Friday, March 9, 2012

@IAmShour: "What do you propose?"

This post is a reply to @IAmShour in regard to our discussion regarding education and pedagogy.

@IAmShour, I am hesitant to propose anything because I believe that to make a proposal, until we are both in agreement as to the problem, would not be productive.

I have come to agree with the argument, that schools have become a pervasive institution of domination of children; additionally, I believe that the means of domination always ultimately relying on violence, while usually contenting itself with the threats of violence, is harmful to children as well as adults. Domination creates fear, fear creates anger and resentment, and anger and resentment may re-manifest as more violence.

If by 'education' we mean, an institution of domination, which tells children, where they should be, what they should be doing, what they should be learning, and backs any of its demands upon the threat of punishment, such an institution cannot cure social-ills, it is itself a manifestation of a social-ill.

We could no more reform such an institution of domination, than we could reform the institution of slavery, by proposing to give the slaves more free-time, or to permit them to keep gardens and sell the produce.

If we are in agreement that an institution of domination is unethical, that it is immoral, then no reform would be possible.

In my experience, at this point in the argument, many people ask, "Well, then what do you propose?" and I have become cautious about replying immediately. I have come to believe, when people ask this question, they ask it out of fear or desperation. As we are having our discussion via text, I do not know the sense in which you ask the question, but if you examine your own state-of-mind and discover that there is fear there lurking, I would like to extend empathy to you; it is natural to feel fear when our world is turned upside down, it is natural to feel fear when perhaps someone suggests that what we are doing is perhaps not the right thing to do; I felt fear when I first encountered these arguments, as I had based my livelihood on teaching as a profession of employment.

I am not anyone else's judge. But all I can say, is that I believe that children have the same human-rights as any adult and it is my ethical duty/obligation not to dominate others. I do not believe that I or anyone else, has the right to make demands on another person, without their consent. I wish for a world in which all human interactions are voluntary interactions. I wish for a world where children are not forced to attend a school, and then forced again to learn what the authorities tell them that they should learn, and where their parents are not extorted to pay for the 'services' of those same authorities.

Therefore, if my proposal is to mean anything, if we are in agreement that institutions of domination are unethical, then I would propose that we:

"Resolve to serve no more, and at once you are free." ~Etienne de la Boetie

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