• Benjamin Celver

Two Roads Diverged

Our present condition, which is not unlike the moral crossroads that produced the Age of Enlightenment, is the result of ideas and social experiments that undermine individualism, freedom of thought, and freedom of economic activity. The Tyranny of [our] Good Intentions failed to protect the American form of natural-law capitalism—the only rational system capable of achieving egalitarian passions. Instead of a long and arduous task rooted in individual economic calculations, our collective wealth bought government policies that have created the world strictures of cartel capitalism, bureaucratic capitalism, and state capitalism: All in the guise of socialist policies and our desire to help others.

Now Pericles inspires us to spend more treasure to maintain this freedom called democracy. Our moral crossroad is a choice between the status quo and experience. The status quo compels a bureaucratic statism grounded in the sophistry of the 19th century French model which produced the Napoleonic Empire and the largest volunteer Army in the world. The observation of France’s egalitarian experiment and our collective experience compels an adherence to reason and principles of enlightened self-interest—principles that produced a popular belief that man can govern himself!

History and sociology declares that the egalitarian path of emotion leads to ruin while the egalitarian path of reason and experience leads to individual freedom and prosperity.

No-where in our public and private lives are the questions of principles and values of greater importance than in the status quo of education pedagogy. Pedagogy refers to the methods of instruction and ultimately the process of becoming a teacher. The stated policy of our Education Institutions is that the bureaucracy “shall not endorse or advocate a particular pedagogical approach…but shall focus on important, measurable indicators of student achievement.”

The national Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) goes on to say that even though “broad implications for instruction may be inferred from the assessment [standardized test results], NAEP does not specify how reading [or any other subject] should be taught nor does it prescribe a particular curricula approach to teaching reading [or any other subject].”

Such a stated policy should lead the federal government to a hands-off approach toward the American system of education while providing parents and educators with broad feedback to compare academic performance across the system. The stated policy implies that parents have a choice in choosing a school and pedagogy that produces the best or sought-after results—(even if that pedagogy has deleterious goals of cognitive-affective methods designed to create universal principles such as the right to an education or the Rights of Man).

The situation (of implied policy versus policy in fact) could not be further from the truth. Public education is situationally compulsory and all public education draws its pedagogy from the same sources of power: The State certifies the quality of teachers, the teacher’s union defines quality, and the institutions of higher education breed the same pedagogy.

49 million children are subjected to the same pedagogy; and parents have little choice in taking actions that accord with clear inferences made by standardized tests. Embedded deep within these sources of power is the federal government which asserts god-like control over pedagogy and curriculum through Department of Education regulations and through funding rules that govern State and local schools.

State and Federal control of the established pedagogy and curriculum standards is an abusive form of statism which destroys self-governance and pre-eminent American values.

Our education system is clearly French and Prussian and directed by the USAID. Without establishing an alternate pedagogy, we can never hope to change how our people think or take the path toward enlightened liberalism and rational equality.

"Freedom is what you do with what has been done to you"

John Paul Sartre

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