When people hear that my wife and I never sent our daughter, Elyssa, to
the indoctrination camps (also known as "schools"), most people want to
know what we did instead of school. The answer is: from the day she was
born, we treated her as a person, instead of as a machine in need of
programming, or a slave in need of training. Of course, just after birth,
a child knows almost nothing, and can do almost nothing. Every baby is an
ignorant, helpless person, but is a person nonetheless.
We also accepted that Elyssa was never our person, but her own person.
Since we are responsible for her existence, we act as temporary
caretakers, but her life never belonged to us. She is not a pet, and what
she believes and what she does with her life is not our decision to make.
Of course, like all parents, we hoped she would turn out to be a decent
person, that she would be kind, intelligent and talented, and so on. But
we did not assume we had to make her into something, but instead saw it as
our job to help her become whatever she wanted to become.
Now, I won't pretend that we can or should be neutral. We try to instill
in her what we believe to be good values. But we do not follow the usual
template of, "Believe this, and do that, because we tell you to, and
because we are authority." If we wanted to simply create a clone of
ourselves, easy to control and program however we see fit, we would have
purchased a robot, instead of having a child. To teach a child blind
obedience is to teach a child to forsake the thing which makes her human:
My wife and I have both gone through the uncomfortable, existentially
disturbing process of deprogramming ourselves from the authoritarian
indoctrination we were both subjected to. No, we were not put through any
special, unusual, cult-like brainwashing rituals. We were only put through
the accepted, ubiquitous cult-like brainwashing rituals known as "school."
Our parents apparently fell for the lie that every human being needs years
of being institutionalized and indoctrinated, so that he can be trained to
be a good citizen and a conforming member of the collective. So they sent
us to school, where we learned that blind obedience is a virtue, and that
we did not own ourselves, and that we were--and would always be, and
should always be--the obedient and compliant subjects of a thing called
"authority" (whether in the form of parents, schools, or "government").
And it took a lot of time and effort for us to unlearn that lie.
In contrast, we never raised Elyssa to be anyone's puppet. She doesn't
belong to us, and she certainly does not belong to any collective, any
political entity, or anyone or anything else. We did not baptize her into
a faith she could not possibly understand, and we did not teach her to
pledge allegiance to any political regime. In other words, we did not
start her life by plugging her into the Matrix, the way the vast majority
of parents do. Most parents think it's perfectly reasonable and moral to
institutionalize their children for years and years, surrendering their
offspring to giant indoctrination centers. In fact, most parents cannot
imagine doing otherwise; to be blunt, they cannot imagine raising their
own children. At the risk of offending almost everyone (which is a hobby
of mine), about the worst thing parents can do is send their children to
school. And no, I'm not joking.
I won't bother completely rehashing in detail what "education" really
teaches, as I outline in my book, "The Most Dangerous Superstition," and
as John Taylor Gatto outlines better and more thoroughly in his books. In
short, what passes for an "education" system in this country does what it
was designed to do when it was modeled after the Prussian indoctrination
system: manufacture a population of unthinking, easily controlled, blindly
obedient human puppets.
Whatever language and math skills children might happen to pick up in
school are trivial compared to the real message of mainstream "education,"
which is that a good person is an obedience, subservient person. The
psychological experiments done by Stanley Milgram demonstrate, in
terrifying detail, just how effective the accepted system of authoritarian
programming is. In short, Milgram's experiments showed that most people
who have been "educated" in the commonly accepted manner will, at the
behest of a perceived "authority," inflict pain and suffering upon a
complete stranger. Needless to say, that is precisely the kind of
"citizen" that tyrants love. And if that's what you want your children to
grow up to be, by all means, turn them over to the nearest indoctrination
camp to be molded into unthinking little conformist fascists.
One of the best compliments I ever heard about our daughter, Elyssa, was
when the parent of one of her friends said to us that Elyssa seemed to
have a "problem with authority." Outstanding! So do I. So do all sane
people, even if we're still a tiny minority. It would be interesting to
see the Milgram experiments repeated among people who were raised by
anarchists. I can just picture Elyssa, being told to inflict pain on a
complete stranger, not only immediately refusing to do so, but wondering
why on earth anyone would think she would even consider obeying such an
(I must confess that the way we have raised Elyssa may have deprived her
of partaking fully in the time-honored tradition of teenage rebellion.
After all, what exactly would it look like if a teenager tried to rebel
against anarchist parents? Parent: "Here's what I think, but ultimately
you have to follow your own conscience and judgment." Child: "No! I'm
going to blindly obey you without thinking!" Hmmm.)
I cannot imagine what the world would look like to someone who was not
trained into authority-worship since birth. And I suspect that Elyssa
cannot imagine what the world looks like to all the people who actually
believe that they have an obligation to obey the god-complex windbags that
infest Washington, DC. Having been raised outside of the Matrix, I don't
think she'll ever really know what it is like to have the authoritarian
slave mentality that everyone in my generation, and many generations
before, had hammered into our heads for most of our lives. I literally
don't think she can ever entirely comprehend what it was like to really
and truly believe that a magical thing called "government" can actually
bestow upon some human beings the right to rule over others.
And if our daughter never understands why anyone would ever believe
anything so destructive and insane, that's just fine with me.