Pat Buchanan on Public Schools: Wrong from the Beginning

Gary North – October 30, 2021

Pat Buchanan wrote an editorial on Terry McAuliffe’s run for governor in Virginia.

McAuliffe is your basic Democrat arm-twister. He believes in the big state. He was the major fundraiser for Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. He used to be the head of the Democratic National Committee. In other words, he is part of the problem.

He wants to be governor of Virginia. Again.

The polls say that he is running neck and neck with an unknown Republican. It will be settled on Tuesday.

Maybe the major issue on which McAuliffe is vulnerable was his statement publicly that parents do not have the right to tell school boards what to do. Buchanan hopes it will cost him the election. So do I.

But, to make his case, Buchanan fell into the standard conservative trap. He accepts the legitimacy of public education. He accepts the legitimacy of the myth that parents have a say in public education. Parents have never had a say in public education. That goes back to 1837 in the state of Massachusetts. Parents have been pushed around about what is taught in the public schools ever since there were public schools in America. The whole point of the public schools is to shove the ideology of the educators down the throats of children.

Doubt this? Read John Taylor Gatto’s book, The Underground History of American Education. Read R. J. Rushdoony’s Messianic Character of American Education.

Any suggestion that parents have now or ever had any significant influence in the public schools is ludicrous. It buys into the mythology of the public schools. The public schools have floated this mythology, or at least used too, that the parents have a say. But this has always been a convenient illusion. It has always been a con job. It is time to stop accepting the con job.

Here is what Buchanan wrote: Who Decides What Kids Should Be Taught?

For if he does lose, it will be because of an elitist belief McAuliffe blurted out during a debate with Republican rival Glenn Youngkin:

“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions. … I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

Yet, during his own term as governor, one Virginia school district pulled copies of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Huckleberry Finn” out of the schools because of the books’ use of racial slurs.

McAuliffe blurted out what has been the truth from the beginning. He articulated what was implicit when the state of Massachusetts replaced government support of the Congregational churches with government support for public schools. They got rid of tax support for the churches in 1833. They started supporting the public schools in 1837. The state was setting up a replacement tax-funded church run by a Unitarian, Horace Mann. The switch was blatant. They got away with it. The Christians went along with it. They always go along with it. Christians are dumber than dirt on matters of public education. That is because they have been educated in the public schools. The public schools do a very good job in turning Christians’ minds into gray sludge.

When in power, the humanists always get their way with what gets taught in the schools. So, by getting rid of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird, the school board was doing exactly what humanists always do. Of course, this was hypocritical. The whole thing has been hypocritical since 1837. It is based on hypocrisy. It is the most successful single hypocrisy in American culture.

What McAuliffe was saying was that the knowledge, truths and beliefs imparted to children in public schools are to be determined by school officials and teachers alone. Parents have no role and should butt out.

Parents should butt out. And when they butt out, they should take their children with them. That would break the back of the public school system. It would break the back of the humanist, leftist oligarchy in this country. But Buchanan is not talking about that kind of butting out. No, he is talking about a handful of parents going to a school board meeting, screaming bloody murder, going home, and then sending their kids in the public schools when the school board pays no attention to them. This has been going on since 1837.

His dismissal of any parental role in education did more than cause a backlash against McAuliffe. It put on the national agenda an issue that will be engaged and fought long after this Virginia governor’s race is over.

The victory here would last a couple of years, maybe. This would be one more case of the Left wing humanists’ running of the public schools: keeping parents from pulling their kids out of the schools. “Look, look, conservative parents won!” What will they win? They will win the right to send their kids back into a school system that, in every course, teaches the humanist worldview. And it is all done at taxpayer expense. It costs about $12,000 per child per year. Some victory.

But to the voters of Virginia, who have been moving to Youngkin since McAuliffe made his now-famous remark, these are real issues.

Critical race theory is peripheral to the nonsense that the public schools have taught for a century. There is no CRT curriculum yet. There will be. It is going to be rammed down the throats of the public within a couple of years. Billy Bob and Jenny Sue are going to be taught critical race theory, just as they are taught about Heather having two mommies. If the humanists want it, they are going to get it. The parents do not have any say.

Humanists are content once in a while to let the illusion spread among naïve parents that something the parents want is going to be done by the local school boards. Until there is a comprehensive CRT curriculum, it really does not matter that school boards delay implementation.

For what their children are taught and not taught in the public schools to which parents consign them from age 5 to age 18 are matters of grave concern for those parents. For it will affect the kind of adults and citizens their children will become.. . .

These schools are helping shape what children come to believe about the moral, social and historical issues tearing our country apart. These schools are helping shape the men and women these children will become.

He has got that right! And this is why the conservative movement has never had a prayer. This is why the conservative movement has been little more than an annoyance to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Consider. Under the landmark Supreme Court rulings in Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges, abortion and same-sex marriage have been made constitutional rights. Yet both decisions contradict biblical truths, Catholic doctrine and natural law.

And what did Catholic bishops do about that? Nothing. Did they reopen parochial schools? No. Did Catholic parents immediately pull their kids out of the public school to homeschool them? No. Are they likely to do this? No.

While both decisions are today the law of the land, have parents no right to object if public-school teachers instruct their students that these decisions were right, moral and just? Do students and parents have no right to dissent, both inside and outside the classroom?

Of course they have the right to object. And the school boards have the right to laugh at them behind their backs, shove a new curriculum down the kids’ throats, and hike the cost per student to $13,000 a year. That is what they have done for a century and a half, and what they will do until parents pull their kids out of the schools. The pattern is clear. It is basic to the history of the United States since 1837.

Do parents have no right to object if the tenets of critical race theory — that America is shot through with “systemic racism,” that whites are privileged from birth and blacks oppressed — are taught as truth about the country to which they have given their loyalty and love?

Of course they have a right to object. And then they have the right to go home, shut their mouths, pay their taxes, and send Jenny Sue and Billy Bob into the public schools, which they had done from the beginning, and which their parents did, and which their parents’ parents did, all the way back to 1837.


When you ignore a trend that is unbroken since 1837, and you pretend that that this trend can be rolled back by the means of coercion — taking money from taxpayers to fund your kids’ education — you are living in a fantasy world. It is a fantasy world that is the product of public school education coupled with inconsistent conservative ideology.

It all boils down to this question. Are the parents responsible for the education of their children, or is the state?

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