A five-part series on the future of the 21st Century and why it will be the most exciting in history, so far
Reason Number Two: People are Starting to Think
One of the worst lies people were forced to swallow in the 20th century led to mind-slaughter all over the world. Then it led to manslaughter of unprecedented proportions as average citizens lost the ability to form their own opinions and resist the will of their national governments.1 Governments harmed not only the bodies of their citizens, but their hearts, minds, and souls.
The essence of the lie: “education” shall henceforth be “forced public schooling,” supervised by state experts in classrooms, taking up some of the most productive years of a person’s life, and it will be provided to everyone at no expense.“School” was not real education, and it was not a feature of American life until very late in American history. Throughout history, the nations that flourished with the most freedom, peace, justice, civility and prosperity did not have public education systems or forced institutionalization of children. Those that did were slave-states or police-states, and they destroyed themselves. Alexis de Tocqueville noticed as early as the 1830s that America was headed in the direction of centralized welfareism, and predicted it would make Americans stupid. He was right. “Men will not be forced to act, but prevented from acting; the government will not destroy, but prevent a full human existence. It will not tyrannize, but ‘enervate, extinguish and stupefy a people.’”2
Today millions of parents, with their children, are dropping out of the institutional mindset to find a full human existence. They are finding intellectual and academic freedom in real books, real libraries, and a trillion3 pages of content on the internet. They are beginning to get real education by educating themselves in the stimulating environment of history’s most complex and promising century. Here are some of the first lessons learned:
- School imprisons and dull me, and I don’t need it to learn. I just need open access to truth.
- Intellectual freedom is better than politically correct institutionalization. I don’t want compulsory schooling for the 21st Century because I can see what it did in the 20th. It made us too fearful to face the 21st Century. In the words of John Taylor Gatto, a public school teacher for 30 years, and recipient of New York State’s Teacher of the Year award in 1991, schools taught Americans to be “needy, frightened, envious, bored, talentless and incomplete… fearful, stupid, voiceless and addicted to novelty…[and to learn] whining, treachery, dishonesty, malice, cruelty and similar traits. [School produces] level, anxious, spiritless families, godless and conforming; people who believe that the difference between Coke and Pepsi is a matter worth arguing about.”4
- The family environment is the richest learning environment there is. The business environment is next, and sometimes the two can be combined.
- I can teach myself anything I need to know to be part of the great enterprises of the century.
The process of learning is returning to the American experience. True learning imparts judgment and discernment. The scope of this trend is extraordinarily positive. If Americans learn, really learn, how intolerant government tyranny really is, secular absolutism5 could die a natural death. More American men would stop cringing in their cages like lab rats in the hands of social engineers. They would dissent, break free, and act.
Learning at home works. Ask home educators. Ask home business owners. Ask school kids who learn nothing in school but who come home to explore the real world on line. Ask the isolated children in the Ethiopian village of Wonchi, on the rim of a volcanic crater at 11,000 feet. These young children had never previously seen printed materials, road signs, or even packaging that had words on them until a MIT professor started an experiment in with self-directed learning. Professor Nicholas Negroponte dropped off closed boxes containing new computer tablets, taped shut, with no instruction. “I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android,” Negroponte said. “Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.”
Another researcher said, “The kids had completely customized the desktop—so every kids’ tablet looked different. We had installed software to prevent them from doing that, and the fact they worked around it was clearly the kind of creativity, the kind of inquiry, the kind of discovery that we think is essential to learning.”
All over the world, classrooms are being scrapped as retarding influences. Many employers of the 21st Century know that college degrees represent little of value; often a negative value. One of the most liberating developments of the early 21st Century is the broad realization that schooling retards both learning and education. Through the internet, real accelerated learning is becoming decentralized and de-institutionalized. So are people. Children and adults are learning how to learn, how to think, and how to make long-term plans for a long-term future. What they want to do now is build, and perhaps re-build some of the things destroyed by counterculture.
(Courtesy of Geoffrey Bodkin, 19/12/2012, www.western conservatory.com)
- 1. Modern 20th century governments killed an estimated 169,198,000 of their own citizens in police-state actions. During peacetime.
- 2. Theodore Dalrymple quoting Democracy in America: How to Read a Society, City Journal, Spring, 2000. “‘The dangers of a nurturing government is to compress, enervate, extinguish, and stupefy a people until they are reduced to nothing more than a flock of timid and industrious animals of which it becomes the shepherd.’”
- 3. Kevin Kelly, a founder of Wired magazine, estimates, “The Web holds about a trillion pages. The human brain holds about 100 billion neurons.” With a $1 million grant from Google, the World Wide Web Foundation plans to figure out, with some degree certainty, how big the internet really is. For now, no one really knows, and it just keeps growing.
- 4. Author John Taylor Gatto released the groundbreaking The Underground History of American Education, (Oxford Village Press, 2001), describing the debilitating effects of the entire school experience. He was named New York City Teacher of the Year in 1989, 1990, and 1991, and New York State Teacher of the Year in 1991. In 1991, he wrote a letter announcing his retirement, titled I Quit, I Think, to the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, saying that he no longer wished to “hurt kids to make a living.” Winner of the Alexis de Tocqueville Award for Excellence in Advancement of Educational Freedom in 1997. Often quoted statements: “[The total school} curriculum produces physical, moral, and intellectual paralysis. School was a lie from the beginning and continues to be a lie. The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders. I’ve noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my twenty-five years of teaching – that schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet.”
- 5. “Secular absolutism is becoming the most potent religious force in America.” Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2004