Public Schooling: The Grand Delusion

     “The child is not the mere creature of the state.” — Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 1922

     One of the more persistent debates in pro-freedom circles is whether children have the same rights as adults. In practice, they don’t: their parents can compel and restrain them against their wills, at least before they hit puberty That effectively limits their freedoms of expression, of movement, and of acquisition, retention, and enjoyment of property. But what about freedom of belief? Does a child – a “minor” under American law – have the right to believe what he prefers about such things as morality, ethics, historical causation, and so forth?

     Don’t expect that one to be settled any time soon. The crux of the thing is the nebulous process we call education.

     Because of compulsory-education laws, a child’s de facto right to freedom of belief is abridged by whatever authority figures supervise his education. It won’t matter whether that figure is a government educrat, his natural mother, or anyone in between. Starting no later than his fifth birthday, someone will strive to jam certain beliefs and propositions into Junior’s head. And minor children being what they are, some of those beliefs and propositions will acquire staying power.

     When a couple dozen Juniors are gathered into a classroom, the power of the authority figure at the front is amplified considerably. The Left knows this, which is why it’s irremediably hostile to homeschooling and religious schooling.

     But even in the most benign setting, the homeschool, where there’s a bond of love between student and teacher, some tendency toward authoritative inculcation of beliefs is unavoidable. That those beliefs may be well supported by evidence and reasoning is largely irrelevant. Junior lacks the capacity required to use those tools, or to dispute their relevance and soundness.

     That brings us to this Tyler Cowen article at ZeroHedge:

     I know of no person or teaching materials that are truly unbiased because to be so would entail having no opinions and providing all available information on a subject without any explanations. So, every teacher, parent, textbook, online course, or forum post is, by nature, biased in some way. Of course, this fact also means that government school or private school students are also susceptible to and recipients of propaganda daily.
     Moreover, such propaganda is inculcated far more effectively and efficiently via government schools that continue to churn out obedient and often intellectually incurious citizens who rarely question the morality or composition of the state that rules over them. This assertion should be self-evident through obedience to mask mandates, pledges of allegiance to flags, continued support for America’s overseas “defense” campaigns, and the strong contention among many citizens that democracy and voting are salubrious for all of us.

     Once again, owing to the dynamic of power, any organization, institution, or custom that offers power over others to some group will be a Leftists’ target. Power is their supreme goal. Their pursuit of it will never abate. Neither will they placidly accept ejection from their hegemony over American “public” education.

     The Left’s “long march through the institutions” was premised on the power of the institutions it targeted to shape convictions and opinions. That’s why it’s been so relentless in its campaign to infiltrate, colonize, and conquer the education industry – and even more vicious in its efforts to resist counter-infiltration. Its hostility to any alternatives to State-funded, State-controlled education follows naturally. It will propagandize against those alternatives with any calumny it can dream up. Whenever it can make an alternative illegal or unworkable, it will.

     In short, despite the many bright and well-meaning people who argue passionately that “the public schools must be saved,” it’s just not possible. Bypassing them in favor of non-State alternatives is a short-term, tactical expedient. The Left is doing a vigorous job of countering it, using State power and “lawfare” to hobble those alternatives as far as possible.

     We will be fighting a rearguard action against the Left’s – and the State’s – power over our children’s minds until the “public” schools have been utterly destroyed.


  1. There are a bunch of us who have been calling for the eradication of government publik skools for some time now. Keven Baker has been one of the loudest. The Publik Skool Sistim has been abhorrent and antithetical to actual learning for decades now. I’m saddened by how few parents understood that until the Covidiacy. And how many of them slipped back into letting the state babysit and brainwash their children after the Covidiacy.

    • Chris on February 24, 2024 at 8:02 AM

    And in that note, I give you congressman Thomas Massie who has introduced a bill to eliminate the dept. of education.

    it’s not a cure-all, but a good first step.

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