Abducting the Children

“All monopolies are detestable, but the worst of all is the monopoly of education.” 

M. Frederic Bastiat, Essays in Political Economy (1859).

“The purpose of the formation of this party was to get control of the power of the State, so as to be able to use it for establishing our system of schools.”

Orestes Augustus Brownson, The Convert (1857)

You have no doubt noticed the ructions over what is being taught in the public schools, most especially over what children are being taught about race, sex, and the moral respectability of the United States in the first 245 years of its existence. The three roots of these ructions are, the growing diversity of the American public, the detestable monopoly of public education, and the messianic madness with which many educators are enthused.

When Bastiat said that the monopoly of education is the worst monopoly, he was particularly deploring the fact that the French schools of his day fed students almost exclusively Roman authors, and thereby indoctrinated French students with the cruel and predatory ethos of ancient Rome.  One does not have to agree with Bastiat about Roman authors to see his point about the evils of an educational monopoly.  One hundred and fifty years later, both the classical and liberal curricula are gone, but the detestable educational monopoly remains.  Indeed, as the current ructions reveal, the educational monopoly has grown more nakedly monopolistic in providing unwanted services rudely and at high cost.

Orestes Brownson (1803-1876) tells us that all of this was planned about two hundred years ago, by the Owenites, a club of socialist free-thinkers that was based in New York City.  Brownson was drawn into this club by its exoteric program of philanthropy, and was briefly part of its inner circle; but he was speedily disgusted and left the Owenites when he discovered the esoteric program behind the philanthropic mask.

If you have never heard of Brownson, you should not feel embarrassed, since his memory has been very nearly erased by the educational monopoly.  But Brownson was in his day one of this nation’s foremost public intellectuals.  His many articles in Brownson’s Quarterly Review (1838-1842, 1844-1864) analyzed the inanities of his day; his novel The Spirit Rapper (1854) none too gently suggested that these ideas originated in a demonic conspiracy; and his memoir The Convert (1857) explained his spiritual journey from Calvinist, to socialist free-thinker, to transcendentalist, to Roman Catholic.

The exoteric program of the Owenites was philanthropic but their esoteric program was revolutionary.  The exoteric program was to lure students into public schools with a promise of “free” education; the esoteric program was to use these public schools to counteract, discredit, and nullify the moral influence of parents and churches.  The Owenites had read Plato and knew that a revolution must capture the minds of the rising generation by exercising a monopoly over their education.

“The great measure on which Fanny [Wright] and her friends relied for ultimate success was the system of public schools, which . . . were to include the maintenance, as well as the instruction and education of all the children in the State.  These schools were intended to deprive, as well as to relieve, parents of all care and responsibility for their children after a year or two of age.

The trick was to very loudly advertise the costs and responsibilities of which parents would be relieved, and at the same time very deftly hide the control of which  parents would consequently be deprived.   Public schools would be sold as a means to “liberate the parents” but then employed “to train up their children in the way they should go.”

“The aim was, on the one hand, to relieve marriage of its burdens . . . and, on the other, to provide for bringing up children . . . free from superstition, all belief in God and immorality . . . and make them look upon this life as their only life, this earth as their only home, and the promotion of their earthly interest and enjoyments as their only end.”

In other words, public education was sold to parents as a labor-saving device, but then actually functioned to propagate what a later age called secular humanism.  And the Owenites had boundless confidence in the power of public education to shape these abducted children into perfect little secular humanists because Locke and  Condillac had persuaded them that the mind was “a mere tabla rasa, a blank sheet, with simply the capacity of receiving the characters which may be written on it.”

“Our theory was, that the child is passive in the hands of the educator, and may be molded as clay in the hands of the potter.”

To implement their program of revolutionary indoctrination through public education, the Owenites formed an underground conspiracy “very much on the plan of the Carbonari of Europe.”

“The members of this secret society were to avail themselves of all the means in their power . . . to form public opinion in favor of education by the State at the public expense . . .”

Brownson left the Owenites before this conspiracy was fully organized, so he could not say how wide the web had been woven.  The Owenites also organized the “ultra-democratic” Working Man’s Party as a means to “secure the adoption of our educational system” while “keeping the more unpopular features of our plan as far in the background as possible.”  Working parents were told that public schools would educate their children “for free,” but the plan in the background was to undermine the authority of those parents and their churches, and to put public educators and public schools in their place.  This plan in the background finally disgusted Brownson, who broke with the Owenites and began to grope his way back to Christian faith.

“I was a husband and a father, and did not altogether relish the idea of breaking up the family, and regarding my children as belonging to the State rather than to me . . . . After all, what could these schools do for our children? They would bring them up to be rational, it was said; that is, free from superstition, free for religious prejudices, ignorant of all morality resting for its foundation on belief in God . . . . Suppose the schools to fulfill these expectations, they will turn out our children only well-trained animals—a sort of learned pigs.”

The Owenites plan was to lure all American children into “free” public schools where public educators would subtly relieve those children of the archaic prejudice that they had a soul.  Their modern successors plan to lock all American children in public schools and relieve them of the archaic prejudice that they have a sex, a race, or a history worthy of anything but repudiation and shame.

15 thoughts on “Abducting the Children

  1. I am a ‘conflicted soul.’ The descriptive, “Blue Devil” carries conflicting emotions for me. My HS alma mater’s maskot is, and has been for many decades, a “Blue Devil.” Meanwhile, and as you might know, the earliest reference to “blue devils” I have been able to trace back is from 17 year-old Emma LeConte’s Columbia, S.C. “civil war” memoirs, referring to the “Blue Devils” in Sherman’s army who burned the city of Columbia to the ground. With malice aforethought.

    At one time – 1910s – 1920s – our (then) fledgling little football team were called “The Golden Eleven.” Somewhere along the line, however, it was renamed “Blue Devils.” Whether this was in acknowledgment of Sherman’s army’s “blue devilry” unleashed on the city of Columbia (et al) or not, I would not know. Although I do have my suspicions.

    What has any of this to do with the post, you might be asking. Well, for one, the University of Oklahoma (OU) started out as a teacher college dedicated primarily to preparing its students to be “common school” educators. 2nd, what were once referred to in common parlance as “common schools” are now referred to as “public schools.” And, 3rd, I would really love to know where our maskot comes from and why. That we are mostly descended from dedicated Confederates serves to answer those questions for the most part.

    • The sports teams from my high school in western New York were called the Blue Devils, and I still have somewhere in my possession some varsity letters to prove I was a Brockport blue devil myself. Before reading your post I had once or twice wondered at the casual use of the word devils to describe high school athletes, but I never thought much about the blue. I think I had a vague idea that it might distinguish Brockport athletes from differently colored devils from other schools in the county. This theory was not embarrassed by the fact that no other school in the county called its athletes devils.

      I find that the phrase “blue devil” was used to denote policemen before 1860, but the examples I’ve found were from England. It seems that it was also used to denote what we might call melancholy or “the blues.” So your construction is as plausible as any. Giving a free rein to our imagination, we might speculate that a blue devil brings evil in a manner that is not so obvious as a red devil.

  2. I am genuinely puzzled as to what motivates people like these Owenites as I am by leftists in general. One can say it is distorted idealism but I am always left with the sense that it must really be a wrongly oriented will and that, deep down,there is a hatred of the true good and resentment that they feel themselves as they are to be unworthy of it. So they try to destroy it. Then they becomes pawns for the diabolical.

    .What I mean is that it is not just wrong thinking but bad motivation that lies behind all their actions..

    • They promise liberation, but always at the price of submission. And deviousness seems always to play a part. That’s why I used the word abduction in my title, rather than induction.

    • My theory is it’s a religious impulse, which we all seem to have. So if we’re not worshipping God, we’re worshipping egalitarianism, Utopia, etc. The Christians prevailed over the pagan Empire through implacable machinations and the Left does the same.

      Now I have some sense how a devout pagan, soldier-citizen in Antiquity must have felt, watching the one God drive out his beloved many Gods. I’ve lived long enough to see the anti-God drive out the one God.

  3. “Bringing up children . . . free from superstition, all belief in God and immorality . . . and make them look upon this life as their only life, this earth as their only home, and the promotion of their earthly interest and enjoyments as their only end.” How utterly demonic! God have mercy on our souls.

    • They are all from The Convert, which is probably the best introduction to Brownson and is certainly a good guide to early nineteenth-century thought. Brownson tried out just about everything, so he knew these doctrines from the inside. He wrote The Convert about ten years after he left the Owenite inner circle, so the memories were fresh but any personal rancors would have cooled.

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