Dan Popp
Separation of school and state
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By Dan Popp
November 15, 2015

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow. They'll learn much more than I'll ever know. – "What a Wonderful World" (lyrics by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss)

When Christians came to this continent, they built schools. That's what Christians do, you know. Follow any missionary into any remote area and you'll find the gospel, clean water and a new, if crude, school building. Contrary to popular misconception, Christians are pro-knowledge.

So Christians in the New World did their usual light-shining thing, including building institutions of higher learning. All of the most ancient colleges and universities in this land – including the two that President Obama attended – were started by believers.

But somewhere along the way, somebody had a better idea. Let's put our force institution – the folks who run the jails and the army – in charge of the schools!

What do you suppose happened then? Why, knock me over with a feather, what happened was the same thing that always happens when government exceeds its divine mandate to keep the peace and punish the wicked – things went to hell. Prices went up even as the product degraded into garbage. Universities were transformed from places where students expected and even wanted to be exposed to diverse ideas, to places where they must be shielded from ideas. And most wonderful of all, no matter how bad things get at our government universities, the taxpayer still gets the full bill. Sorry, No Refunds, No Exchanges. Property owners in Missouri: How do you like your state-run Higher Ed now?

This is, as I say, not a coincidence. When the civil authority takes over healthcare distribution, prices go up as quality and availability go down. When government wedges its way into unemployment insurance, tens of millions become unemployed – and stay unemployed. When Big Brother plays church, tens of trillions of dollars are diverted for the alleged purpose of eliminating poverty, but there are more poor people than ever.

So, the Theatre of the Absurd that's playing out at our no-longer-Christian, no-longer-schools was totally predictable. Louis Armstrong was wrong in the Sixties and he's wrong now. We hear babies cry, but we do not watch them grow. They will not learn much of anything beyond how to whine over what other people have. A Bachelor of Arts holder today could not pass a test for 8th graders administered a century-and-a-half ago.

My question is, when will American property owners, who support these factories of infantalization and ignorantification – say "Enough?" When will we see that, gooey feelings aside, the experiment in government knowledge-planting has failed? Will some visionary, perhaps even a 2016 Presidential candidate, be bold enough to utter the obvious: that schools run by churches and parents and even businesses often work, and learning under the thumb of the government does not?

Most of us see the peril in the idea of media controlled by the state. That is essentially robbing you in order to brainwash you. As Jefferson said, "To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." But education controlled by the state is no different, except that the state's "truths" are hammered into our children.

© Dan Popp

 

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