The Government’s War on Children

The Government’s War on Children
Posted by CN Staff on November 19, 2003 at 07:05:33 PT
By Sheldon Richman
Source: Freedom Daily 
Goose Creek, S.C. recently was the scene of a horrific event spotlighting two government institutions: schools and the war on drug users. On a quiet day early in November a squadron of policemen stormed into Stratford High School, automatic pistols and shotguns drawn. They ordered the students to the floor and forcibly placed some there themselves. Then the police searched for drugs. They found none.
(Had they found Ritalin it wouldn’t have counted. That’s an approved drug, administered by compulsion when “necessary.”) Police and school officials later explained that they conducted the raid, which was captured by a security video camera, because marijuana and pills had allegedly been bought and sold by students previously. This justified an armed invasion? School principal George McCrackin said he’d use “any means” to keep his school “clean.” In television interviews several parents angrily pointed out that a tragedy could easily have occurred. The image of belligerent cops pointing loaded guns at children was not what they had in mind when they sent their kids off to school that day. Yet we really shouldn’t be surprised. Concern about the schools’ inability to teach reading and arithmetic has overshadowed the fact that those schools were not set up mainly for that purpose. Before there were “public schools” literacy and numeracy were high and growing. The government set up schools to accomplish something that the flourishing private-school market wouldn’t do: indoctrinate children so that they would become pliant subjects of the state. As education historian Ellwood Cubberly wrote approvingly in 1919, “Only a system of state-controlled schools can be free to teach whatever the welfare of the State may demand.” Or as the 19th-century sociologist Edward Ross said, the job of schools is to gather “little plastic lumps of human dough from private households and shape them on the social kneadingboard.” Or as the U.S. Bureau of Education put it in 1914, “The public schools exist primarily for the benefit of the State rather than for the benefit of the individual.” That’s why “socialization” was always the first objective of government school systems. Academic subjects were a distant second. “Socialization” has two meanings. The benign sense denotes teaching children social skills so they can get along with others at work and play. The malignant sense means instilling collectivism in children so they will see themselves not as autonomous individuals, but rather as more or less identical worker bees serving the Nation. The latter sense, promoted last century by education philosopher John Dewey, directly conflicts with America’s founding tradition of individualism and freedom. Such collectivism sometimes becomes the overt theme of presidential campaigns, such as John McCain’s in 2000 and Wesley Clark’s in 2003. Given this mission — the conditioning of each child to believe his own life is less important that the Nation — the raid in Goose Creek is no surprise at all. For decades the government has conducted a ruthless war against the distributors and users of certain drugs (but not others). Like the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s, this war has no basis in pharmacology; outlawed drugs are no less capable of moderate and responsible use than scotch or bourbon. Even former drug czar William Bennett admits that most users of illegal drugs are not addicts. (The quotation is in Jacob Sullum’s book Saying Yes.) What counts with any substance is the sense of responsibility in the individual using it. We don’t need prohibition aimed at adults to prevent children from using drugs, just as we don’t need it to prevent children from drinking. In fact, prohibition encourages drug use because forbidden fruit is the most tempting. Thus the “war on drugs” is an exercise in authoritarianism that has nothing to do with the welfare of the American people. Of course it is a big part of the school curriculum: schooling’s main purpose is to mold children into Good Citizens who will obey the state without question. What better way to teach that lesson than to have gun-pointing cops dropping in at the schools every now and then? Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation, author of Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State, and editor of Ideas on Liberty magazine. Source: Future of Freedom Foundation (VA)Author: Sheldon RichmanPublished: November 19, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Future of Freedom FoundationContact:  fff fff.orgWebsite: Articles:Answers Elusive in School Raid Raid Capturing National Attention Raid Raises Questions About Drug War
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Comment #14 posted by kaptinemo on November 20, 2003 at 08:05:09 PT:
A 'tipping point' about to pitch over
It's been noted here for years that real change in the War on (Some) Drugs will only occur when the Middle Class has it's children threatened by the laws originally meant to keep 'those people' in line. And only then.Well, it's happening. Right before our eyes. All those parents who acquiesced to each DrugWar turn of the screw with regards to surrendering theirs and their childen's civil liberties to 'protect' them from drugs have gotten a taste of what their laziness and misplaced trust has bought them. They've learned that Officer Friendly of the DARE courses is in reality just showing the "Doctor Jekyll" side. The "Mr. Hyde" is a frothing, snarling guard dog gone loco and threatening their precious kiddies. And they don't like it one bit.Stratford could be the beginning of the end, and the antis are terrified of it's well they should be.
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Comment #13 posted by darwin on November 19, 2003 at 12:33:33 PT
Liberal Libertarians
Sounds like my stance. Sounds like a viable party platform too. Unfortunately, third party centrists are rare and ussually get squeezed out by the evil twins.
I think most Greens, Libertarians, Independants, and other 3rd party voters vote the way they do as a protest vote and not because they want no public schools (on the right) or socialism (on the left). But with no viable third party allowed in the middle, what else can you do? 
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Comment #12 posted by BigDawg on November 19, 2003 at 11:55:50 PT
Welcome to the world of liberal libertarians ;-)
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Comment #11 posted by observer on November 19, 2003 at 11:24:32 PT
Obedient Cannon Fodder
I think that asserting that few would read, were it not for the government is false. Rather, the opposite is the case. Mass illiteracy is the result of government schools. I think it is a false dilemma to say that either government forced schooling must teach kids to read, or else kids would not learn to read. I also don't think that because crack addicted parents exist, that existence of crack addicts therefore indicates public (government) schools are all the more recommended. If government forced schooling could eliminate illiteracy, it would have done so long ago.The article accurately portrays government schools for what they are: not places to better the individual (though that may happen sometimes), but instead government schools exist to instill obedience to government. Government ("public") schools exist to make kids into good, obedient cannon fodder and pliant worker-bees.''Before government schooling began in this country, literacy rates were much higher than today. During the nineteenth century, professional educators promoted the idea of state schooling, primarily to insulate themselves from parental control. Education has declined ever since. ... Today, nearly one of four young people leaving high school is functionally illiterate. Universities find incoming freshmen needing remedial training in reading, writing, and critical analysis. Poor and minority children suffer most. Illiteracy in ghetto schools approaches 40%.'' also, "Dumbing Us Down," by John Taylor Gatto John Taylor Gatto speak, here: also: Making Cannon Fodder
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Comment #10 posted by E_Johnson on November 19, 2003 at 11:22:28 PT
Scientists have socialist leanings 
I am very torn politically by ptohibition.I could be a Libertarian if it weren't for the public school thing. I'm arguing in my mind with Libertarianism but I am grateful for its existence all the same.Being trained in science, I have a mindset that worships public schooling. I used to know what my politics are but marijuana prohibition has messed with everything.
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Comment #9 posted by E_Johnson on November 19, 2003 at 11:18:36 PT
This is what someone asked me the other day
I have a science web site. It's very educational. Last week I got a letter from someone home schooling her child, asking me to teach her some math and science so that she could do a better job teaching her child.I did not know what to say, so I haven't answered.It would take at least two years of instruction to bring her up to speed with the math and science background to make her qualified to be teaching her child NOW.I could say -- take out your child's batteries, put the child in the closet, and enroll in math and science courses in your local public community college for the next two years. Then come home, take your child out of the closet, put the batteries back in, and resume teaching.Or I could say -- give up the idea that you are a fit teacher for your child merely because you expelled this living being from your womb.Enroll the kid in a school where people who are qualified to teach math and science are working. Where they have science labs filled with samples and specimens and multimedia course materials. Where they have special math programs developed through research, and where they have teachers who have been fighting the battle to get children to care about the result of adding one plus one for years and years and have a few tricks up their sleeves.I haven't answered, because I really don't know what to tell her.People in math and science tend to love public education because that's the only way that we see to keep the level of science and math ability in the public from eroding to the point where we cannot sustain American science.Private schools do a good job at math but tend not to do a good job at science. All of the best scientists in America have come from public schools.You can't teach science in one on one instruction. You need a lab and you need a group of kids to engage in supporting or challenging each others' observations.The important thing about science is that results have to be reproducible, and they have to withstand the challenges of a **community** of skeptics.That's why science is best taught to groups of kids. Science is not an individual enlightenment, science is inherently a communal public activity and it is best taught in a communal public setting.So people in science tend to be worried about home schooling, because it's really not a good way to learn science at all. Even if the parents are science literate themselves.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on November 19, 2003 at 11:13:57 PT
A Tragic Article
Man Chokes to Death on Pot he Tried to Hide from PoliceBy Ben Tinsley, Star-Telegram Staff WriterNovember 19, 2003A 24-year-old Ponder man choked to death on a bag of marijuana he stuffed down his throat in an apparent attempt to hide it from Corinth police officers early Wednesday.Corinth police officers said they had no idea Nickolas Sandoval was in possession of a drug when they stopped to help him fix his flat tire in the 5900 block of northbound Interstate 35E in Corinth, Cpl. Frank Lott said."It started out as a welfare concern -- it looked like he was attempting to change his tire on his Ford Ranger," Lott said. "But then he started doing the entire choking, grabbing throat, kind of thing. ... Officers went from 'Oh, hey, here is someone with a flat tire' to 'Hey, this guy is choking.'"Officers noticed a plastic bag lodged in the man's throat, but it was too far down for them to extract."The ambulance arrived and they had to use some kind of medical tool," Lott said. "The officers had worked on him using the Heimlich until the EMS arrived and took over. EMS removed the lodged article and he was taken to the hospital."Sandoval was pronounced dead in the emergency room of Denton Regional Medical Center about 3:30 a.m., said Linda Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office. The cause of death has been ruled as "asphyxiation due to aspiration of plastic bag," she said.Sandoval had been convicted in Denton County of multiple counts of possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor, between September 1999 and December 2001, court records show. He pleaded guilty to the charge in September 1999 and received a deferred adjudication sentence after 12 months of probation.In August 2000, he pleaded no contest to another possession of marijuana charge and was sentenced 40 days in jail. Then, in December 2001, he was convicted of possession of marijuana and sentenced to 95 days in jail. Also in December 2001, he pleaded guilty to a Class B misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to another 95 days in jail.Neither Denton attorney Cary Piel, who represented Sandoval in 2001, nor Denton attorney Steven T. Burgess, who represented Sandoval in 1999 and 2000, could recall much about his cases.Sandoval's family could not be located to comment Wednesday.Corinth authorities are still trying to piece together details of the incident and said the amount of marijuana was undetermined by midday. But Lott said it was a "sizeable amount," and the bag that contained the marijuana was the "standard lunch bag type."
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on November 19, 2003 at 11:03:55 PT
If most Libertarians are rich white men, fine. So be it. We'll need all the allies we can get to end the WOD. We'll put 'em together with the Greens and have 'em holding hands and singing come-by-ya together if need be.Most of the people in the cannabis reform movement are hippie types that think it's a big statement to have long hair, wear ugly clothes, and shout obnoxiously and I don't care for that any more than I do for the rich white guys. I think it's possible to still be compassionate and want poor minorities to be educated and still be Libertarian. I just don't want the evil, imcompetent, blood-sucking lawyers, a.k.a the "political class" to take my money & piss it all away while running the education system into the ground. Something's gone horribly wrong when people go to school till they're 22 and still can't find a way to earn a living.
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Comment #6 posted by Jose Melendez on November 19, 2003 at 10:35:47 PT
tell newshour now!
Your view of how you define a terrorist:They say they are very interested to hear from us, Email the bbc radio show to answer the question:Is there a universally acceptable definition of terrorism or is it a hopelessly political issue which is impossible to resolve to everyones satisfaction?see also:
BBC Newshour: What defines terrorism?
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Comment #5 posted by E_Johnson on November 19, 2003 at 10:19:20 PT
The alternative is mass illiteracy
The only reason any intellectual in this country has a job at all is because we have created an intellectual economy, which depends on mass education.I don't see how mass education is possible without public funding for public schools.I think that the LIbertarian ideals of education are ideal for the typical Libertarian family -- which consists of two white people from a wealthy background, the man with a highly paid position in a think tank, and the woman with an expensive college degree that she has vowed to use only for the purpose of educating her own children.In that kind of family, no you don't need public school. In the family where the mother is a crack addict and the father is gone -- tell me please how home schooling is going to work.And sure, the crack addict mom is going to give up a year of crack to pay for a private school for her child.Right. Uh huh. Sure.
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Comment #4 posted by Virgil on November 19, 2003 at 10:07:07 PT
Monopolistic capitalism
Communism in the Soviet Union morphed into totalitarian communism. In the USA we see capitalism morphing into monopolistic capitalism. The government is quick to say communism was evil using the totalitarian form but praises capitalism while ignoring it has morphed into a war-mongering debt machine in its monopolistic form.The House passed the Energy Bill that shows what the present conditions beget. It is an absolutely sickening piece of work and it passes with big numbers and no media scrutiny. All that is left is to make a bankruptcy bill that all but restores slavery and has no limit on usery or bounced check fees or late payments. Do not have a debtors prison but make being broke a terrible situation and force people into low paying jobs working 50 hours a week and take away their overtime as in the totally mislabeled "Family Leave Flexibility Act." Patriot Act 2 met so much resistance it is now being implimented in small fragments as small as a paragraph in appropriation bills. The Nazis have taken over and at least if you are fighting on the cannabis front, they are engaged.There are too many people to be represented by two parties. The war will not be won until the Largest Minority Rule is history. Maybe the patriots of freedom can push back the Nazis and weaken them so that their ways can be destroyed. They have a weak position on cannabis but it will be hard with such a unified force everywhere. It is critical to a police state and proof that reason and right cannot defeat force and power.Heil traitors.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on November 19, 2003 at 09:28:51 PT
thanks Kappy
You ever-so-eloquently articulated my thought: the whole public school system prepares youth to serve The Man and not much else. It prepares you for a life of making someone else rich.The public school issue sheds light on an interesting phenomenon: people are programmed nowadays to evaluate the dogma of a policy rather than its results. For instance, most people still think drugs should be kept illegal, because the INTENT of this policy is to lower drug abuse.  However, every single evaluation measure shows that this policy has presided over an EXPLOSION of drug use and violence across America.With schools, the whole idea of PUBLIC schools was to provide good education to the poor, ignorant masses - public schools were to be the vehicle that lifts the lower classes up out of poverty.But looks what's actually happened - public schools serving poor minorities are horrible, and the ones out in rich affluent communties are outstanding.  In my city, sending your kids to the public schools is tantamount to neglect and abuse. People will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid sending their kids to the schools because the quality of education is pathetic. Middle class parents have to work furiously at two careers to afford their mortgage in a town that actually has decent schools. Now, who does that benefit? The Man - the rich elite that profit the most from Capitalism.The system has evolved into exactly the opposite of it's original intent - it is serving to create a permanent underclass and a new aristocracy. But those of us against public schools are whacko-Libertarians. Lunatics! That's right, keep repeating until all other thoughts fade away.....
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 19, 2003 at 09:25:48 PT
News Article from Snipped Source
Drug Czar Backs Autry on Student Drug-Testing By Kerri Ginis, The Fresno BeeWednesday, November 19, 2003 
The nation's drug czar is lending his support to Mayor Alan Autry's continued fight for random drug-testing in schools.
John P. Walters, director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, met with Autry in the mayor's Fresno office Tuesday afternoon for a frank discussion of student drug-testing -- a prevention strategy touted by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy."It's an issue that we believe is fundamental and can change the nature of the drug problem for generations to come," Walters said. "We're looking for people that have the kind of leadership and foresight [Autry] has to take this on."In his first visit to the central San Joaquin Valley, Walters chose to meet with Autry after reading a newspaper clipping about his State of the City address in May in which Autry called on local school districts to randomly test their students for drug use.Walters also briefly met with officials from the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area to discuss ways to combat methamphetamine and marijuana in the Valley.Drug-testing in schools has become more widespread since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June 2002 broadened the authority of public schools to test students for illegal drugs, Walters said.The ruling allows schools to test students participating in extracurricular activities, in addition to student-athletes. Autry has not limited his proposal to students participating in sports or other school activities."There is a moral obligation to pursue this," Autry said. "It's a health issue."Fresno Unified School District does not subject its athletes to drug-testing, and officials have not made any move toward random drug-testing.Opponents consider such testing an invasion of privacy.Richard Johanson, president of the Fresno Unified School District Governing Board, said he does not see a reason to test Fresno students for drugs.
 Snipped:Complete Article:
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on November 19, 2003 at 07:42:22 PT:
Several nails have migraines
Because the author has pretty much covered much of the relevent issues. 1) Schools as de facto prisons where kids are prepped for their lives as corporate fungibles rather than rationally educated, critically thinking citizens. 2) Acclimatizing of those future corporate tools to a 'the boss is always right!' social culture in which their rights are abrogated at a whim, with no recourse.3) Providing examples to those who threaten non-conformity with the effects of such non-compliance ("Assume the position, little girl!" shouts pistol-waving, adrenaline tripping cop, "I'm here to save you from drugs!" as he shoves her to the floor, and wrenches her arms behind her back for the plastic cuffs.)Yepper, American public school systems generally are more 'socialy oriented' than educationally...and this is only latest of the sadly predictable results.All that modern public school was ever good for.
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