They Already Take Our Children

Here’s another thought, Bonald.  They don’t yet take our newborns, but they already take our children.  It calls itself public education and its main result is a massively uneducated public. So that it doesn’t come to their taking our babies, I propose some proactive steps.

We need a Constitutional amendment that states, Congress shall pass no law concerning the establishment of education; and neither shall the legislature of any state or municipality pass any similar law.  A concomitant statutory law would state: It is legal for any citizen to provide education, either for a fee or charitably.   This would have the effect of abolishing public education while at the same time organizing the market to sort out who is or is not a teacher. These steps would greatly reduce the alienation of children from their families in their formative years.

I would favor another statute at the Federal level making it illegal for colleges and universities to domicile students.  Students who wanted or needed domiciliary arrangements while attending college or university would have to seek them in the private sector.  This would have several beneficial effects. It would greatly reduce the captive-audience phenomenon that abets indoctrination.  It would motivate fee-payers shopping for institutions to which to send those of their children who merited higher education to highlight the criterion of proximity over the criterion of status or prestige. It would therefore encourage people to send their children to nearby colleges, to and from which it would be possible to commute.  No group of people in our society has a greater need, in my estimation, of continuous contact with home and family than the undergraduate population of our colleges and universities.

My first Constitutional amendment would probably disestablish state colleges and universities. That would be good, too.

(Bonald, I first entered this as a comment in your latest thread, but on consideration it seemed too off-topic.)

21 thoughts on “They Already Take Our Children

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  3. Here’s another idea, probably slightly more effective and definitely easier to implement:

    Keep your children home. Shoot any truant officers you see. (Live somewhere with like-minded people.)


    No, I’m not actually promoting violence against agents of the State as a real solution. But the subject of people trying to steal my children is exactly the sort of thing that makes me want to hoist the black flag and burn it all down.

  4. Could a deeper problem with higher education be rooted in how it’s treated as a commodity today. Now it’s filtering into the secondary school system.

  5. The people who rail against the “commodification” of everything have commodified education. The deviation is a century old, going back to John Dewey’s “reform” of education. It probably goes back farther than that — to the invention of “public education” by the Puritans of the Salem Colony.

    • So have we gone too far past the point of no return to fix education as we know it. I wouldn’t say everything is commodefied. When education is boiled down to the best way to land a high priced job and without actually learning things students will need outside of their job it seems that purpose is to feed a certain metaphorical beast. It seems education is supposed to be more than this.

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  7. Jim, to glean some notion of how corrupt academia has become, intellectually speaking, you might spend a few minutes at the Real Peer Review website. That website simply reproduces abstracts of so-called scholarly papers by so-called scholars.

    (https://twitter.com/RealPeerReview)

    People gain tenure and promotion for writing this kind of dreck.

    There is no repairing or restoring this higher illiteracy. It can only be abolished and something new and sane built on the cleared space.

  8. So all that “burnt out” jargon sounds nice. But from my perspective it’s the never ending saga of academia wishing to have its cake and eat it too. Resting on our laurels and comforting ourselves that we, the educated and well-read, can reliably filter the good kind of awful modernism from the just awful. As long as academia wishes to laud Joyce, Beckett, and, yes C.S. Lewis and Tolkien – as just examples – apart from any consideration of an Index there will be problems. Academia is just one more manisfestation of what happens when we reject authority. Yet again, this is the ineluctable result of commandeering the “good kind” of modernists to attack modernism – a manifestly failing program. I wonder if there’s a Providential reason (in the negative sense) that, despite sophisticated libraries of antiquity devoted to the acquired wisdom of the ages, the novel as we know it is rightly considered a relatively modern art work.

    • Like music, language, logic, markets – like everything – the academy can work only insofar as it is constrained by rules, limits, custom – an Index of some sort, whether or not explicitly avowed. And there is always such an Index. These days it is PC: the Index that there is and ought to be no limit. Which of course has the effect of killing true discourse.

      But some indices are better than others; work better than others. PC is logically incoherent. So it sucks as an Index. Minds trained in the detection of incoherence can potentially see that suckage better than those that are not. Many such minds are those of professors. No one is in a better position to notice the absurdity of academic life under its Modern PC Index than an academic.

      Better the Medieval limit. Back then, men were men, women were women, and universities were universities.

      • Kristor@:

        As someone said to me thirty years ago (I omit context because it adds nothing to the point) “the only guarantee is that there are no guarantees.”

        We may say the same with regard to limits and such – ‘the only limits/rules/boundaries are that there are none,’ speaking of incoherence. Multitudes of examples of this sort of “thinking” may be had from our institutions of public “education,” but here is a recent one that came across my news feed yesterday.:

        https://m.mic.com/articles/amp/174289/this-6th-grader-broke-her-school-s-dress-code-on-purpose-to-make-a-powerful-statement

        God Bless America and all that.

      • With the mentioning of limits and jargon in this discussion, I am reminded these issues have infected our culture with words and things being given a technological character. From​ our language’s reliance on arconyms to a musician’s over reliance on technology in producing music in our current era, the academy’s insularity​ is becoming less of an anomaly among institutions today.

    • H. G. Wells considered Plato’s dialogues to be early specimens of the novel and Plato an early novelist. Quite a few actual novels survive from the Hellenistic period and the first two centuries of the Roman Empire. Petronius Arbiter’s Satyricon borrows the plot of Homer’s Odyssey and sends its two picaroon protagonists on a walking tour through the cities of the Bay of Naples. The point is to reveal the social, political, and cultural corruption of Nero’s monarchy. Lucius Apuleius, writing seventy or eighty years after Petronius, produced The Golden Ass, which combines satire with a narrative of damnation and redemption. Like Petronius, Apuleius borrows the Homeric nostos for his plot — with complications, naturally. Joyce was definitely not the first novelist to adapt Homer’s tale in a contemporary setting.

      Various Medieval prose romances anticipate the novel, as do the more realistic of the Icelandic sagas. (I might nominate Burnt Njal’s Saga as the most powerful realistic novel ever written.)

      I doubt whether anyone in my department teaches Joyce or Beckett. A recently retired part-time professor taught a course on Tolkien, but with her disappearance the course disappeared. No one teaches C.S. Lewis and those who know the name likely know it only because it is categorized by PC as belonging to one of those Christian or fascist writers — because, you know, they’e the same thing.

  9. Kristor,

    Regarding your thoughts on the Index: so true, and I’m ashamed I’m still being taught these things.

    Dr. B,

    Interesting thoughts. As both a “millennial” and an (“assistant” whatever that means) professor in academia I’m not exactly a passive observer. Shortly after my comment I stumbled into a used bookstore in NYC that had a very book on novels from Roman antiquity. I figured they were just the epic poems and tragedies converted to novel form, but it shows you at least how stupid I am. I’m much more skeptical of the current academia canon (again whatever that means and with the understanding it’s even heresy to admit such) which includes Romanticism and the rest as something the searchers for wisdom need to get back to, which was the motivation of my comment. But to your point that even that is no longer taught I suppose just shows how wrong I am

    • Dear Wood: The Romanticism of Wordsworth and Coleridge is already reactionary and traditionalist; so too the Romanticism of Lamartine and Vigny, and of Baudelaire, who considered himself (rightly) the successor of Josef DeMaistre. Hesitate and investigate before you discount Romanticism. It’s fairly easy by a Google-search to find my articles on Wordsworth and Coleridge (one or two might be here at The Orthosphere), not to mention on Baudelaire and Vigny, and I invite you to read them. I invite you especially to read Wordsworth and Coleridge themselves, including the political theory of the latter.

      Please hesitate and investigate before you discount the anti-modern moderns, as well. T.S. Eliot owed a big debt to Baudelaire. Politically William Carlos Williams was an FDR man, but culturally he was a reactionary.

      It might amuse you to know that at age 62, with thirty years of college teaching on my resume, and a stint as the CEO of a major academic association, my office is Visiting Assistant Professor at SUNY Oswego, in English, which office I have held for seventeen years.

      Please come up to Oswego in summer. I will show you around. (Sincerely, TFB)

  10. My apologies if this double posted:

    Dr. Bertonneau,

    Prior to converting to Catholicism, I drank deeply from the well of Harold Bloom. So to that extent “being reactionary” (which sounds to me like the Bloomian anxiety of influence) is something I view all the moderns did to various extent as they unfettered themselves from Dogma. It’s hard for me to see how any of that leads us anywhere but exactly where we currently find ourselves, but I will make the effort. My personal affinities are sympathetic to Baudelaire (and in some cards on the table sense Hart Crane I must admit) for at least being more honest about it all – at least much more so than Eliot who tried to (incomprehensibly in my estimation) argue for Christianity through artistic Will. Voluntarism – so wrongly associated with the Romantics – as art, par excellence. I’m not as convinced he’s an anti-modern modern. I think he’s a wicked High Modernist, but again I have a Bloom influence.

    You have given me an enjoyable reading list though, and I will delve into. I look forward to reading your work on the Romantics especially. Hesitate and investigate is wise advice, especially to someone with my temperament. Thank you for the invite upstate – I hope to take you up on it.

    • From Harold Bloom, I made the leap to Rene Girard. Please hesitate and then investigate Rene Girard.

      I too converted to the Church Universal, despite and yet also because I had previously converted from bland liberalism to Platonism — the Christianity before Christianity.

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