A few weeks ago we talked about Morality in education using as a springboard the whole topic of homosexuality in the public school system. Core to the premise that the school is a proper place to teach right and wrong is the concept that the children belong to the state, not to the parents.
What’s strange is the parallels between this concept of “it takes a village” to raise children and Plato’s Republic. Two portions of Plato’s Republic I find scary (especially when you consider that Plato is thought to have lived between 427 and 347 BC).
Primary Education of the Guardians: Censorship of Literature
Plato begins to muse about educating the children of his new society. He states that in order to create the perfect society that they will have educate the mind and that they will need both fictitious and non-fictitious stories to do it:
It seems, then, that our first business will be to supervise the making of fables and legends, rejecting all which are unsatisfactory; and we shall induce nurses and mothers to tell their children only those which have approved.1
What’s interesting here in our discussion is the current trend that I see to erase some “incorrect things” in our current literature and replace it with “correct” things. It’s no longer “One little, two little, three little Indians…” and other such things. If the state were to be the only place for education, they would be free to be the only source of information, and could easily twist stories and truths to fit their purposes.
Some would even argue that the left-leaning colleges and high schools do just that– that they take and proclaim a message of liberalism and not a balanced presentation and are hoping to influence a generation this way.
The next segment is even more interesting.
Equality of Women
Many centuries before the women’s movement, Plato believed it to be a good thing for men and women to be equal. He stated that men and women should be trained equally for the role of Guardians with one difference from modern feminism: that the standard should be the same for a man and a woman:
We come round, then, to our former position, that there is nothing contrary to nature in giving our Guardians’ wives the same training for mind and body…
Now, for the purpose of producing a woman fit to be a Guardian, we shall not have one education for men and another for women, precisely because the nature to be taken in hand is the same.2
Once the distinctive features of womanhood are erased, it becomes easier to erase the concept of family…
Abolition of the Family For the Guardians
Here it is: a law which follows from that principle and all that has gone before, namely that, of these Guardians, no one man and one woman are to set up house together privately: wives are to be held in common by all; so too are the children, and no parent is to know his own child, nor any child his parent.3
And what’s the advantage here? If children are taken away from parents, they are taken away from their parent’s ideals, morals, etc. and can be taught that of the state. They can look to the state as their source of morality, as the provider– and they can be molded into the perfect little citizens as long as they aren’t polluted by their parents.
Translate this to Today
If we look at today, we can see that this society that Plato desired really isn’t that far off from what we have in America today. Literature that is not approved is censored. Just take a look at how the Bible is treated in many classrooms around the country. And it’s not the only book. There are approved book lists for book reports, approved topics for papers, approved subjects for artwork.
The sexes continue to war about being equal. They’re encouraged by run away debt and class envy. They believe that it’s normal to have have a certain standard of living and they’re not above having two working parents to have every gadget they can possibly want.
And that leaves who or what to raise the children? If you think about the amount of time the average school aged child gets to see their parents if both work (by my rough calculations with a 10:00 pm bedtime they see their parents for five hours a day if not locked in their room) compared to the amount of time they are impacted by the state and their friends you can see why our society is the way that it is.
You can also see why people like Michael Farris get concerned about Parent’s Rights when looking at the state and its teaching. Homeschooling and Private Schooling provide different avenues for education, and allow for different thought.
20 thoughts on “Is There a Benefit to Equality in Education?”
Rousseau also thought Plato’s Republic was one of the best works about education he had ever read and based his educational views on it. In taking on his fictional charge, he writes,
“Emile is an orphan. No matter whether he has father or mother, having undertaken their duties I am invested with their rights. He must honour his parents, but he must obey only me. That is my first or rather my only condition.” (On Education, Book 1, paragraph 97)
And is that not exactly what the modern state has done in education? Whether or not the child has parents, he is an orphan, to obey only the state.
I wrote a little more on it here:
His treatise on education also served as inspiration for France’s national education system after their revolution. It has also directly influenced some of our own educational philosophy.
Min I really think your missing a major point. The secularist aren’t the major party that is or has been trying to force their morals on everybody else by law. It’s the Christians.
Yes, I said it. From my experience, it’s the Christians who are trying to erode the rights of others to have their own morals. It is the Christian who said that a black man should not be allowed to marry a white woman because it was against their morals. It was the Christians who hung men and women that broke the Christian moral by committing adultery. Again and again throughout history and even today it has always been the Christians that try to overthrow the rights of others to believe how they wish, and I’m not talking about morals such as do not kill, rape, or maim. I’m talking about morals that say you can’t do something that does not harm another non-consenting adult or their property.
I think that Christians do have the tendency to be attracted, like all other people, to power. I would like to say that in all cases we’re seeking out for the greater good and are just misguided– and to a degree I think that is part of it. But there are also those that believe that they’re better than others– something that’s anti-Christian as far as the faith is concerned, but very much a part of all people. People want to be right– they want to be on the side of truth in so far as what they believe. The problem is that we cannot all be right. We cannot all vote for the winner, and we will not all be on the right side when we stand before our Creator.
Getting more to the point, it’s not called “forcing morals on a person” when the majority agrees. Said slightly differently, the country was founded on Christian principles, and everyone agreed on those kinds of things. That’s why all the states had blue laws, laws against adultery, laws against swearing, etc.– because the majority agreed with these laws.
As the people of the country changed in character and left those principles, there were two reactions. Some seek to change the people and some seek to change the policy. You have to look at it from the Christian perspective to understand. This country has changed a lot and what has changed is that the country has abandoned some of the things that were a part of its Christian roots.
Does that excuse them for trying to force people to do what they believe is right? Depends on the item, to an extent– but morality cannot be imposed from above. You cannot effect real change of hearts by imposing a behavior. It doesn’t work. Christians are called to reach people with the power of the Holy Spirit to change them from the inside out. To make them want to be godly instead of forcing godliness upon them.
Again, that’s the big difference between now and 200 years ago– the laws that were perfectly fine for the country 200 years ago are being overthrown today because of the march of the secularists that are redefining morality in this country. And, by and large, they’ve done this re-education through the public school system. Which is the entire point of this post.
Plato wanted to create a new republic and to do so he wanted to control what children were taught. He wanted to be their only source of information. The public school system was supposed to help Americans, and it was sold as to having a particular benefit to Christianity– finally, one place where your kids could be educated instead of having to do it in your home! Except the problem was that when the government took control, and kids from parents who didn’t agree with Christianity got involved, the government couldn’t be in the business of promoting Christianity (even though the government in the 1800s paid money for the church to build schools to educate the Indians…). So they took God out and replaced Him with secular humanism.
It’s not that there is no religion taught in the schools– but the religion of secular humanism. The very last statement of your comment shows it:
What about adultery– is that right or wrong? If the person that was cheated on doesn’t know? Who determines harm? Does it harm a 16 year old to have sex with a 30 year old? If the 16 year old doesn’t think so?
Morals cannot derive from such a loose standard– they have to come from a higher standard, and this country chose to respect a standard coming from the Creator.
Well said, Loc. Min, let’s use the correct word here, as was the topic of your recent post on abortion (pro-choice vs. pro-abortion). This country was founded on Judaic principles, which Christians happened to steal. Changes quite a bit when you use the word Judaic, doesn’t it??
Of course, I don’t believe that either, but I’ll play your game.
“Morals cannot derive from such a loose standard– they have to come from a higher standard, and this country chose to respect a standard coming from the Creator.”
Oh puhleeeeeze. We’ve been through this a thousand times. Let’s start with the religious beliefs of the founding fathers (not all that Christian, at least not in all their writings, in fact, some would say quite anti-religion in general).
IF that were the case, and it’s a huge if, you can’t cherry pick which laws and morals you’ll use from the bible (along with your accompaning rationale as to why YOU chose the verses you cherry picked), and disregard the rest.
I’ll gladly take the ALL approach. I think it would be fun to watch America crumble under Christian “Sharia” law. Just stop with the “here’s the list we’ll keep and here’s the list we’ll disregard” thanks to your made up rationalizations! The entire argument doesn’t hold water. It’s like taking any book and refusing to acknowledge that entire chapters and pages exist while proclaiming the excellence of others.
As I’ve said before, you (and the very small percentage of christians who think the way you do) do NOT make the rules (thank the supreme being!) There are countless CHRISTIANS (let’s not even consider the atheists and other religions for a moment) who feel you are dead wrong in your beliefs, interpretations, and religious ideals. Nothing you say or do will ever sway the opinions of the christians.
It seems like you’re fighting a battle that you’ll never “win”.
Why do you say “Judiac” as if the Old Testament portion of the Bible doesn’t exist? Christianity includes both Testaments– but as Paul said in Romans, the Old Testament serves as a teacher. It is through the Old Testament that we learn that we have sinned.
I’ve done some study in regards to the Founders. True that some had deistic tendencies– believing in a more “clockmaker god” than Christianity would suggest. We could get into a good states right discussion here, but suffice it to say, at the time of the forming of the current Federal government there was much more belief that the states should be able to govern themselves and be left alone. So, you’d have to look at the founders of the states. Once you go there, you realize that all of them at the time of the Articles of Confederation had a State Sponsored church. All the universities were based on teaching Christianity. All of the state charters recognized the Creator as the giver of life, liberty and property. And all of this makes my case– that we were much more of a Christian nation when we were founded than now. There has been an erosion of that faith, and the laws have had to change out of necessity because the foundation was based on freedom of conscience.
Even if this was what I was doing, what prohibition is there to this? What compels me to accept the entire law given to the Israelites as law for Americans? This isn’t Israel. We’re not a Theocracy. There’s nothing in the Bible saying that all governments must have these laws. So, we’re at liberty to take whatever laws we want– and the founders and the states chose the ones that applied. It’s a fallacy that it’s all or nothing.
Christianity’s divergence from traditional Judiasm is that Christianity is supposed to be more interested in the heart and heart attitude (that is reflected externally). So, like Christ said– If you look on a woman to lust after her, it’s the same to God as if you committed adultery with her. And Paul in Romans 14 talks about how some things can be sin to one person and not to other. Christianity brought conscience into play for believers. I believe those that try to mandate a specific lifestyle on people are forgetting the whole area of Christian liberty.
And, get this, the New Testament is silent on the actions of unbelievers. You’ll find nothing there about what God expects from them other than that should be saved. The Christian New Testament commands are for the believers.
So, what am I about? Proclaiming the Bible and what it says, pointing out the ways the culture falls short, and encouraging the believers to follow Christ.
And so far as this post topic– I’m simply saying that the government has a primary interest of creating single minded “drones” who all think the same way and have the same worldview so that they can control them. What they do not want is people to have a difference of opinion, to think for themselves, and to actually believe something other than the norm.
On that topic, I believe that we both can agree that people should be fully persuaded in their own mind what they believe, should have the opportunity for rational thought, and are entitled to whatever belief they may have.
Min, I must say that I enjoy these debates more than any other on the internets, mostly because there’s zero chance of us every agreeing on much!
“All of the state charters recognized the Creator as the giver of life, liberty and property”
I too believe in a Creator, but I most certainly am not a Christian. You make a leap here that seems terribly flawed. It’s a kin to saying that, since 55% of my afternoon chorus class wore jeans today, all high school chorus students wear jeans, or advocate the wearing of jeans.
“This isn’t Israel. We’re not a Theocracy. There’s nothing in the Bible saying that all governments must have these laws.”
Yeah, bingo. Including our government. Very well said.
“So, we’re at liberty to take whatever laws we want– and the founders and the states chose the ones that applied”
I don’t agree. Just because we have laws against murder and the like does NOT mean that they came directly from the Bible. Lifewish pointed this out over at Mandi’s blog.
“I believe those that try to mandate a specific lifestyle on people are forgetting the whole area of Christian liberty.”
I gasped with I read this, then I laughed. Aren’t you attempting to mandate a specific lifestyle on people? Don’t a majority of your posts deal with how the world isn’t conforming to your Christian lifestyle? Aren’t you advocating for laws borne out of the Christian lifestyle and teachings? I’m uber confused here. I completely agree with your statement, but your persona, attitude, and writings do not.
“I’m simply saying that the government has a primary interest of creating single minded “drones” who all think the same way and have the same worldview so that they can control them.”
Take out “the government” and replace with “the CHRIStians” or “most organized religions” and you’ll find out how I feel.
“On that topic, I believe that we both can agree that people should be fully persuaded in their own mind what they believe, should have the opportunity for rational thought, and are entitled to whatever belief they may have.”
Yes, I couldn’t agree more. And that’s exactly why we can’t have laws based on religious texts and the like. They get in the way of my beliefs and rational thought.
You two! At it again, are you? 🙂
So, what Creator were the states referencing?
South Carolina Preamble:
At the time of the founding, the following states had established churches:
Connecticut – Congregational until 1818
Georgia – Church of England until 1789
Massachusetts – Congregational until 1780
New Hampshire – Congregational until 1790
North Carolina – Church of England until 1776
South Carolina – Church of England until 1790
Virginia – Church of England until 1776
So, 7 out of 13 had established churches. And I bet if we dig further we’ll find that 45% of your high school chorus kids were girls wearing denim jumpers– I mean that the rest of them were very Christian areas that would have been influenced by the Christian Bible. (We’re talking high percentages of Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans, etc.)
I guess that’s why both here and over at Amanda’s I can’t quite understand the argument that somehow the foundation for our laws didn’t come from a Judeo-Christian root rather than Hammurabi!
No, but it had to have come from somewhere. If you’re growing up in a “Christian” (and I use the quotes because of the proliferation of flavors even at that time) world you’re going to be influenced by that upbringing. If, at the time, you are told that no good statesman does not know his Bible, and that’s what is taught in the home and in schools and you read “Thou shalt not kill” then that’s going to be your source. Where you get the original idea is important. To argue that “just because we have X doesn’t mean it came from Y” requires that you provide a reasonable reason for me to believe that Y was a possibility– otherwise it is foolishness.
Illustration: I could believe that the sky is blue because I read it in a book first before I saw it.
“It might have happened this way…” doesn’t mean that it did. Logic says that we must accept the most probable outcome. Given the upbringing of the time, it’s much more likely that our founders were shaped by common law and the Bible (common law being influenced by the Bible) than it is that they were influenced by modern secular/humanist arguments.
I do write about how different the world is from my Christian worldview. I write about it for Christians, so that we’ll see it and be able to recognize it. I talk about how it diverges from where we have been, I talk about what I think would be better. My thoughts and opinions on the state of the country should not be discounted simply because I have a Christian worldview. Am I advocating for laws to enforce it? Not necessarily. I am advocating for a country that pleases God, but I’m not foolish enough to think this comes about from the top down. I don’t want to force people to attend church. I will bring up when Christianity is punished for being what it is.
Take our last back and forth over public school– I advocated for parental involvement, not necessarily Christian rules. And that feeds directly into my comment on public schools creating drones.
The states HAD established churches. The states also HAD slavery. Not everything the states HAD proved to be a good thing.
I find it interesting that you don’t feel that organized religion creates drones. Where is the room for critical thought and differences in beliefs when everything is based on an ancient text, of which there is “apparently” only one interpretation that’s correct?
“I will bring up when Christianity is punished for being what it is.”
No, you’ll bring up when you’re particular brand of Christianity is “punished” for what it is. Again, many Christians have no problem with some of the things you find fault with. You need to start making that distinction. You don’t want Fred Phelps speaking for you, and I’m sure many Christians don’t want you speaking for them.
This is entirely beside the point. The point is that there were established churches and a predisposition toward the Christian religion. I believe I’ve effectively made this point and that it is the secularists that are changing the nation, not the Christians.
There are currently 16 types of Baptists listed in Wikipedia for the United States. And these are just conventions not including those that are independent and this is just one flavor of Christian. Each of these groups believe in something slightly different that the others. Is one correct and all the others in error? Rationally, it’s certainly possible that none of the Christian groups on the Earth right now are following God perfectly.
This was directly addressed in Romans 14– Paul said that some will continue to abstain from meat, even though there’s no problem with it, and we should not judge them because they are doing it to the glory of God. The principle being, as long as there is not specific scripture forbidding or commanding to do a given thing, then we are to be gracious. I will say that there are many, like Phelps, who judge everyone against themselves.
For me personally, the question is what do you do with Jesus Christ? Is He God? Did He die for your sins? Did He rise again on the third day? My college has a creed that we all repeat, and these are the non-negotiables:
I would think that, contrary to what you say, a large subset of Christianity would be fine with these statements. If you did not agree with these, I would have to ask what it meant to be a Christian?
“I believe I’ve effectively made this point and that it is the secularists that are changing the nation, not the Christians.”
Yeah, and the abolitionists moved us AWAY from a nation that accepted slavery. Again, not everything from the start of this country was a good thing.
Min, when you get sick of the computer thing, try politics. You can dance around a question, load it with extraneous info, and never truly answer it. It’s a skill that I admire, even though it’s exasperating to debate with you. However, I’m confident that I’m learning from the best!
(Sarcasm NOT intended)
Musicguy I think that you and I have different approaches, different worldviews, and perhaps different questions that we are trying to answer. From the beginning of this post, I have talked about how public school education (indeed any education that has a captive audience and forced curricula) leads to the creation of drones rather than free thinkers. I believe that what you observe and declare as “dancing around a question without truly answering it” I would categorize as “attempting to stay on topic.”
The question that I answered was “Is it the Christians that are trying to take over the nation, or is it the secularists?” You and Loc were positing the former, I posited the latter and provided documentation to support my case. You have not proved your side, as I see it.
Further, I offer a Wall Street Journal article that talks about “In God We Trust” on our currency with this interesting quote:
It was important around the time of the founding that future generations indeed know that we were a Christian nation. I would not have a problem agreeing that we are moving toward being more of a secular nation. I would also credit this toward public schooling (the point of the post). The nation has been changed because we have an entire generation that believes something very different from and about their founders.
How many of your students know that there were established churches in the states at the time of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution? How many know about the fact that the government paid for religious schools to be built, states funded different churches, and that people actually believed, lived, and were influenced by their faith and belief? And how many know that it was Christians that were abolitionists? How many can name the current Justices of the Supreme Court, or understand the electoral college and why it’s important? How many know that we’re a Republic and not a Democracy– and why the founders didn’t want a democracy?
We don’t know our history– and I don’t blame the kids. To some degree I don’t even blame the teachers– but we’re actively trying to erase our past and create a generation that knows nothing about who we were. That should be something that’s at least a little unnerving.
There are a lot of things that I truly disagree upon that our schools are trying to teach our children, homosexuality is one huge topic that I feel has no place in a public or private school.
Schools should stick with teaching what they were meant to teach, history (accurately, without biased opinions) mathematics, Literature, science etc. It is not their job to teach my children morality and about Christianity. That’s my JOB. I am the one who is responsible in teaching them about morality and about our Precious Savior. I am the one who will teach them about the bible and our Christian beliefs.
Yes, I would love for public schools to teach these things, but in this day and age it will never happen, unless of course, your child attends a private Christian school.
God blessed me with my children and it is my duty, my responsibility to raise them as the bible teaches me.
I cannot and will not entrust anyone with that duty, no way.
“history (accurately, without biased opinions)”
Leticia, do you realize that this is impossible, as you’ll not find a consensus among varying groups regarding US history? Just look at the comments in this post. Min and I totally don’t agree in regards to the intent of the founding fathers. How on earth are schools supposed to be unbaised? unbaised according to whom?
Egads, I really need to check in here more often. You guys picked up the debate and ran off without me.
Leticia, the school’s main job is to teach and they can only teach if the environment is right for teaching. This is why some public schools ban physical contact while on school grounds. They want kids to be learning instead of trying to get their groove on with the opposite sex. This is also why schools try to teach tolerance. If a child is thinking about bashing some other poor kids face in because his parents are gay, they are not thinking about learning (Yes, I understand you don’t teach you children to try and kill gay people, but some parents teach hatred and then don’t teach how you are not supposed to kill people you dislike). I know you don’t like schools to teach morals, but it is necessary for them to maintain a healthy environment for learning.
Also when you say that schools should stick to teaching history, mathematics, Literature, science etc., you’re forgetting a major problem with any subject. Mathematics being the only exception, everything taught in schools is controversial. History, did the holocaust happen or did it not, was America a Christian nation or was it not, and the list goes on. Everything in history is up to interpretation. Literature, is the Tolkien series a major literary achievement deserving to be read or not, Dune does it need to be read or not, there are a couple books nearly every one agrees on but most literature’s worth are in controversy. Science, do I even have to point out the debate here? So, should we limit schools to only teaching mathematics. That is the only non-controversial subject.
Loc, I think you’re spot on in your second paragraph above, and that’s why I believe that public school is broken and needs to be scrapped for some other plan. It was one thing when America had a common moral fiber and foundation in Biblical truth. One could then teach Christian ethics, Christian morality, etc. and there was a common fiber. If America is going to continue down this path toward multiculturalism (including varying religions, moral codes, etc) then having all the same children in the same class will not work. (Let alone, I tend to agree with Pat Buchanan that if we continue on this path we will lose our national identity.)
So, it’s time to come up with a new system that doesn’t have the problem traditional public schooling has– one that allows for the diverse opinions and strong education without having to compromise the parent’s beliefs.
Its all very well and good to say we need a new system, but we need a suggestion for what the new system will be before we through out the old. Even a broken system is better than none at all.
It depends. If the broken system is driving us into the ground, do you continue to use it? I agree that there needs to be some transition, but pretty much anything would be better. Charter schools, private schools– even homeschooling (the greatest form of parental involvement) have proven to turn out better educated children, and also give parents a chance to choose the morality their children will be exposed to.
I’m not sure exactly what Charter schools are, could you please explain.
As for private schools, what about those that can’t afford it. If both parents are working jobs just to put food on the table can they really afford to send their kids to costly private schools?
And homeschooling, as one who was homeschooled and whoes friends were homeschooled, I can say this is not the best option. Sure for those who parent are really into it, it is one of the best forms of education. But for those that really don’t want to teach seven subjects a day (they love their children but educating is not their passion) the children get gipped of their education. If the parents don’t want to teach then the children won’t learn in homeschooling.
Check out out the Wikipedia Entry on Charter Schools. Basically, fewer regulations, publically funded, but they need to produce certain results.
As for private schools, if you stopped taxing people for public schools, or funneled the money that would have gone to the public schools as vouchers for education, then the parents would have the option of choosing whatever school they wanted, and thus they could choose private schools, which would then be able to pay their teachers more, etc. Part of the problem with private schooling in the U.S. now is that you pay for both public school through property tax and whatever other option you want to have– you pay twice. Talk about unfair.
I think that all schooling is a risk/reward venture. Increase the possibility of risk, increase the reward. The most risk is in homeschooling because it’s up to the parents, but you also have the smartest kids coming out of it.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure anymore if the public school system is the least risk– since so many are graduating without even knowing how to read.