Column #30, posted January 26, 2007

Never Discussed

I was having dinner last night with a couple who were telling me about the wonderful school their granddaughter went to. I said it wasn’t so wonderful and they were shocked. What did I know about that school? Nothing. I was just listening to what they had been saying.

They were excited that their granddaughter knew songs from Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza and discussed with them the attributes of all these traditions. What about the atheist tradition I asked? Did she learn about that as a possibility?

No, of course not they said.

But here is the point. The people I was dining with are atheists and quite vocal about it. Yet they accepted without question that their point of view would never even be brought up.

We are all so complacent about education that we easily accept that it is actually a place for indoctrination, even when we don’t agree with anything that is being said.

Here are some other things that are never discussed.

Democracy may not actually be working in the U.S. Have you ever noticed that our presidential choices are nearly always between very wealthy men who come from a long line of patricians? Are Bush, Gore, and Kerry representative of the general population? Never discussed.

The U.S. is a very warlike nation. Have you ever noticed how happily we jump into wars in far off regions of the world? Should we have been in World Wars I or II? Korea? Never discussed.

Keeping drugs illegal supports an enormous number of criminals. If drugs were made legal how much less crime would there be? Never discussed.
Please do not write to me about these issues. I am simply pointing out that school is a place of indoctrination and that points of view that do not support the standard orthodoxy are never discussed. We readily accept that these points of view, and many others, should never be mentioned in school because no one really sees school as a place where children learn to think for themselves.

That’s why there is such a fuss about teaching evolution. The fuss is about whose indoctrination will win. The fuss should be about letting children learn to evaluate evidence and come to their own conclusions, But that would mean there wasn’t a right answer and schools always know the right answer. Wrong answers are never discussed.

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