The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Saturday, January 15, 2005

A LITTLE LEARNING: Kids are a lot more selfish than they used to be. Time was, when a kid came down with an extremely communicable but otherwise harmless disease, the first thought that ran through their minds, other than if someone put monkey urine in the medicine your mom shoved into your mouth with a tablespoon it would taste a whole lot better, was that they should get to class as soon as humanly possible and spread the disease around so everyone could get a day off. Such a child became a immediate celebrity of sorts in the classroom and in the halls like the captain of the football team or the head cheerleader, someone everybody wanted to be with, a juvenile Santa Claus of sorts, at least until we came down with whatever he had. Kids in those days regarded spreading infectious diseases to their classmates as one of their civic duties as children; in some Communist countries, in fact, a child’s refusal to spread such diseases to their classmates caused that child to become an object of suspicion and fall under the watchful eye of the secret police, who would note any other signs of willful individualism taking precedence over the child’s duty to the needs of the socialist collective will.

Not anymore. In our health conscious age a sick child stays home with his personal computer and his games and his television and can only talk to their friends over their cell phone, making it impossible to spread anything except computer viruses, and if you need a day off from school then let’s face it, they don’t count. No, a child sick with a mild case of conjunctivitis, say, can go anywhere their little heart desires, anywhere at all, to the mall, to grandma’s house, even to the egregious mold pit that serves as our happy little burg’s public library, anywhere they want, except to school, where their presence and their microbes are most wanted.

One must wonder then at the efficacy of compulsory education laws that compel a child to go to school when they clearly do not want to go, and state health regulations that force a child to stay home when they are sick and therefore the most eager to go and see their classmates. In this situation, parents should ask if having school authorities label their children as “sick” or “ill” or “not feeling well” will damage their children’s self-esteem and disturb their relationships with other children, as these children will in all likelihood see their classmate’s staying home as a profoundly antisocial act and a betrayal of class solidarity.

Given these circumstances, it would appear to the disinterested observer, and if you have one of those please let me know, I sure can use one around here, that my original thesis is almost certainly untrue and therefore libelous in a non-class action sort of way (forget it; I have no money, but I am typing this up on a computer using Microsoft Word 2000, so you can sue Bill Gates instead; he’s got lots of money. One caveat, however: his lawyers are sharks. Real ones) So if children are not more selfish than they used to be, and I am sure you are happy to hear that bit of news, what is forcing them to engage in behavior that damages their ability to play well with others?

The answer is in the word “forced.” Sick children are forced to stay away from their classmates by an education establishment obsessed with packing more and more children into schools with smaller class sizes, which means hiring new teachers and expanding the education budget, an arrangement the teachers’ unions love since increased education spending means more members for them. The child, sick or otherwise, in such a scenario is little more than the bedrock upon which an entire corrupt system is based, the yearly influx of Black Angus, if you will, that keeps the abattoirs of pedagogy going night and day. What then should American parents do to free their children from a system that interferes with their socialization?

Coerced compulsory education must end. The whole rotten system depends on compelling the child to go to school by legal fiat. This is an antiquated concept at best and a pernicious one at its worst. Freeing children from the dead hand of compulsory education would end the need for ever more and more schools since the schools would only educate those who want an education, thereby cutting the already overburdened taxpayer’s school and property tax bill, and allowing the otherwise listless mass of students to pursue other career options like surrogate motherhood and narcotics trafficking. Ending compulsory education would pry away the tenacious and parasitical grip the teachers’ unions hold on American education and the Democratic Party and allow children, who, along with the dead, are the largest group of second class citizens in this country, to at long last enjoy the blessings of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You know, I just re-read that last sentence for the third time and it’s only now occurring to me that this diet Pepsi I’m drinking has an odd taste to it…


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