Sunday, July 03, 2005

The New Janissaries are on the March!

So says Lawrence of wildernessvoices in his post � The Graduation. He notes the nuanced way in which a school undermines family. It begins with something as simple as having no keynote address at a high school graduation. It continues with academic-enabled narcissism from the top graduates:

The first speaker was a victim because he lost his dad. Now I have great compassion for a kid who lost a parent, it has to be tough and I’m glad it wasn’t me, but that compassion tends to fade when the tragedy is used to get cheap mileage in a speech. His speech was all about him: me me me me me. He mentioned honoring tradition and his predecessors. As he went on I realized he did not mean his ancestors or culture, but some of the senior classes that went before and his teachers. His view of history is woefully short. His people are not his family, his race, but fellow students. Like many trained in the public schools he is incapable of seeing beyond his little group. He told how school was his salvation and all that was worth anything was there. His indoctrination is complete. He is headed for law school and politics. If this boy ever gets over being naive he will, unfortunately for the rest of us, go far. He is already off to a roaring start.

In the second speech, the girl tried to make herself the victim at the expense of her parents and handicapped sister. Her parents, it seems, were no real family. They were mean to her. They forced her to move to another school: me me me me me. Because of her family, she had apparently lost her will to live. It was teachers and school that saved her and gave her back the will to live. She now had the power to step out of the shadow of her sister and find the love she deserved. School was her salvation also. I believe she also mentioned tradition (it seemed to be a really important thing to both of the speakers) but just like the boy before, she meant it in context of school and the preceding senior classes. Then just before switching to Spanish and saying sweet, wonderful, and thankful things to her parents (they do not know English), she mentioned how her parents loved her and sacrificed for her. Yes, the same parents she had spent over half a speech lambasting and blaming for her horrible life. Her future? She is going to college to work in pharmacology so she can manufacture new drugs. Good thing. She’ll be needing them.

Reasonable educators want to prepare students to participate in the trans-national world of tomorrow. These enlightened ones mustn't bother with petty associations that distract them from the emerging Great Society of the World (TM). So some families might get the shuffle send-off. Oh well. One can't make an omlet without breaking a few eggs. It's all for the Greater Good.

Fools, on the other hand, for some troubling reason value subsidiarity. We hold the variety of hierarchal associations within society as institutions of value that deserve recognition and respect. Not to mention protection. For some inexplicable reason, we fools know that without them, the State will quickly establish itself as the only game in Society. Certainly the Reasonable wouldn't mind, as long as they're in charge of the state. This explains to some degree their current political mouth-foaming: one of those Fools stands at the Wheel. O the humanity! What will become of the great new Leviathan state with a Fool calling the shots?

Well, the best that could happen would be policies that separate State from Society. As I mentioned in the comment to the Wilderness Voices' post, Totalitarian societies, which inevitably emerge when other societal institutions are effectively marginalized, have fallen into the dustbin of history for the most part. This Fool would be loathe to watch his country become the next victim of history.

Practice subsidiarity, preserve society. Deny subsidiarity, doom society. Perhaps someday, even the Reasonable will figure it out.