Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Political control and school curriculum

"Political control is... by its nature, bound to legislate against statements of both fact and opinion, in prescribing a school curriculum, in the long run. The most exact and demonstrable scientific knowledge will certainly be objectionable to political authority at some point, because it will expose the folly of such authority, and its vicious effects. Nobody would be permitted to show the nonsensical absurdity of 'dialectical materialism' in Russia, by logical examination... and if the political authority is deemed competent to control education, that must be the outcome in any country.

"Educational texts are necessarily selective, in subject matter, language, and point of view. Where teaching is conducted by private schools, there will be considerable variation in different schools; the parents must judge what they want their children taught, by the curriculum offered. Then each must strive for objective truth.... Nowhere will there be any inducement to teach the 'supremacy of the state' as a compulsory philosophy. But every politically controlled educational system will inculcate the doctrine of state supremacy sooner or later, whether as the divine right of kings, or the 'will of the people' in 'democracy.' Once that doctrine has been accepted, it becomes an almost superhuman task to break the stranglehold of the political power over the life of the citizen. It has had his body, property, and mind in its clutches from infancy. An octopus would sooner release its prey.

"A tax-supported compulsory educational system is the complete model of the totalitarian state."

-- Paterson, Isabel (1944). The God of the Machine. London: Freedom Press.

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