Thursday, August 14, 2008

Everyone Kowtow To The Leviathan State

First I want y'all to read an excerpt from John Taylor Gatto's Underground History Of Education which describes the early-American political mindset:

Fifty children of different ages are teaching each other while the schoolmaster hears lessons at his desk from older students. An air of quiet activity fills the room. A wood stove crackles in the corner. What drove the nineteenth-century school world celebrated in Edward Eggleston’s classic, The Hoosier Schoolmaster, was a society rich with concepts like duty, hard work, responsibility, and self-reliance; a society overwhelmingly local in orientation although never so provincial it couldn’t be fascinated by the foreign and exotic. But when tent Chautauqua with its fanfare about modern marvels left town, conversation readily returned to the text of local society.

Eggleston’s America was a special place in modern history, one where the society was more central than the national political state. Words can’t adequately convey the stupendous radicalism hidden in our quiet villages, a belief that ordinary people have a right to govern themselves. A confidence that they can.

Most revolutionary of all was the conviction that personal rights can only be honored when the political state is kept weak. In the classical dichotomy between liberty and subordination written into our imagination by Locke and Hobbes in the seventeenth century, America struggled down the libertarian road of Locke for awhile while her three godfather nations, England, Germany, and France, followed Hobbes and established leviathan states through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Toward the end, America began to follow the Old World’s lead.

"A right to govern themselves"?. "A confidence they can"?.

Now compare that society to today's. Here's a letter from a frantic homeschooling mother that was just posted in an online forum. I've X-ed out names and the specific town. Suffices to say that it's one town nearby on the South Shore of Boston.

Hi All,

I am sorry to ask this question again as I did not pay attention to the answers last time. The Assistant Supt. in XXXXXXX is insisting that I have a face to face meeting with him to go over my home school plan for [my son]. Any advice? I do not want to meet with him. We plan on [my son] taking some sort of standardized test so I can keep track of his learning and I am willing to send the results of that in - however I do not want to get into a fight with this man and I can't remember the law that says I don't have to meet with him.????

I did send in a very specific plan that included names of the different classes [my son] will be taking etc. Maybe that was my mistake. Dr. XXXXXXX says that I need to set up a relationship with him based on trust so that we won't have problems.

To varying degrees homeschooling parents have to submit curriculae to their local public school government officials; they also might need to specify work schedules and whatnot.

I have two years from now before my son is *supposed to be in school* so that should give me ample time to prepare to lick the boots of some local principal or superintendent. I need this lead time. If some guy like this "superintendent" threatened me with "problems" and demanded my "trust" today, well, I probably punch him right upside his head.

When the time comes, I WILL lick their jack-boots, kill them with kindness, and take all the precautionary steps needed to keep them off my back. They may be outright thugs, but they are also Morons who can't be that hard to work around - hopefully.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yup. placate a few egos, sound intrigued and act earnestly. That should be enough to get you off the hook.