"As for adopting the ways which the state has provided for remedying the evil, I know not of such ways." ~ Henry David Thoreau
April 15: The American Citizen"s Final Exam
It is no coincidence that government schools and income taxation are two of the modern statist's favorite American political institutions as well as two of the most inherently criminal.
Also not a coincidence, perhaps, is the fact that the end of the school year comes about a month within April 15, which is the day of reckoning for the American citizen who has spent the 365 days since the last April 15 doing everything possible to prove his or her loyalty to the state.
Of all government institutions, American public education has one of the least understood and least appreciated histories, which makes sense when we discover how despicable that history is, and when we consider that, generally speaking, the 'history' of most everything that Americans think they know they probably learned in public schools in the first place.
Like many other aspects of today's American Welfare State ' such as Social Security and Medicare ' many of the rituals and qualities of America's government schools originated with the government of Prussia's Otto von Bismarck, who used welfare programs to control his population, weaken the Left's popularity, and further the twisted designs of his regimented warfare. Bismarck used compulsory education to engineer children for the purpose of turning them into soldiers and agents of his government.
Throughout the last two centuries, America's most prominent proponents of compulsory public education, from Benjamin Rush to Horace Mann, have made clear their philosophies on education, and the similarities between theirs and Bismarck's is eerie. They all believed government should mold perfect citizens out of children because, after all, children belonged to the government.
The government treats students accordingly. For twelve years the schools force youngsters to sit down, shut up, raise their hands before speaking, ask permission to urinate, and mindlessly regurgitate information back as if the whole process was meant to teach anyone anything other than to obey orders. Nobody realistically expects students to retain all that useless textbook 'knowledge.' The average fifth-grade math teacher knows squat about tenth-grade math, to say nothing of tenth-grade biology! One might think that teaching positions should be reserved for the educated among us, and yet the typical high school instructor probably knows distressingly little about anything outside his or her specific field of study (i.e. anything apart from the same lesson plan that he or she has been using for at least ten years).
And yet, day after day, America 's youth are subjected to this nonsense for six hours, only to have the oppression follow them home and into the night in a bizarre ritual we call homework. I'm not knocking genuine education, but it would be difficult to show that the hundreds of hours of worksheet assignments given to elementary school kids, the hundreds of hours of repetitious math problems given to preteens, and the thousands of hours of monotonous historical 'research' and literary 'analysis' inflicted upon the nation's teenagers produce more enlightened adults than contemptuous graduates who enter the 'real world' and quickly embrace a reactionary avoidance of anything 'intellectual.'
People who want to learn math or read well will do so, and if they weren't subjected to so much garbage in school, Americans would excel in reading, writing and arithmetic as much as they do in entertainment and food production ' activities they advance in voluntarily. The average child or teenager is very wise within his or her chosen realms of interest. Ask a three year old who hasn't yet been touched by public school about dinosaurs and you'll see what I mean.
And yet, when it comes to basic literacy ' something that for thousands of years only theocracy and technological limitations kept from the masses that yearned and struggled to learn to read anything they could get their hands on ' most of America's youth, and half of its adults, couldn't get through an issue of Reader's Digest.
So what is the real purpose of all of this homework, and school in general? It is to prepare young Americans for their Final Exams. I'm not referring to the sophomore- or junior-year final exams. In May of their tenth or eleventh year, students turn in their finals, walk out the door, and immediately forget half of what they moments ago regurgitated on their exams. Then they forget almost all the rest during the summer, which they spend recuperating from the mandatory attendance and disgusting public bathrooms they endured over the last nine months. They usually want to forget as much as they can.
But one thing they will remember is that it's okay for the state to keep you in a room for six hours a day. It's okay for the state to force you to read its books, follow its dress code, stand in its lunch line, and submit to the whims of its agents. It's okay for the state to tell you what are acceptable and unacceptable historical interpretations of its wars, some fought generations before your time and yet allegedly fought on behalf of your freedom. And it's okay for the state to control your destiny based on how well you can recite its propaganda and fake your way to the top of an indoctrination system inherited from a nineteenth century German mass murderer.
So how could it not be okay for the state to dictate to you what you can and cannot put into your body? How could it not be okay for the state to forbid you from owning weapons that it points at you to enforce its edicts? How could it not be okay for the state to tax your income, terrorizing you every April as you scramble and stressfully disrupt your life so you can testify to the state and reveal to it how good a citizen you have been over the last year? You've followed its directions. You've done what you've been told. You've obeyed its stop signs, cheered on its wars, observed its regulations, saluted its flag, and you will surely enough fill out its 1040. Why go the whole year being a good citizen if you're just going to blow the Final Exam?
Government education is responsible for the attitudes of so many Americans that allow the state to get away with its worst crimes. As my friend Stony pointed out to me, the government's perspective, concerning its school system, could be summed up as follows: 'We taught you everything you know.' It's kind of creepy when you think about it.
Income taxation enables the state to control society in ways that would have been impossible before its permanent establishment in American life in 1913, and if you doubt me look at how government's grown since then. It's kind of creepy when you think about it, and it's no coincidence.
Government education and income tax are two of the most despicable spokes on the cycle of state violence. Children are viciously molded for more than a decade into wards of the state, who will obediently spend the rest of their lives paying to indoctrinate the youngest helpless generation.
Although many complain that the problem with schools is that they don't get enough tax dollars, I doubt any amount would be sufficient to make the public education system efficaciously teach one obvious truth, a value that almost everyone mostly observes, except as it concerns the government:
Forcefully taking property that is not yours is theft, and coercively detaining a child is kidnapping.
Since the IRS will probably not ask taxpayers to relay this simple concept of elementary morality, Americans have a good shot at passing their Final Exams with flying colors.