Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Strongest Political Instrument

State-run education is the "strongest political instrument of our time." During the twentieth century it has demonstrated that it has the power to make culture into its own image. Without exaggeration, education in America has evolved into an powerful machine; one that is based on a socialistic model. Is it any wonder that more and more politicians and media types have come clean and are now unapologetically in favor of Socialism?

As to the socialistic model of public education, for the most part, competition between schools does not exist. Most parents have no choice but to send their children to the nearest public school. State funds inevitably leads to State standards and no one elses. And the exclusion of choices and ideas is but a natural outcome of its governmental standards.

For instance, public education, since the early 1960's, has grown hostile towards Christianity, towards constitutional principles, and towards the family itself.
Yet relatively few people give it the attention that it deserves.

Admittedly, politics and the ballot box is where all the action is. And for that reason, much our energy is invested in congressional, gubernatorial and presidential elections. However, political victories which lend themselves to the restoration of America, when they come, are short lived so long as the State has a monopoly on education.

In 1929 Hilaire Belloc wrote a book entitled Survivals and New Arrivals. Belloc provides an analysis on Catholicism and the emerging threats to Western Civilization. One of those threats is what he called "Compulsory Universal Instruction." To Americans, it is better known as public or State-run education. In any case, he briefly outlines why this kind of education undermines the family, democracy and the Christian religion. "The inevitable conflict," said Belloc, "between the Catholic and the non-Catholic conceptions of human nature, life and destiny, cannot but make the elementary school their battlefield."

There are three decisive points which Belloc brings to our attention. Each one illustrates why Christians and Conservatives alike should provoke a national debate on the lethal effects a State-run education has on a free society.

First, Belloc wrote that, "The State is secondary to the family, and especially in the matter of forming a child's character by education. Now here the State of today flatly contradicts Catholic doctrine. It says to the parent, 'What you will for your child must yield to what I will. If our wills are coincident, well and good. If not, yours must suffer. I am master.' At least, so the State speaks to the poorer parent; to the richer it is more polite." Now, this is perfectly consistent with the Second Vatican Council's document,Declaration On Christian Education, which says, "Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators."

Belloc's prophetic statement that the public school system sees itself as "master" is no exaggeration. Public educators in the twenty-first century, especially when dealing with sensitive subjects like sex-ed, have expressed a superiority complex. Indeed, throughout the country, they have shown a disregard for the preferences of parents and have put them in uncomfortable situations by having their children opt out of certain sex-ed programs. Moreover, even though parents pay their fair share into the public school system, they have very few choices when their local elementary or high school fails their children academically.

According to the Catholic Church, as stated above, the State is the servant of the family. Fathers and Mothers, not public school teachers and administrators, are the primary educators of their children. In addition, the authority they have over their own children in terms of education is second only to God. However, the State as it exists today- in practice and in theory -no longer sees itself as the guarantor of parental authority, but rather its rival. This general philosophy is not only problematic in terms of parental choice and rights, but it has insidiously shaped the way children see the world. The elementary school children today will be the policy makers of tomorrow. The question is: Do we expect them to have any appreciation of the natural law? One such law is that the family precedes the State and for that reason "the State is secondary to the family." This is a fundamental pillar to Western Civilization. Without it, it ceases to be free and prosperpous.

Two other points Belloc proposed for our consideration in the next blog.