Tuesday, December 01, 2009

"It is really time that we started demanding an end to compulsion in education altogether."

This post is by Neil Taylor. It first appeared as part of a conversation on the UKHE support list and is reproduced here with his permission because I think that, like so much else Neil writes, it deserves a wider audience.

The whole point is to place education entirely in the gift of government to licence, just as driving a car is. Demonstrable competence of the driver and roadworthiness of the car is no defence against not possessing a valid driving licence or valid MOT certificate. A restaurant cooking wholesome hygienic food is no defence against not having a licence to sell food, and so on. Licensing anything is handing a previous freedom over to government to grant or refuse.

Government is essentially bidding to take over from the courts the right to determine what a suitable education is. If they can get away with writing law that allows them to do this, then that will be the law.

It is inescapably totalitarian for government to monopolise what may be considered or not considered to be suitable education, because there never has and never can be consensus on the question, and this is probably our best argument against it, but then it was inescapably totalitarian for it to make education compulsory, and appropriate the budget for it by force back in 1870. It is really time that we started demanding an end to compulsion in education altogether, because the institution is simply getting totally out of hand and an instrument of enslavement and indoctrination. We need to withdraw consent IMO not only from this further turn of the rack, but to the whole imposition.

It is one thing to regulate the selling of food, or the driving of cars by licensing, because we know that without that, there will be unscrupulous kitchen owners that will poison us by being negligent of food hygiene, and that there will be incompetents driving dangerously unroadworthy vehicles. There is some natural justice, some compelling common good to licencing in these and similar circumstances which persuades us that it is in our best interests to keep dodgy drivers and vehicles off the road for own safety etc. But education is of an entirely different order, and is at the heart of personal meanings and purposes of life itself, and owning and directing ones own life, raising ones children in accordance with ones own personal beliefs and values. To take that away, which these proposed measures do, is simply to enslave, and rob individuals of the potential to live their own lives by those personal values and purposes. It is to enslave.

If we don't make the moral argument, and bid for self ownership of our own lives, I'm not sure what other grounds might be equally fatal for this totalitarian rule.

The least you can say about this bill is that it is treasonable, since it removes any meaningful content to the freedom that is our supposed free country, that we fought to preserve with two world wars. How much worse would it have been to simply let Hitler rule us instead, since these measures head straight towards the same restrictions on educational freedom he imposed ? It must surely be unconstitutional, and I think we should argue that it is.


Blogger Allie said...

Hmm. Interesting stuff and much with which I agree. Though this goes a bit far,
"How much worse would it have been to simply let Hitler rule us instead, since these measures head straight towards the same restrictions on educational freedom he imposed ?"

Since I'm not actually being forced into a gas chamber, I reckon it could've been a hell of a lot worse.

12:46 pm, December 01, 2009  
Anonymous Firebird said...

Had Hilter won it's possible we'd all be speeking German but I doubt in practice that this far down the road they'd still be using anything as obvious as gas chambers. In fact, given the rise and fall of the Soviet Union over the same period it's hard to predict what life would be like. An intesting mental exercise but certainly not as simple as just winding back the clock.

1:34 pm, December 01, 2009  
Anonymous Ruth J said...

No-one is being forced into gas chambers at the moment. But they weren't in 1938, either. Hitler took control of education, and banned HE, during the course of the 1930s. The Final Solution to systematically exterminate the Jews was agreed in January 1942. Securing control of education was the first step, towards making the gas-chambers possible.

I'm no expert on 20th Century European History, it's probably much more complicated than I'm suggesting, and I, too, have reservations about the overuse of Hitler comparisons. But I can say that the path Germany was on, then, and the path we are on now, include some very similar steps. That doesn't necessarily mean that we are travelling the same route, or that we will go as far, but the similarities should be monitored carefully.

1:51 pm, December 01, 2009  
Blogger Mieke said...

I really like this bit of writing, although I - personally - think it would have been even stronger if he'd left Hitler out of the equation. But that's just one sentence, the rest is powerful stuff.

I know other people have brought this up previously, but I've never actually seen any proper action or attempt to get good quality legal representation, just someone who checks the stuff that's been officially published up to now, to see if it's at all legal.

Another thing Neil said that I think is worth quoting (for which I have permission) is:
"We have alrady done more than we need to establish where truth and justice lies, we have won the arguments. All they are left with is force and propaganda, it's all they ever have with which to prevail over us."

6:04 pm, December 01, 2009  
Blogger Loubeeloo said...

I have to agree with what Ruth said.
The reason Hitler gets mentioned so often is because, as she reminds us, the home educators were one of the first minority groups to be penalized by his sanctions.
You can bet your life that if the Badlaws go through then any parents facing jail time or child custody battles with the state will also feel this comparison is not a far cry from the truth.
What is more, if the rumblings about pre-crime vetting are to be heeded, then as children of 'criminals', home educated children are likely to be marked as potential 'dissidents'... holiday to Guantanamo anyone?

"All they are left with is force and propaganda, it's all they ever have with which to prevail over us."... yep & they are playing it big time :(

7:25 pm, December 01, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a lot of it is hot air we told out LA to F off and The DCSF and they did! unless it starts up again if uncle Badman ideas become law? no meeting for us or home vists or anything June 23 2003 we started! so if most home educators just tell them to f off i thin kyour find they will!

5:11 pm, December 02, 2009  

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