FREE & COMPULSORY SCHOOLS

May 31, 2010

FREE & COMPULSORY SCHOOLS

I have always been dissatisfied with the idea of public schools because of the fact that they are paid for by our taxes. This totally separates parents from one of the responsibilities of parenthood: preparing their children to be self-supporting adults. Education expense has become a communal obligation.

Recently I read a book by Murray N Rothbard titled “Education, Free & Compulsory”. It’s available from the Mises Bookstore. The book emphasized the other aspect of public schools; they are compulsory. Rightly so, for public schools were created long ago for a more sinister purpose: to indoctrinate us.

The first public schools were founded by two 16th century founders of Protestantism: Martin Luther and John Calvin. They each attempted to make their doctrines the official state religion, and to use the power of the state to force their beliefs on all citizens. Each one advocated total obedience to government as the instrument of the “true religion”. School attendance was compulsory, so the upcoming generations became religious zealots and patriotic nationalists.

European governments really liked the idea of absolute obedience. Even when governments abandoned the idea of an exclusive state religion, they clung to the system of compulsory attendance at state schools, This was to provide willing taxpayers and enthusiastic cannon fodder.

Free and compulsory public schools were introduced in the American colonies by the Calvinist Puritans. Slowly the system spread to the other colonies. After the revolution, the constitution, and the founding of the Federal Government, the public schools spread across the territories and the new states. Public schools have been an institution now for so long that we take them for granted and can’t imagine any other system.

In the run-up to World War 2 in the 1930s we started the daily ritual of the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools. We learned patriotic songs. The history taught made all of our wars and conquests sound innocent and virtuous. Patriotism formed a substantial part of our education.

As long as we have tax supported public schools we shall have unquestioning patriotic citizens fighting foreign wars to extend our empire and influence abroad. Any move away from this school system is a good move.

Home schooling and private schools free from government control may in time provide us with enough thoughtful, educated citizens to recapture our freedom and roll back our Federal Government to the limits imposed by the Constitution.

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