When I was young, I was taught that America was the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” Bullshit. America might have been the land of the free, once; but (if it ever was) those days are long gone. That is, unless you redefine “freedom” as meaning freedom for those who happen to be in power, which has been the historical understanding of freedom.
I’m starting to think that very, very few people are really concerned about freedom as an ideal or even a general principle. Again, they may be “all about” freedom, but mainly, people are only concerned for their own freedom, with little concern for freedom across the board (especially if it infringes on their freedom). What makes this work is that many people are also wiling to trade real freedom for a sense of security (even if false) and irresponsibility. For some, a lack of responsibility is freedom: “freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.” This tendency of sheep to be sheep and leaders to be fascists creates, for some, the ideal state of affairs, and works well for fundamentalist preachers as well as for politicians. Fascism, therefore, is alive and well, all over the place.
From the end of WW II into the seventies, we saw a major cultural shift take place as those really concerned with freedom for different sets of people than those in power, such as blacks, women, and even liberals (prior to this, even the liberals were conservative). It was a good thing, freedom for everyone. But, was it really freedom for everyone, or just others wanting to create new fascisms? I think it probably started well, but these kinds of things often turn into tools of the new wannabe fascists. I won’t mention any names.
Today, it seems we have a variety of fascisms fighting for control. We have, of course, the Homeland Security boys, who have been dismantling our personal freedoms in the name of security and patriotism. On the other hand, we have our education systems, which are under the control of another fascist regime, secularism. Certainly secularists were the oppressed of years ago, but what they’ve accomplished is not equality or intellectual freedom; no, they’ve now become the oppressors. As I understand it, this is the main point being made in Ben Stein’s new documentary, Expelled, which I won’t discuss any further here. While some may laugh this off as an absurd, extremist claim, I think it is impossible to examine the situation objectively and not conclude that there is a type of fascism at play; it’s certainly not “freedom.”
The latest strike in the war against freedom, this too involving an educational system, is this week’s California 2nd District Appellate Court ruling that parents do not have the right to teach their children at home. The Cal. Dept. of Education (with the obvious support of the teachers’ unions) has been fighting the rights of parents for years, under the general principle that “the state knows best.” Now, if this isn’t fascist thinking, I don’t know what is. Yes, I know that it is phrased “in the best interest of the child,” but seriously, if they really cared about the children, don’t you think the state would do a better job of educating the ones they have? We have the worst educated children of any industrialized nation, and homeschooling children are shown to outperform those in public schools. If you were concerned about the children, which side would you be on?
I don’t believe that the state is concerned about the children. I think their first concern is Federal funding – based on head counts – to keep the system alive, and their 2nd concern is placating the teachers’ union. It’s about power – in Sacramento as opposed to the local school boards – and money. I also suspect that it’s about indoctrination, as it seems more money is going into various indoctrination programs (no free-thinking allowed) than teaching kids to read.
You can call it fascism, or you can call it greed; but what it is, is another loss of personal freedom.
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My guess is that either the State Supreme Court or the Federal Supreme Court will overturn that ruling in a heartbeat. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association is already getting in on the action in this case and probably will take it all the way if necessary.
I really haven’t paid close enough attention to this story, and I wish I had the time to check it out. I do question the outperformance studies, because I think that there is a very broad range of reasons to homeschool.
1. Inadequacy of the local public schools to adequately prepare students because they have to deal with huge social problems.
2. Poor programs for AP and gifted students.
3. Unfunded mandates to keep special needs kids’ needs met; and that can take away from the ability to address the needs of the general population.
4. Then there are the homeschoolers who are just trying to protect their kids from the nasty old evolutionist liberalism.
I should probably bone up in this stuff this year so I am prepared for my political campaign.