Back to government school

Posted: Aug 07, 2004 12:00 AM

This column has become an annual ritual.  Every fall, as millions of parents turn the most precious things in their lives ? their children ? over to the government to be educated, I explain just how quick the government indoctrination process begins.  And just how quick is that?  Try the first day.

First let?s deal with the harsh and uncomfortable reality that these marvelous public schools to which you have entrusted your children serve more as indoctrination centers as they do places of learning.  You shouldn?t be surprised.  It makes sense to believe that If your child is attending a Catholic school your child would be taught that the Catholics pretty well have this religion thing down cold.  Jewish school?  Same thing.  Ditto for a school operated by a Christian fundamentalist church.  Why, then, would you expect a school owned, operated and staffed by the government to be any different? Doesn?t it make perfect sense that a government employee working in a government institution would instill in your children the understanding that government is inherently good?  Should you be surprised when you child learns a blind obedience to the dictates of government, and that government is the true solution to all problems great and small? 
Why, pray tell, do politicians struggle so mightily to protect our government system of education?

Most of you will be sending your children to their government schools in the coming weeks.  This would mean that you and your child have been engaged in the great annual hunting expedition for school supplies.  There you are, wandering the aisles of your local Walgreens searching for pencils, protractors, constructon paper, rulers, paste, notebooks, erasers, (condoms?) and all of the things that make up the basic school survival kit.

I want you to watch your child with his newly-acquired school supplies.  He is going to take those supplies to his room.  After all the supplies are spread out on a bed or table the rearranging ritual will begin.  They?ll be arranged this way ? and then that way ? and then another way.   Does he put the protractor to the left of the pencils, or next to the construction paper.  How many pencils can he get into his pencil case.  What you are witnessing here is a certain pride of ownership.  These are his supplies.  His!  Do you hear?  These are the tools he is going to take to his school on Monday! 

OK ? so here we are at the first day of school.  Everything is arranged just right.  The supplies have been packed, repacked, unpacked and repacked again.  Now it?s off we go to school! 

That?s where things start to fall apart.

The students are seated, the bill rings. As fast as you can say the Pledge of Allegiance without the ?under God? part, the indoctrination begins.  The government teacher steps in front of her virtual hostages and promptly delivers the first raw lesson in the power of government.  The students are instructed to bring all of their precious school supplies ? their property -- to the front of the classroom and put them into a huge box.  These supplies no longer belong to them. 
They are now community property ? they belong to all of the class.  The teacher, representing the government, will from that point on assume the responsibility of distributing the supplies to the students as they are needed. 

?Whoaa!  Hold on a minute here!  These are MY supplies.  My daddy bought them for me.  You can?t have them!  They?re mine!?

Not any more kid.  Those pencils and erasers were yours.  They have now been seized by the government to be used and distributed for the common good.  

There?s a method to this madness.  Your child is being taught that there are some severe limits to the concept of private property.  The lesson being taught on this, the first day of school, is that it is perfectly normal and natural for the  government to seize your property if there are other people who might need some of your stuff.  After all, it?s just not right for you to have something that other people don?t have or can?t share in, is it? 

This whole ?dump your supplies into this box? is not an innocent exercise.  Your child?s teacher might not even be aware of it, but this lesson in government power is a time-honored method of introducing your child to the concept that there is something basically wrong with owning private property, but everything will be OK of you just let the government even things out a bit by taking some stuff from you and giving it to someone else. 

How did Marx present this concept?  I think it was something like ?From each according to his ability; to each according to his need.? 

School Day number one -- Lesson number one.  Your rights to your property exist only so long as government will allow, and it?s just not fair to have more stuff than someone else.

And this is just the first week!   More surprises in store!  Wait until you get that call from your child?s teacher with vague, dark hints of a better world for your child if only he was on Ritalin.