Tuesday, September 01, 2015


Education. Recently a friend posted a meme on the fb which for some reason rattled my cage. The meme featured a kid asking why he has to go to school, his mother retorts “So you don’t end up being a thich fascist twat….etc… etc…” 

Although I agree totally with the sentiment, I have serious doubts about the assumption that sending our children to participate in the ‘Education system’ as it stands is any protection against their indoctrination to fascist ideology. I asked myself, what is Education anyway? I remember as a kid I declared that I was leaving school at 16 to ‘get an education’. I admit the experiences I had after leaving school were far from academic, however I did learn some things. (possibly not the most efficient or fool safe way of learning. How do I perceive the word ‘education’? Well there’s the formal title they give it at school and then there’s the concept I had when I left school that I would actually go out and seek knowledge (OK I didn’t put much effort into that). 

I remembered talking to friends who (through their own misadventures) had spent time at Pentridge prison in Victoria, they called it The Bluestone College, a place of higher learning for career criminals. They were put there to be ‘Educated’ by the state ‘correctional system’ but the college was an unusual institution. Between the bars and official curriculum preporting rehabilitation, house of corrections style, It was well known that the Bluestone College was a place where the tacit ideology of violence and crime were expertly conveyed.

Unsure that I really understood what the word education even meant I took a punt with Google, the first definition I found was this: 

1. Noun - the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.

(Yes it was the first hit, no I am not quoting the source, it’s near enough to more reliable sources and serves the purpose of my inquiry)

I looked closely at the wording of the entry. Did the definition of the word education provide any intrinsic protection from fascist indoctrination? Taking the single sentence spat out on my computer screen at face value I'd say that education as such is the vehicle for indoctrination. 
Any process of receiving or giving systematic instruction is inherently laced with the intended purpose of the instructor. 

So back to the theory that education will protect against fascism. It seems based on an idea that Fascism is bad and Education is Good. That Education is the natural antidote to people falling for bullshit ideologies. But that's just not true. Education is not inherently good or bad. It's just a means to and end.

Thinking rationally about what education actually is I reckon that the old Bluestone College offered as valid an education as any other establishment dedicated to the task. The prison system is theoretically supposed to reform people who fall foul of the law. To Re-Educate them. I started to recall language I’d heard in movies and the news about a process of correcting the behavior of dissidents and dissenters who oppose the views and wisdom of State Authority. They called that Re-Education too. 
Back to my internet searching. Well it seems that Re-Education is quite a forceful method of Education. Using fear, pain, intimidation and brainwashing etc… to assist the student in achieving the learning outcomes. It seems ‘Education’ can come in many forms.

courtesy of genius.com

Back to the meme of the kid and the parent. I'm thinking about my children who are currently enrolled in primary education. I think about the announcements from our political leaders regarding amendments they have, and intend to make to school curriculum. The manipulation of history lessons, the denial of the Aboriginal Wars, overt nationalistic studies on the events of WWI and WWII. The normalization of military images… The suppression of agencies such as the CSIRO who have informed Australians about the state of our environment and the study of natural processes… On weighing up all these things I am convinced, that Education as such offers no protection from fascism or any other ideology! Education is a device and a tool, which has been used by the powerful subdue and convert otherwise free thinking people into compliant servants of the existing power structure. Right now it appears that the State is taking advantage of their power over school curriculum to push a fearful reactive capitalist nationalism which shames the weaker members of our society and demonizes vulnerable others. The current agenda will stifle natural inquiry! 
Regardless of the many good teachers, the curriculum has a big impact on the minds of the ‘educated’ and teachers are workers who can be easily dismissed if they fail to convey the approved messages.

Of course we can use education for what we believe are good ideals or purposes but it’s still just fixing in another person’s mind ideas we think they should have. Imagine if we were free to think?

Frankly I have very little respect for ‘Educated People’ they know too much and question too little. Personally I prefer the concept Bertrand Russell describes when he talks about thought: 

"Men fear thought more than they fear anything else on earth- more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible; thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. It sees man, a feeble speck, surrounded by unfathomable depths of silence; yet bears itself proudly, as unmoved as if it were lord of the universe. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world and the chief glory of man.

But if thought is to become the possession of the many, not the privilege of the few, we must have done with fear. It is fear that holds men back-fear lest their cherished beliefs should prove delusions, fear lest the institutions by which they live should probe harmful, fear lest they themselves should prove less worthy of respect than they have supposed themselves to be."

-Bertrand Russel
Chapter 35 of Jed McKenna's book Spiritual Warfare begins with this quote. I was listening to this on my way to work this morning and contemplating the use of Education to indoctrinate Australian society today...  Nothing like burning down the establishment starting work for the day.


David J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David J said...

And just when I thought I might be over reacting...
I got a call from Elcho Island this morning. Seems the Education department are rolling out a new curriculum of Direct Instruction in Aboriginal communities.