happening. Citizens have the right, indeed, the duty, according to the Amendment, to be ready to bear arms. But that can happen only if we ordinary citizens have arms at our disposal. The primary point of the Second Amendment is to forestall the centralization of power totally into civil government. A hundred million armed Americans (about half the adult population) would be a severe limitation on any government attempt to make itself our master rather than our servant.
The legitimate role of civil government is to bring the use of coercive force under the law and grace of God. God owns the whole of the cosmos, and wants it run His way. That includes the use of coercive force.
There are some things that we should have coerced (drive on the right side of the road, honor your contracts, pay your bills, do not rob banks, etc.), and there are some things that should not be the object of coercion -- one's religion, politeness, attitude, the color of one's hair, what one eats for dinner, and (I would say) education.
Homosexual advocates have used our government-controlled schools to force down American throats behavior and teaching which, not long ago would have been treated as criminal sexual abuse of children. This could never have happened if schooling had not been under the control of government. The same could be said of just about every other example of tyranny in the last two hundred years. A tyrant heads immediately for education to control the minds of the young.
I led a round table discussion at the conference on "What are the chicken hawks doing in our schools?" i.e., a discussion on how to bring the homosexual agenda down quickly and permanently.
There is a difference between education and schooling. Education is learning the great truths about life, and how to apply them to one's own life. Education cannot be controlled or forced. But schooling is, by nature, a partly controlled process, which usually advertises itself as producing education. It may or may not. The question is whether it ought to be controlled by civil government, i.e., at gunpoint, rather than by parents, or with adults, by the students and teachers themselves.
Our current public education system is neither public nor education. It is forced schooling which produces very little education. It is a cartel of control-minded persons and interests whose aim never was to educate the public, but to control it. That is a documentable claim (see Education Bibliography). So-called public education was a control, not an education, effort right from the beginnings in the 1830's and '40's.
In the early 1800's, we had the best educated population in the world, by a good margin. Since government has gotten control of schooling, education has gone, right from the start, steadily downhill to our present dismal state, in almost equal degree as we trashed our Biblical heritage.
Horace Mann got his inspiration from Prussia, the most militaristic nation in the world, which had a mandatory, tax-supported, state-controlled education system to form the minds and hearts of the population lockstep to the will of the rulers. It was not meant to educate, i.e., to set free with truth. It was meant to create a public which would be pliable to the ends of politicians and industrialists. Only a small minority of the population were to receive a genuine education. Those intentions were openly stated. That is still true there in Europe and here in America.
In the recent presidential debates between George Bush and John Kerry, the discussion on education centered on jobs and the economy, not on honest education -- which is about the great issues of life. If the truth sets us free, then the truth will have to be of more depth than job skills.
All the talk about separation of Church and State is part of the war on the Biblical Gospel which actually does set people free (and thus makes the plans of the industrialists and politicians impossible). As Jesus said, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." (See John 8:31 ff.) It was a conditional statement. We will not know the truth unless we follow Him. He came to tell us, and lead us to, the truth that would set the whole human race free. That notion, of course, would send most educators into a rage.
But freedom is not the agenda for the control-minded, who wish to use the subservient part of the population to set themselves free. That agenda requires keeping a large part of the population subservient. That used to be done with sword and spear. But the advent of "psychology" has put into their hands a much more efficient way of keeping the population subservient -- mind-control. If you can get to the minds of the young, mind-control is much easier. The process is not so destructive of the social and economic fabric as is military control. You persuade the population that they need you for their health and welfare. Much more efficient.
1984. It was a lie then, it is a lie now. Forced schooling will always, over the long run, drift into mind-control. The temptation to use an enforced system to control people rather than set them free is overwhelming in our fallen world. (See Free Market of Ideas... for argument that government control of education is a serious violation of our constitution.)
We bother our heads much about why some of our children, for the first time in human history, have taken up deadly weapons against each other in schools -- for fun. That has never happen before in the whole history of the human race. And yet we think of ourselves as the most advanced, most educated, most scientific and technological civilization in history. Evidently not.
We try to eliminate the guns in schools so that our children will be safe. But it is all a scam (or terminal ignorance). The real problem has never been guns brought by students to schools, it has never been prayer in schools. It is the guns used by the truancy officers, by those militia men who quelled the rebels on Cape Cod, the guns used to force people into schools against their will.
The reason our schools are such a disaster today is because they are coerced. They will not begin doing their real job of educating, setting free with the truth, until those guns are removed, that is, until civil government no longer has any say about education, at any level whatsoever -- federal, state, or local. No taxes, no curriculum control, no teacher certification. Nothing other than to referee the public according to the laws which the public, under God, chooses via its elected legislators.
We agree in America that civil government should not regulate religion. But we agree on that today only because religion has been reduced to a merely private affair, one's own inner convictions, which are not allowed to influence the public arena. But religion is not a merely private affair. It is the most public of all, the corporate worship of the society.
But for the same reasons, civil government should never, never control education. Both education and religion form the hearts and minds of the people. That should never be forced. The guns which are destroying our education are those forcing us into government schools, not those with which some students are shooting down other students.
If we did not have guns forcing us into schools, we would almost for sure not have a society in which children were killing each other for fun. Parents (who really love the children) would be in charge of the schools because they would be paying the bills. And parents would never send their children to the kinds of schools we have today where police have to monitor even elementary schools. And furthermore, those in charge of such schools would expel students who showed violent behavior -- long before it got to the shooting stage.
It was said by one 1850's Speaker of the House (I believe) that we will be ruled by the Bible or by the bayonet. If we are not ruled in our hearts by the law of God, we will be ruled outwardly by the sword of civil government. That is where we have been brought today. The "friendly" sword of civil government has replaced the Sword of the Spirit, even for most Christians, as the weapon for getting things done. Government Nanny.
But it will not be enough to merely remove civil government. It was noted by one of our founding fathers that our Constitution is meant for morally and Biblically committed society, that it is inadequate for any other. That is because our Constitutional system presupposes a self-governing populace, a populace with a God-formed conscience, with a moral consensus. And that requires a spiritual consensus of a Biblical sort. Without a Creator God, there can be no objective moral consensus.
But the Biblical roots of America just might still be secure enough that a removal of government control would set free enormous energies which could radically change our education and therefore our society for the better. It all depends on whether the Christians will rise to the occasion.
Home-schooling by a growing number of Christians almost ensures that there will be a renewal of Western (i.e., Christian) civilization, because the force-schooled students will be raised up ignoramuses, and many Christians will be leadership material.
I am not excited about Bush's reelection because of Bush himself, but because his reelection seems to suggest that the Christian population just might be awakening from a two-century drift into mindlessness. In which case, Deo gratia!
For further information on the separation of school and state, visit www.honested.com; http://www.getthekidsout.org/; http://www.exodusmandate.org/
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