Gulags in the making

Yes, the War on Drugs is idiotic, there is little doubt about that, and I think most Americans are slowly coming around to that conclusion. That is not the part about the South Carolina high school drug raid that enrages me. What really brings my blood to a steady simmer is the fact that the raid was exactly the kind of debasing of the individual that occurs on a daily basis in every public school in the country, only this time it happened to a greater extent.

Public schools are not about learning. They never have been about learning. They are about taking children away from the natural home environment and molding them into obedient, state-worshipping citizens. From the moment that the student first steps into a classroom in which he is instructed to sit quietly and listen to the teacher at the front of the room, he is being stripped of his individuality and is being taught collectivism. The loud and clear message being sent is, "You cannot learn on your own. The only way you can learn anything is by being taught by someone else lecturing you. We will teach you. If you don't obey, we will punish you and your classmates."

Different subjects are taught are precise times set to a whistle. Age groups are rigorously separated so that no student is allowed to get further ahead than his peers should he demonstrate any sort of excellence. The little soldiers are marched single file from one jail cell to another at the sound of a bell. Collective punishments are meted out for misbehavior. Students are not allowed to study what they enjoy, but are impelled to regurgitate whatever the educrats think important and made to take regular tests based on no meaningful relevance to reality.

By the time the student finishes high school, he has lost his natural love of learning, and is convinced that he cannot learn on his own. He believes learning is a passive process of absorption by being lectured to. I saw this clearly among some of my classmates in college who without fail blamed their professors for not teaching them properly when they wouldn't even go so far as to even open their textbooks. His curiosity is killed, along with his attention span. He is now ready for a soundbite world of dependency. But most of all, he is obedient and willing to sacrifice himself and others for the 'greater good'.

This raid was ordered by the principal George McCrackin, who according to this post, is more than willing to be the person to keep the prisoners obeisant:

I know George McCrackin from my days at WSC in Charleston, SC. He became part of the Michael Graham Experience when he started kicking straight-A students out of school because their shirts weren't tucked in. No, I'm not exaggerating. He felt it was vital for maintaining discipline to keep all shirttails out of public view.

He also wanted mandatory uniforms, but he couldn't find enough brown shirts or red armbands...

So when I saw the video on CNN of the gun-wielding goons terrorizing school kids, my first thought was of ol' George. Sure enough...

What do you suppose the students learned from the raid? What could a kid possibly take away from seeing stormtroopers with big guns barging into the school, being thrown to the ground, looking down the barrel of a gun, knowing that he is an itchy finger away from having his brains blown apart, being almost bitten by attack dogs, and finding out later that although he had done nothing to be any sort of suspect, the principal and police still felt it an appropriate action even though in the end they found absolutely nothing. What could student Maurice Harris learn from all of this?

"...All of a sudden just aggressively ran in my face and said, 'Get down on the ground,' pointing his gun in my face..."

That's right. He took away the knowledge that obedience to the 'proper authorities' is important no matter what the circumstances. He learned that such a gross violation of his rights is justified because in the eyes of the state, he is simply a docile sheep to be used and abused.

Perry de Havilland asks why there is so little outrage in reaction to this story. Does anyone doubt that there would be much more indignation if this raid had occurred in a shopping mall, office building, or sports arena? The reason for the lack of outrage is that this kind of thing is the everyday norm to a lesser degree in schools. Our culture has deteriorated to the point where this sort of incident is almost expected and brings at most a "questioning of the tactics" from the parents of the children whose lives were put at risk. Children are demeaned and mistreated everyday in school, so what's a little excess?

And what happens when parents actually try to escape the dumbing-down of their children by homeschooling? Their children are kidnapped by the state by professional child abductors like Susan Etscovitz.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn once wrote, "The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world."

People dressed as Darth Vader assaulting children and holding guns to their heads for vague suspicions is completely antithetical to liberty. America is one of the last remaining hopes in the world for a free society, yet with each day that passes, it resembles a police state more and more. Only an informed citizenry and a culture of liberty can turn the tide. Don't give up the fight. Blogs can serve as a medium through which to bring gross violations of rights such as this raid to the public at large. Email this story to all your friends, and let them know your outrage. Let the rest of the country know what happened in South Carolina.

Make them realize that people like George McCrackin, Dave Aarons, and Susan Etscovitz are not public servants. They are the scum of the earth. In a system funded by coercion, gangsters like this inevitably rise to the top. George McCrackin is a terrorist. Dave Aarons is a willing executioner who has long since given up his own conscience and relinquished his humanity. Susan Etscovitz is a child abductor. Everyone along the chain must be held responsible.

Stop the insanity. It is long past time to completely shut down the youth incarceration and rehabilitation centers known as public schools. Don't take part in the lie. None of this vouchers bullshit. If there is any hope at all for the ideas of the Enlightenment to make a revival, we must put an end to these Gulags in the making. Completely. Thoroughly. Exhaustively.

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I'm no fan of the public

I'm no fan of the public schools, but Gatto's "history" sounds like nothing more than conspiracy clap-trap.

Public schools used to work. Generations of scientists, thinkers, and leaders came out of them. Why the public schools don't work now, I don't know. A great portion of the blame is the lack of incentives for schools to actually teach kids. Dumping laws that force children into schools would open up competition.

One reason there isn't more

One reason there isn't more outrage is the locale. If this had happened in DC or LA, you can rest assured every leftist in the country would be up in arms. There's an element of regional bigotry in the country's apathy, I'm convinced. You don't know how many times I've heard "Well, this IS South Carolina we're talking about." (Even read it in Samizdata's comment section.)

I grew up in South Carolina, but I've lived all over the country. I lived in Denver when Columbine went down, and the first interview with a student that I read quoted him as saying that "this sort of thing is supposed to happen in the south, not here." Exact words.

Fact is, it's everywhere, and it's because of a national abdication of our role as self-governing citizens. It started before us, of course. But in any event, what I've discovered is that modern Americans by and large don't actually want to be free.

Oh, they say that they do. But the number of exceptions and caveats they're willing to make piles up until the idea of comprehensive and meaningful liberty disappears, to be replaced by some vague concept they can't articulate. They know the words--liberty, freedom, individuality--but they haven't got the tune.

So they shrug this sort of thing off. "Southerners. What're you gonna do?" And when a no-knock gets served a couple blocks down they don't think a thing about it, thinking that they'll probably learn all they need to know about such things next week on Law and Order. Fact of the matter is, most of us don't deserve real freedom. We aren't interested in it. It's too hard. It takes dying for every so often, and in a completely aspiritual age that seems like a silly sacrifice based on a mawkish sentiment. Our cynicism has extended beyond mere institutions, to the very ideas upon which our institutions depend for legitimacy.

Isn't it easier, after all, to just spend your government student loan cash on a new Play Station 2?

Hear, hear! The educational

Hear, hear!

The educational system also prepares its human raw material to be passive recipients of "services" of all sorts of other "professionals," too. Just about every area of life, including 1) Taylorism in industry; 2) "progressive" good government reforms like at-large aldermen, city managers, and city-wide school boards; 3) the social engineers in the public health and welfare establishments, has been brought under the management of "experts" who manage us "for our own good."

As Ivan Illich wrote, the human resource was taught to "confuse process and substance":

"Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavor are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question."

As a corollary of this principle, the public was taught to "view doctoring oneself as irresponsible, learning on one's own as unreliable, and community organization, when not paid for by those in authority, as a form of aggression or subversion."

One of the best accounts of this phenomenon can be found in the work of Christopher Lasch.

Sean Hackbarth, Yeah,

Sean Hackbarth,

Yeah, government schools used to work, all right. The average citizen viewed American history through a statist ideological prism in which the Anti-federalists and Whiskey Rebels were misguided reactionaries. In this version of history, the twentieth century regulatory-welfare state is seen in light of the corporate liberal Art Schlesinger mythos: TR vs. the trusts, and the idealistic "countervailing power" of FDR forced on big business against its will.

In every case, decentralized forms of social organization, under the control of ordinary people, were atavistic relics. The proper solution to all problems was the recognition by "us, as a society," that we needed the application of more expertise and more benevolent paternalism by proper authorities in suits and ties.

Gatto did not make his charges as bare assertions. There is a mountain of literature from the beginnings of the public educationist movement on its goals of transforming human beings into compliant raw material.

Good pair of posts, Kevin.

Good pair of posts, Kevin.