Richard M. Ebeling Quote

“In the hands of the state, compulsory public education becomes a tool for political control and manipulation -- a prime instrument for the thought police of the society. And precisely because every child passes through the same indoctrination process -- learning the same "official history," the same "civic virtues," the same lessons of obedience and loyalty to the state -- it becomes extremely difficult for the independent soul to free himself from the straightjacket of the ideology and values the political authorities wish to imprint upon the population under its jurisdiction. For the communists, it was the class struggle and obedience to the Party and Comrade Stalin; for the fascists, it was worship of the nation -- state and obedience to the Duce; for the Nazis, it was race purity and obedience to the Fuhrer. The content has varied, but the form has remained the same. Through the institution of compulsory state education, the child is to be molded like wax into the shape desired by the state and its educational elite. We should not believe that because ours is a freer, more democratic society, the same imprinting procedure has not occurred even here, in America. Every generation of school-age children has imprinted upon it a politically correct ideology concerning America's past and the sanctity of the role of the state in society. Practically every child in the public school system learns that the "robber barons" of the 19th century exploited the common working man; that unregulated capitalism needed to be harnessed by enlightened government regulation beginning in the Progressive era at the turn of the century; that wild Wall Street speculation was a primary cause of the Great Depression; that only Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal saved America from catastrophe; and that American intervention in foreign wars has been necessary and inevitable, with the United States government required to be a global leader and an occasional world policeman.”

~ Richard M. Ebeling

Introduction to 'Separating School & State: How to Liberate America's Families' (Sheldon Richman, 1994)

Ratings and Comments

kimo, lahaina

I think its all to true.wake up people

J Carlton, Calgary

Talk to your children and take an interest in what they are learning, Most of it is pure Bullsh**. Teach them the value and morality of independence from government.

jim k, Austin,Tx

The kids are taught to sit still, be quiet, and don't rock the boat, but are rarely taught to think.

Anonymous, Reston, VA, US

So easy to throw stones without analysis of cause and effect... failures of the public education system seem to be far more related to failures of parenting than of that education system, and those failures are far less severe than the ones seen in most non-public education systems which for the most part teach the parroting of belief systems not thoughts or even analytical facts.

J Carlton, Calgary

Failures of parenting Reston? Ok, to a point...but when our education system is undermining the authority of parents and creating Orwellian little sycophants...just what values are parents supposed to teach? I'll tell you what...They need to teach their children that the only reason they "have to" go to school is because the government will steal them from their parents if they don't. Parents need to teach kids the "reality" of government force, and how completely immoral it is.

TheMANwithNoName, Tampa, FL

I certainly agree with the author's point that schools mold the child's world view into a pattern controlled by the educators, but I am curious when he starts talking about the robber barons and unregulated capitalism. Just because the points he mentions are taught to (most) all schoolchildren in the US and become part of their world view, does that mean he thinks that the robber barons DID NOT exploit the working class or that unregulated capitalism and wall street speculation DID NOT cause the great depression ?

Justin, Elkland

Slaves on the plantation and serfs in the dark ages all got the same education too.

Mark G. Mitchel, Orangevale, California

More true today in America than ever before. Just ask most students what they want from their education. Just to pass on. No focus on basic educational skills and knowledge, no relevant job skills, and no passion for critical thinking. If not these then what is an education system for?

cal, lewisville, tx

Education was once in the hands of the state and locals, but then JFK began the federal Department of Education so the feds and the Federal Supreme Court could get their hands on the system and standardize us all to their wishes.

Rusty, Where the Buffalo Roam

The Dept. of Education should be renamed The Dept. of Indoctrination. The days of teaching students to think for themselves and constructively challenge the status quo seems to have gone the way of fins on Cadillacs...

Mike, Norwalk

TheMANwithNoName, government (as a partnership of select criminals; Roosevelt being a continuation of robber barons and capitalism's exploits) encouraged capitalism and other of fascism's statist policies to cause the subject and continuing problems. Unregulated capitalism and robber barons, though existing in all their destructive forces, were/are ascribed false qualities and traits (that doesn't mean they weren't involved - if they could disprove just one allegation against them, they could create a cloud of non-responsibility), and attributed with causes not related to their activities, were made the sole scape goats. I've mention multiple times here on this blog that I'm not a fan of capitalism, like I'm not a fan of criminal activities but, that does not change the correctness of the here quote.

E Archer, NYC

Wow, excellent. Sums up my experience perfectly. Upon further independent study, we discover that we have merely been conditioned to obey and accept our diminished and debilitated status. I am not sure if Reston speaks about his own parents (as he has made this argument several times) or others'. My parents taught me to think for myself and reminded me that I could do whatever I set my mind to do. Of course, school is different -- there we were either organized into 2 groups, the fast learners and the slow learners, or we ALL had to stick with the slow learners. As a child you know something isn't right, you just aren't sure what it is. The hypocrisy is obvious, but everyone just pretends that it isn't there because the parents are off at work, and the children have to go somewhere to be watched over. I have been schooled in public, Catholic, and prep schools, and the public school was mostly about 'socialization' and 'equality' in mediocrity, the Catholic school was about making good little catholics but we got a superior education as we were expected to be 'above' the ignorant masses, the prep school was all about looking good for getting into college, college was about making $100K off each student and preparing them to obey in the corporate world. None of the schools I attended EVER promoted the idea of invention, independence, or entrepreneurship, and yet, the businesses we were being primed to work for were started by people like that -- often with little formal education to begin with, only pure drive and determination. Since I started homeschooling my children, they have flourished beyond my expectations. Often people ask, "But what about your children's socialization?" And I reply, "I am not raising my children to be socialists." Funny how people can hardly imagine that children can learn to live in the world without 'socialization.' Look at Reston, he was socialized into hating the rich and conditioned to elevate state employees over parents themselves -- this is what the Nazis did!! Just leave my kids alone -- they don't need your 'socialization' and yes they may 'rock the boat' later, and for that I am proud. ;-)

Mike, Norwalk

Archer, again thank you, well said

Waffler, Smith

Survey, how many of you above went to public school?. Do you think for yourselves? If you are able to do so why don't you think others are able to do so? If what these guys say is true why do we have such a political divide in this country? A captain of industry spoke on Wednesday at the Debt Commission hearing. He said in his travels he finds most other nations able to collectively identify and harness the political will to solve their problems, and he is shocked and saddened at the way political leaders in the US talk to each other and to the public. Where is this uniformity Ebeling is talking about? I think we need a lot more of it especially around the idea of honesty.

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RBESRQ    12/4/10

All I'm going to say is balderdash, codswallop, and baloney (George Carlin would be a little more explicit). The real quest here has nothing to do with either public education or private educations and the merits of them (or dismerits). It's to do with the elite and the poor - who has the money doesn't want you to have a %&@+#$% penny of it! It's that simple. They want ignoramuses who have no critical thinking, who they can use for cannon fodder, who they can use to buy their corporate stuff, who have no idea about economics, literature, or intelligent conversation. You guys need to understand what's going on here.......................... The more we are dumb down the more they can rape and pillage without us rushing to the barn for our pitch forks.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, it is an extremely rare case for someone to come out of government schools with an ability to perceive freedom, liberty, or the principles the Constitution was based on. If that's what you mean by thinking for your self, then it is by observation of people and the way things are (politically, economically, etc.) that qualifies that concept. In Amerika, different facets of socialism are taught in different parts of the country; fascism with capitalism is taught in one part while humanist communism with its economics in another. The dichotomy is to bring the once sole light of freedom, liberty, law, and individual sovereignty and inalienable rights to an end. Most nations are coming from a place of totalitarian rule and have all ready succumb to their masters of choice. The people from the States United come from an inherent remembrance of freedom where it has not yet been determined what form of tyrannical dictators will be most embraced.

Waffler, Smith

I know of no government schools. I attend a public school. The kids and me did not march to a uniform beat, we did not wear a uniform, some were of one religious upbringing and some of another, A government school I guess would be one run by some narrow coterie of intelligensia without oversight. Public schools are run by the population at large with no particular point of view. As usual Mike you have everthing ass backwards. Your home schoolers and church schools, putting kids into uniforms and teaching them only what you want them to know is the biggest evil going.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, I understand your double speak. Because you were educated in a "public school" you can't understand that it was a government school (who funded it and who made the ultimate rules?) Again, I understand how you think that freedom, liberty, law, justice, individual sovereignty and unalienable rights, and a principled existence is the biggest evil going.

Waffler, Smith

I raised my son for ten years in a church school. I still believe in freedom, diversity etcetera and the free expression of ideas. Sorry I find that more existing in the public at large than in a narrow chruch or private approach. Funny isn't it how people see that choosing carefully what there kids are taught see that as some kind of freedom while the child is for ever yearning to be free of their parents dictatorial approach.

E Archer, NYC

Waffler hasn't a clue to independent study. It is not a 'dictatorial' approach -- that is the religious and government approach, duh! My children and I talk to each other about our hopes, dreams, expectations, goals. Their learning is a collaborative effort whereby the parents are more like coaches that encourage their children to fulfill their own self-declared intentions, to empower them to strive for excellence, to write and read, to be a part of running the household, to take on more and more responsibility so that they can be productive and self-sufficient members of society. Instead of going to school and being told what to do, they tell us what they want to learn and we facilitate that learning. It is a completely different approach to learning than schooling. They have friends and a social calendar, my teenage daughter goes to a local church because she enjoys being in fellowship with others her age and older, and she is a major 'player' in the 'production' each week setting up the sound and lights, screens, plays guitar and sings. All her choice. My son has little interest in that but is very interested in philosophy and politics -- and lucky him, he gets ME as the teacher in that! ;-) Of course, I encourage him to read and write and express his own ideas. I think we have all had a couple teachers like that in our lives, that treated us with respect, reminded us that we are responsible for the condition and quality of our lives, and that we will eventually be expected to provide for ourselves and our families -- in other words, to grow up.

Patrick Henry, Red Hill

Upon whom, necessarily, can anyone reasonably rely to rightly educate him or her? His or her parents?
Is every parent a repository of Virtue, thus equipped to educate by example, example being the most sublime of all instructors?The State? States are, characteristically, reflections not of the Virtue of human beings but of their manifold frailties, among which, a disposition to becoming dependent upon government. Ultimately, it is incumbent upon each individual to invest himself or herself in his or her own education, relying upon Providence for inspiration and illumination.

John Shuttleworth, New York City

"When I think of all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can even think at all." Paul Simon.
The opinions above seem almost unanimous in vilifying our public education system. Of this no one doubts its entrenched dedication to mediocrity and blind obedience to the state. A good friend once said: "The only hope for American salvation is, directly under Old Glory waving proudly, in the wind is a second flag; bearing a purple field with yellow letters proclaiming: HORSESH**!" Enduring cynicism with an equal belief in human dignity and independent equality has also been bread into the American character. We all love a parade, with an eye toward dispersion.

Mike, Norwalk

I meant by "capitalism" above - "crony capitalism". Pure capitalism can't be found in today's governments, anywhere Keynesian economics is applied, anywhere paper fiat is the economic source, and anywhere the 2nd plank of the communist manifesto is in vogue (etc.).


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