The hysterical refrain “won’t someone think of the children” has been so overused as a knee-jerk populist appeal for overarching, tyrannical legislation–from proposals for internet censorship to calls for illegal government spying–that it has become a self-parodying cliche. Still, the essential argument appeals to such a basic part of the human experience that it is trotted out time and again by politicians, sometimes subtly and effectively, sometimes clumsily and heavy-handedly, and sometimes like George W. Bush.
However the argument is framed, it is always essentially the same: For the sake of the children upon whose shoulders the future of civilization rests, this or that particular program needs to be enforced. Thus it should not come as a surprise that the Council on Foreign Relations, that group of globalist insiders founded by Colonel Edward house in 1921 as a tool for shaping American foreign policy and undermining American sovereignty, took up the question of education in a recent report looking specifically at how U.S. education reform is tied to the question of national security.
The idea that a sense of national identity is fostered through the education system must be particularly horrifying to an American public that is now subjected to daily reports of elementary school children being handcuffed and arrested for schoolyard fights or an autistic teens being tasered a sickening 31 times for the heinous crime of not removing his jacket in class.
While the oppressive environment of today’s schools do provide a window onto the increasingly militarized police state that America is becoming, the idea that the school system could be used as a tool for inculcating a national identity and taming a traditionally independent population is by no means a new one. In fact, as any careful study of the books and quotations of the western school systems progenitors will show, the modern idea of schooling was formulated specifically to create a nation of intellectually crippled, docile workers, who would be more dependent on authoritarian systems of control and more easily manipulatable by the ruling class.
In his article “The Purpose of Education: Social Uplift or Social Control?” Andrew Gavin Marshall carefully documents the process by which the school system came to be seen as a tool of nation-building and then as a mechanism of social control. Writing in the American Journal of Sociology in the 1970s, researchers noted:
“The spread of schooling in the rural North and West can best be understood as a social movement implementing a commonly held ideology of nation-building. It combined the outlook and interests of small entrepreneurs in a world market, evangelical Protestantism, and an individualistic conception of the polity.”
In contrast to this, reformers wanted to implement a system of social control, one capable, in the words of Robert Wiebe, of “serving all citizens, stamping them American and unifying the nation.”
Whereas the educational impulse in the early days of the schooling movement was to foster and encourage the curiosity and independence of the largely agrarian population for whom these qualities would have evident utility, this morphed into a system for forcing obedience to authority, mechanical repetition of tasks, and rote memorization of facts as the economy itself became increasingly dependent on industrialized processes of production. In this paradigm, the task of the education system itself was to prepare the vast majority of the population for the repetitious, highly regimented labor of the factories.
One of the intellectual precursors for this idea was a German philosopher named Johann Gottlieb Fichte. According to British philosopher Bertrand Russell:
“Fichte laid it down that education should aim at destroying free will, so that, after pupils have left school, they shall be incapable, throughout the rest of their lives, of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished.”
As John Taylor Gatto, former New York City and New York State Teacher of the Year, has exhaustively documented in his books on the subject, the philosophical roots of this tradition trace back to Prussia, where the modern system of universal compulsory education was first formulated.
More than just the control of primary and secondary education, however, the institution of the academy itself had to be tamed in order to make this system of control complete. With a history that could theoretically trace its ancestry back to Plato’s Academy and at the very least to the universities of the middle ages, academia’s rich history of fostering independent thought had long made it an uneasy ally of the establishment hierarchy. In the late 19th century, however, a generation of robber barons arose from the American industrial revolution to amass fortunes never before dreamt of by non-aristocrats. Fortunes which they were soon to put to the task of moulding society in their image.
In the 1950s, the Congressional commission known as the Reece committee explored historical documents of the major foundations established by the robber barons, including the Carnegie Corporation, and lead researcher Norman Dodd discovered how they took control of the levers of American state power by grooming a class of academics that would be amenable to their interests.
Earlier today I had the chance to talk to Andrew Gavin Marshall, contributing writer to BoilingFrogsPost and founder of ThePeoplesBookProject.com, about the ways that this system of control via the education system has been consciously revised, updated and reformulated by well-connected insiders under the guise of “The Crisis of Democracy.”
If it is the insiders at organizations like the CFR who have been self-consciously steering society in this self-defeating direction, then, it should be relatively easy to determine what not to do. We merely have to examine what it is they are suggesting, and then pursue a different course of action.
The framing that the would-be directors of society put on the issue is as transparent as it is effective on a populace who have had their powers of critical thinking greatly reduced by an education system that no longer teaches it: if the school system is broken, then what we need is more schooling. More hours in government indoctrination camps, more taxpayer dollars thrown at the problem in a cynical attempt not to ameliorate the problem, but exacerbate it, more power consolidated in the hands of the education department that has been organizing this dumbing down of society the whole time. And like any other false flag event, it is a feedback loop: the worse the problem gets, the more power the perpetrators of that problem can obtain.
No, the problem will never be solved by allowing the same self-proclaimed elites and would-be social engineers even more time, money and power to wreak havoc in our children’s lives. This problem, like so many others, will only ever be solved when parents stop waiting for government agencies and globalist think tanks to descend from the heavens with the perfect solution and take matters into their own hands.