Why Public Schools and the Mainstream Media Dumb Us Down
“Resist much, obey little; Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved; Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, of this earth, ever afterward resumes its liberty.” (Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass)
These were the words of caution which the great poet Walter Whitman offered to his fellow Americans. For Whitman recognized that crucial to a free and flourishing society are men and women who are willing to question, and even resist authority when necessary. But today very few of us live by the ideal espoused by Whitman, rather blind obedience is the norm. We have become populations of sheep, easily to be herded into the chains of tyranny.
But what has led those of us in the West to largely shun the advice of Whitman? In this essay we will examine two institutions that have played an integral role in the breeding of a passive citizenry – the compulsory state-run education system, which in North America is called the public school system, and the mainstream media.
Public schooling is viewed as one of the shining lights of the modern Western world. Who could question the value of an institution that provides free and compulsory education for all? But as with many institutions of our day the textbook picture of how the institution should work, greatly diverges from the reality of how it does work. If public schools taught individuals how to think, if they promoted intellectual curiosity and produced citizens healthy in body and mind, then few would question their value. But beneath the veneer presented by the bureaucrats that run this institution, a darker reality emerges. Or as John Taylor Gatto, a former teacher, turned one of public schooling’s greatest critics, writes: