Posted 10/14/2012; An Essay, Part Two
In the days of Napoleon, the people were very individualistic. Most peasants hated authority and government, because it had always taken advantage of them, never giving anything in return. The peasants were convenient cannon fodder for the kill sport of kings and emperors, and useful to cut the king’s wheat with their scythes.
All along the latter centuries of the dark ages, peasants toiled on small plats, trying to eek out a living. At harvest time, government wagons came to confiscate half of the wheat they’d grown. The peasants never realized any benefit from the government. The latter collected the crops to keep aristrocrats from work – and served no purpose beneficial to the laborers of the field.
As a result, the people of the late dark ages were an independent lot. They avoided contact with the “government” so much as was possible, because there were only ever bad results to come from such contacts.
At the advent of the industrial revolution, there came a change. People were needed to labor, in crowded conditions, inside of factory walls. To toil for others, while crammed inside of smelly dark places, was anathema to the life philosophy of the commoners. This was especially true in the case where they would toil for the aristocrats they hated. Factory owners, often borne of the gentry class, had difficulty finding the labor they needed for production. The common people were very disinclined to work for others – let alone as machine cogs inside of dark factories. The few that did subscribe to such work were very unreliable. Second lieutenants were often solicited from the rank and file, in order to broach this difficulty. Slowly, a lower management and business class was formed by this collaboration, and for the commoners there was a very slow movement from one form of subsistence to another. Peasants spent less time on their own land, working for themselves, and more time in factories.
Few peasants took any kind of schooling. Kaiser William of Germany, in 1819, let out the opinion that the country should institute mandatory schooling. One idea was to make the peasants conform to the conditions of the industrial revolution. A second impetus for William came from the rate of desertion that he observed in his army. He wanted conformity to be pre-implanted in the minds of conscripts – by an “education” imparted to them before they were drafted.
People in positions of power had no desire to educate the peasants, outside of the exception of factory oriented skills, so only those topics were included within the schedules. In fact, the gentry class feared an educated peasant population. They took great pains to ensure that the proletariat would be educated only to the point necessary to work in the mills, and to achieve the desired productivity level. Eventually, when the idea of mandatory schooling finally reached the shores of the U.S. in 1850, the ruling class was ensured that “a scientific method had been developed to ensure that the common classes could not be over-educated.”
Most of the motivation for factory owners was to create a rigid mindset of conformity to work against the people’s natural disinclination for servile factory work. Additionally, Kaiser William saw that the victorious armies of the day were not the ones with the most nationalistic fervor. The victorious armies were the ones that happened to have the fewest number of deserters. It was a humbling battlefield defeat that prodded William to create a forced schooling system. He declared that he would ‘teach them to obey.’
With a rigid structure of training – new, young recruits would have a state centered mindset – and make for more success on the battlefield. Personnel would be less likely to desert. A pilot project was ordered, and within a half dozen years Prussia was the strongest nation on the European continent. It’s army was formidable. The industrialized war machine was born – powered by the brainwashed soldiers of state schools, who’d had their individualism purged from them, and the idea of the “state as master” drilled into them. Now, other countries saw what Prussia did, and began to follow suit.
In the United States, this idea caught on fifty years after the Kaiser implemented his pilot project. In 1850, schooling was made mandatory in only one state, and for a half century the other states slowly fell in line. Americans were still fairly individualistic in 1872. Those who had been schooled in the private realm served as teachers, and were free minded persons who did not work for the state. Typically, these people were clergy or just “smart elders” from the community, but in either case they were not preaching the doctrine of the state.
In the beginning, the state enlisted “teachers,” many of whom had been taught in the private system, or were self taught – and who did not have the slightest inclination to preach the doctrine of the supreme state. The American experiment had bred the individualist, and this contrasted with Prussia, which had been oppressed for ages. Thus, the American result was not nearly as impressive, in terms of the change of mindset from individualist to worshipper of the supreme state as master.
Then came the American depression. This softened up the populace so that when FDR’s New Deal came around, many were willing to lean on the state – often to the point of dependency.
Now I will interject an opinion that may seem outlandish. I submit that public schooling, by the state, was a contributing factor to both world wars. Both war-nation Germanies took advantage of what the Kaiser started – and the nationalistic brainwashing that was possible when the state controlled mandatory schooling. Think about what the state would be inclined to do – considering the mindset built into the system, and subsequently imparted to students. Would it preach the power of the individual? Would it say anything about individual freedom? Of course not. It’s a recipe for the supreme state, and in fact there could be no other result.
Today in the United States, we see the result of over a hundred years of mandatory state schooling. Ninety seven percent of all college and university students attend schools that are run by the state, and 85 percent of primary and secondary schools are run by the state.
State sponsored schooling was invented primarily as a means to control the citizenry, and to magnify state power. It is as it ever was.
It is as it ever was …
To be continued …