Tag Archives: totalitarianism

THE POWER TO EDUCATE IS THE POWER TO INDOCTRINATE

The power to educate is the power to indoctrinate. When governments instead of teachers and parents take over an educational system, they start with the money. Once they get the district and local school systems used to feeding on Federal money, they start to feed curriculum down the food chain, as well, dictating what should be taught to children as a condition for receiving that Federal money.

There is method in this madness. The Nazis understood it well, as did the Soviets. There is a saying, “The child is father to the man.” Its meaning is clear. A child’s mind is keenly receptive to what he (or she) is taught. It is a learning mechanism instilled by nature to enable a child with no life experience to trust completely and to believe what is told to them by those who guide him, i.e., the authority figures in his life.

Usually, the first of these authority figures are the child’s parents. It is their job is to instill in the child basic values of right and wrong, good and bad. The presence and competence of parents is a crucial factor in a child’s upbringing and the absence of these affect the very basic issues of a child’s life at the early stages.

When a child is well fed, well protected and well taught the basics of right and wrong, good and bad, by proper example, he learns these basic values and they become guiding norms which will carry him through life, at least into adulthood.

When the child is not properly fed or protected, or when examples are not properly set, the norms are skewed and the values the child develops will be skewed, as well. The variations of this basic set of facts (single parent households, orphaning through war, plague, etc.) bring up a whole new set of topics for discussion, which cannot be addressed within the scope of this essay and are sidelines to the core issue.

After a child’s parents, come the child’s teachers, who should continue leading that child gradually toward enlightenment through education. From the first day a child is taught his first school lesson, until he is an adult, a child is supposed to be given the tools, skills and perception, i.e., the standards, to lead a life which will eventually be independent of parents and school teachers. At that point the child must be fully equipped to see truth and reality and to be able to make decisions based on the broadest possible understanding of the issues underlining those decisions. Life and survival depend on this ability. In an ideal or near-ideal world, the education of every child works perfectly toward that end.

But when government is allowed to dictate content of subject matter, that subject matter is corrupted. For example, in teaching history, many figures, who were once revered, are now either ignored or harshly treated. Instead of their accomplishments in the founding of the United States, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are instead criticized for owning slaves, while figures like Fidel Castro and Mao Tse Tung are treated temperately, as founders of their own republics. Notwithstanding the fact of slave ownership, neither Washington nor Jefferson were responsible for the wholesale slaughter of their opposition as were Castro and Mao.

In one piece of teaching material it was recently uncovered that children in classrooms were taught that the government is supposed to be obeyed. Note, it does not say that laws are to be obeyed or that, as Thoreau once insisted, when a law is unjust, it should be broken, but the consequence paid by the breaker. In this way, the infusion of deliberately misleading messages fed to students as fact, corrupt students’ ability to discern truth from propaganda. Likewise, if students are encouraged to believe that government can and must provide all opportunities and benefits for the duration of their lives, those students may well adopt a mindset that guarantees the suppression of the necessary will to educate themselves, to deny their own independent thinking because it is not developed, and instead to accept and expect government to provide their survival and success. This kind of message is designed to foster generational voting patterns and not to educate anyone.

There is an ongoing attempt by government to separate students’ education from the authority of parents and even from teachers by dictating content in the classroom. This has been done many times in history by totalitarian regimes because it works remarkably well. The classroom is like a fertile field in which to plant the seeds of political and civic conviction for every child who sits in one and is taught by a dedicated teacher. Even more than parents, the classroom gives the opportunity to mold a child to a way of thinking which will become ingrained in his nature and will form the basis for everything he learns or thinks or does for years and years to come, in almost every case, until that child is a full grown, fully developed adult, or even beyond. This is why the fertile ground of the classroom, especially in the early grades, is a target of liberals, a battleground they wish to seize and occupy so that free thinking people are no longer able to exercise their will. They know, as does everyone, that what is taught and learned by students is what will ultimately shape society. And generations of such exposure will engender that shape for generations to come. Governments know this. Parents need to realize it.

Spokesmen for government involvement in education claim that the need to teach what they call “older” or “outmoded” values in favor of newer, technological subject matter, give as their excuse, the need for greater numbers of technical specialists in industry and science. But emphasis on equipping a student technologically, while ignoring the requisite preparation of a philosophic comprehension of the deeper, more fundamental values may result in a better trained society, but not in a better educated or freer one.

The Soviet Union placed great emphasis on science, too, but their society eventually corroded from within out of sheer repression of the free expression of ideas. Teaching a child to be technologically proficient may have its advantages in certain areas, such as in the job market, but this set of values must always be taught in the greater context of the eternal norms of honesty, truth, goodness and beauty. As naïve as this may sound to some people – indeed to many people in an age of financial insecurity – society cannot continue to sustain itself without a high degree of individual freedom, because it is this freedom which allows and endorses enterprise. The dislocation of focus on the core of human industry, namely, truth, objectivity and honesty, enables government to step in and dictate the missing core values. And when it does so, it always encourages core principles that favor government control of life instead of the proper core values that teach and encourage individual freedoms. Government never encourages the freedom of individuals because government’s interests lie in the propagation of its own power, and those interests are collectivist in nature.

When government establishes itself as the dictator of core values, it enforces those core values in various ways. Currently, the principle agent and tool used in social-liberal curricula, encouraged by a social-liberal government, is political correctness, a pernicious tool of intimidation designed and intended to repress free speech and the free examination of ideas, in order to control teachers, administrators and students. Among other things, political correctness is used to discourage competitiveness in academics and in sports.

There are examples that baffle anyone with common sense. A trophy cannot be given to the best performer on a baseball team on the principle that those who performed less well will be discouraged. In one school system, teachers are forbidden to give any grade lower than 50%, presumably because students’ self-esteem will diminish if they get poor grades. Of course in both these cases, initiative to perform well is automatically dealt a death blow. In other cases, a teacher is not allowed to tell students to be quiet because it might hamper their sense of freedom, disregarding the fact that lessons cannot go on with the breakdown of classroom etiquette.

This anti-competitive attitude bleeds over to parents who are provided with mechanisms to enforce political correctness on behalf of their children. Some parents carry this principle far beyond reason, invoking threats of litigation if high grades, earned or unearned, are not awarded to their child. They use mechanisms provided to them, which may be initially intended to help children with disabilities, but which have been so widened in definition that they become burdensome to the teaching and learning process. Many parents now claim “learning disabilities” that are no longer legitimate, such as one case in which a parent claimed their child was not smart enough to learn in regular classes and should, therefore, be held to a lower standard, in a regular classroom. These gradually corrupt the purpose of learning which should be to teach students how to think clearly and discern reality, not to acquiesce in the parents’ demands for the sake of political correctness. From this, it is logical to conclude that government should always be excluded from the classroom. When ignored by parents and teachers, this fact can be destructive to society as a whole and the death blow to true education.

There are and should be limits to competitiveness. Society could not function if pure competitiveness, i.e., purely cutthroat action, were the highest norm. Indeed, the corruption of the fundamental norms or their subversion to the value of beating someone at something causes many of the ills we experience in some sectors of today’s society, even in the relative freedom we experience in America. However, the discouragement of all competitiveness is destructive of initiative and causes weakening of the resolve needed to survive in life.

What used to be called a “liberal education” was a general exposure for each child to a set of values that were open and free, thus to enable the child as an adult to make decisions and to shape his own mindset based on truth, reality and goodness. Alas, now, the term “liberal” has been corrupted to mean anything but true freedom. Notwithstanding the bad press teachers get these days, the only hope for returning the educational process to its purest roots resides with teachers, who, when working with sincere parents whose intentions are rationally in favor of providing real education that enables their children to make life decisions unfiltered and unadulterated by propaganda. A return to the old fashioned concept of the PTA would be a good first step in this urgently needed direction.

 FJ Rocca is an independent, conservative writer/blogger of fiction and non-fiction, most interested in the philosophy of American conservatism. Clarity is more important than eloquence, but truth is vital to human discourse.

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Common Core Battles Explained. It’s Really Not About the Standards. Really.

by Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog

If you are new to the Common Core Standards battle, below is an article that explains the outcome of the standards.  The basic truth of the standards is that they are unproven, untested, underfunded and proponents cannot point to “internationally benchmarked” standards to which they are purportedly aligned. They are a cash cow for those education reformers providing the infrastructure and implementation: new text, new computers, new training manuals, etc.  What a great cash infusion into the economy…you’ve got to love those private companies taking advantage of that public money/partnership opportunity.

The method of making money (not really providing education reform for the sake of education) is in full swing.  But look down the road.  WHY are we experiencing this monstrous wave of centralized control?  It’s for the data.  The linked article explains about the surveillance of Americans via the National Security Agency (NSA) capturing email information (without Americans realizing it) and the massive storage and infrastructure needed for this activity.  WHY is the government keeping your information?  Michael S. Rozeff writing in LewRockwell.com:

If we examine the legality of this NSA warrantless surveillance, we will quickly become mired down in abstruse issues of statutory and constitutional law.   Let us not go there. That won’t give us the central answer to the question of what’s wrong with a wide network of government surveillance of Americans, with or without warrants.

It’s the same for Common Core Standards.  The grab of educational direction by the Department of Education is unconstitutional, but trying to get them out of your state legislatively promises to take several years.  Look bigger picture. WHY is the government so interested in establishing common core standards?  Like the NSA and the tracking of financial transactions, the tracking of student data will be able to determine your student’s place in a managed workforce.  Your students will be placed in a position based on his/her data set.

So what’s the problem?  If Americans want a nanny state, CCSS is the answer to figuring out what type of job your student will secure in the future.  No hard decisions for your little one to worry about:

The mandated Longitudinal Data System (a nationwide computer system connected to states using Common Core standards) will be connected not only to other states for educational information, but also to various federal agencies, such as the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services for information to supply the workforce:

The term workforce is defined as consisting of the workers engaged in a specific activity, business or industry or the number of workers who are available to be assigned to any purpose as in a nation’s workforce.

The public workforce system is a network of federal, state, and local offices that function to support economic expansion and facilitate the development United States workforce. The system is designed to create partnership with employers, educators, and community leaders in order to foster economic development and high-growth opportunities in regional economies so that businesses find qualified workers to meet their present and future workforce needs. (Emphasis added)

Your student’s data (educational and personal) is to be fed into the LDS to determine his/her strengths and weaknesses. This is surveillance most taxpayers/parents probably don‘t even know is occurring.  Do you remember signing a permission form giving the government the right to share your child’s information with a network of federal, state, and local offices that function to support economic expansion?  Is this what you envision for your child as he/she sets off for school each day?

The education reformers and some nanny state parents ask: Isn’t this a positive service our government is doing to/for our children?  Helping our children decide what to do for a job and where to work?  Whatever is the problem?  The answer:  What occurs if your student decides he/she doesn’t want to do the job designated for him by his/her data?

What’s wrong with the surveillance state? The balance of power between citizens and government in America is already lopsided and becoming increasingly so. The surveillance state opens up new opportunities and new vistas for government control of its citizens.

The biggest danger is that Americans be trained to accept the State’s controls over their lives, or that they have a limited notion of what freedom means. In roughly 15 years of training, a new generation can be taught that the State’s controls are PROPER and that what the State is doing is RIGHT and for the GOOD of the people. When this happens, further restrictions and controls become easier and a high degree of oppression reigns, and it even meets with a high degree of acceptance.

As you read What’s Wrong with the Survelliance State, think how this applies to the intrusion and data mining in education and the real purpose of Common Core standards.  If there is no common data mined and shared via state computers to other agencies, this silent surveillance on your student cannot occur…at least in school.

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Do you know what the NSA is? It’s the National Security Agency. The NSA has collected an estimated 15 to 20 trillion communications involving Americans.

Government spying on Americans and surveillance of Americans are rapidly increasing. The government has forced telecommunications companies to participate. This is being litigated in lawsuits.

Financial institutions must report certain cash transactions to the Department of the Treasury. This is accepted practice. This reporting includes the following and I quote the U.S. Treasury:

“Individuals transporting over $10,000 in currency or other monetary instruments into/out of the US.
“Shippers/Receivers of over $10,000 in currency or other monetary instruments into/out of the US
“For each person engaged in a trade or business who receives over $10,000 in cash in one transaction or two or more related transactions.
“For each U.S. person who has a financial interest in, or signature authority, or other authority, over any financial accounts, including bank, securities, or other types of financial accounts in a foreign country, if the aggregate value of these financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.”

Former NSA official, William Binney, says that the government is collecting and storing everyone’s e-mails.

“…the FBI has access to the data collected, which is basically the emails of virtually everybody in the country. And the FBI has access to it. All the congressional members are on the surveillance too, no one is excluded. They are all included. So, yes, this can happen to anyone. If they become a target for whatever reason – they are targeted by the government, the government can go in, or the FBI, or other agencies of the government, they can go into their database, pull all that data collected on them over the years, and we analyze it all. So, we have to actively analyze everything they’ve done for the last 10 years at least.”

Asked if this collection were only of those who could be a threat to national security, he said

“It’s everybody. The Naris device, if it takes in the entire line, so it takes in all the data. In fact they advertised they can process the lines at session rates, which means 10-gigabit lines. I forgot the name of the device (it’s not the Naris) – the other one does it at 10 gigabits. That’s why they’re building Bluffdale [database facility], because they have to have more storage, because they can’t figure out what’s important, so they are just storing everything there. So, emails are going to be stored there in the future, but right now stored in different places around the country. But it is being collected – and the FBI has access to it.”

If we examine the legality of this NSA warrantless surveillance, we will quickly become mired down in abstruse issues of statutory and constitutional law.

Let us not go there. That won’t give us the central answer to the question of what’s wrong with a wide network of government surveillance of Americans, with or without warrants.

Binney gives us the beginning of the answer:

“Unfortunately, the state of our surveillance state is: all set, to be turned on for the imperial presidency to do whatever it wants to do.”

What’s wrong with the surveillance state is (1) that the State has far more power than each individual American has, and (2) the State can and will turn that power against Americans if it can get away with it.

The State is not some beneficent body of men and women devoted to public service who are unselfishly acting on behalf of the welfare of Americans. Barack Obama, Dianne Feinstein, John Boehner, Harry Reid, John Roberts, David Petraeus, Keith B. Alexander, Robert Mueller, and Michael Hayden are not saints. They are not even close.

We have had recent examples of the abuses of power as exercised by George Bush and his administration. Barack Obama continues those abuses and adds more of his own. The Congress continues its many abuses. The Supreme Court continues its abuses. If there is one thing we can be sure of, it is that men and women in the U.S. government have immense power to do many evil and foul deeds, and they have done them, and they will continue to do them.

It is built into human nature and into the nature of the institutions of government that such evils can and will occur, and they must be curtailed or else they annihilate civil society.

The State consists of a relatively small group of men and women with great power, and they will abuse this power if they can, that is to say, if the governed do not control their governors.

The State has organized and official power that we as individuals do not have. The State has the power to make laws and say what is legal or not legal, constitutional or not constitutional. It has the power to carry out and enforce its laws. The State’s power also finds acceptance among many Americans.

When there is a contest between some Americans and the State, or when some Americans oppose the government’s powers, their means of recourse are not as strong as the State’s, not as well organized, not as well known, not as well focused, and not as well accepted. It is more difficult for Americans to find ways to control the State than it is for the State to devise ways to control Americans. The citizens who wish to keep the State under control do not as a routine and accepted matter have institutions that they have built up and used over time to check the State’s power.

As government has grown and State power accumulated, the powers of civil society to control the State have atrophied. It is in the interest of the State to diminish those powers, and over time it is doing this. It is in the State’s interest to diminish an armed citizen militia and to replace it with a nationalized, centralized and professionalized armed force. It is in the State’s interest to replace common law and dispersed courts with a nationalized and centralized system of law-making, law-interpretation and law-enforcement.

It is by no means impossible to control the State, but it’s a non-routine and trying task. When the State flexes its muscles and oversteps, legal and electoral mechanisms may be slow and unwieldy and they may fail. The State has staying power.

And so William Binney accurately pinpoints the risk. With a surveillance state in place and with access to information on everyone, the few at the top who run the State and particularly the imperial President, who already is attempting to rule by Executive Order, can do whatever he or she wants to do.

What I envision is creeping totalitarianism, also one can call it democratic totalitarianism. It is a totalitarianism in which a facade of democratic or republican government, call it what you will, is maintained, but the actuality is increasingly detailed and oppressive control over ordinary life. The State will know where you are and what you are doing, and it will have the means of punishing you if you do not obey its rules.

Surveillance is a key component of such totalitarianism. Imagine that the State controls currency and eliminates hand-to-hand cash altogether, replacing it by electronic transactions. These can be monitored and collected. The State can know every item that you buy or sell. The State then can pass a law, according to its whim, that outlaws a certain food or item or service, or it can do the opposite. It can pass a law requiring a certain food or medical procedure. Surveillance gives it the means of enforcing its laws by knowing who is obeying and who is not. The State can turn anyone into a criminal ex post facto by passing a law and then searching past records, communications and transactions to find evidence of their previous wrongdoing. The U.S. Constitution forbids ex post facto laws, but it also forbids fiat money and requires declarations of wars by Congress. Many other constitutional provisions are ignored.

What’s wrong with the surveillance state? The balance of power between citizens and government in America is already lopsided and becoming increasingly so. The surveillance state opens up new opportunities and new vistas for government control of its citizens.
The biggest danger is that Americans be trained to accept the State’s controls over their lives, or that they have a limited notion of what freedom means. In roughly 15 years of training, a new generation can be taught that the State’s controls are PROPER and that what the State is doing is RIGHT and for the GOOD of the people. When this happens, further restrictions and controls become easier and a high degree of oppression reigns, and it even meets with a high degree of acceptance.

Totally free communication is absolutely essential to prevent this from occurring. There must be the capacity to speak freely and to educate all people, young and old, about freedom and the challenges to freedom emanating from the State. If surveillance is used to instill fear of speaking freely or used to control speech or used to prevent people from earning a livelihood or used to tie people up in legal proceedings or used to blackmail people into silence, the threat to freedom at that point is open and severe.

The surveillance State constantly drags its heels and seeks to keep its surveillance secret. There is no possibility of citizens controlling a government when they don’t know what the government is doing. If whistle blowers, soldiers and ex-soldiers, government officials and ex-government officials, and media figures are repressed and prevented from making information public, in other words, as the surveillance state seeks to keep its activities secret, the threat to freedom amplifies.

The battle lines between citizens and the State are always drawn. They never go away. The State is always a threat to freedom. The State is always pushing for greater control unless the citizens push back, develop and use means to control the State. Growing surveillance by the State is an offensive operation of the State in this never-ending war. It is up to the citizens to resist the State’s surveillance, form ongoing institutions to control the State, form a culture of citizen control, and dismantle the State’s capacity for such surveillance. It is that or else surrender more of their disappearing freedom.

December 31, 2012
Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York. He is the author of the free e-book Essays on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book The U.S. Constitution and Money: Corruption and Decline.
Copyright © 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Filed under National Standards (Common Core)