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An American Affidavit

Monday, February 29, 2016

103. The Spectre Of Uncontrolled Breeding: The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto from archive.org

The Spectre Of Uncontrolled Breeding 

School as we know it was the creation of four great coal powers whose ingenious 
employment of the coal-powered steam engine shrank distance and crippled local 
integrity and the credibility of local elites. But the United States produced almost as 
much coal as the other three school-bound nations put together, as you can see from 
figures for coal production in 1905: 1) United States — 351 million tons; 2) United 
Kingdom — 236 million tons; 3) Germany — 121 million tons; 4) France — 35 million tons. 

Prior to the advent of coal-based economics, mass society was a phenomenon of the 
Orient, spoken of with contempt in the West. Even as late as 1941, 1 remember a barrage 
of adult discourse from press, screen, radio, and from conversations of elders that Japan 
and China had no regard for human life, by which I presume they meant individual 
human life. "Banzai!" was supposed to be the cry of fanatical Japanese infantrymen eager 
to die for the Emperor, but Western fighting men, in the words of H.G. Wells' wife, were 
"thinking bayonets." For that reason Germany was much more feared than Japan in 

With the advent of coal and steam engines, modern civilization and modern schooling 
came about. One of the great original arguments for mass schooling was that it would 
tame and train children uprooted from families broken by mining and factory work. In 
sophisticated spots like Unitarian Boston and Quaker/ Anglican Philadelphia, school was 
sold to the upper classes as a tool to keep children from rooting themselves in the culture 
of their own industrially debased parents. 

The full impact of coal-massified societies on human consciousness is caught 
inadvertently in Cal Tech nuclear scientist Harrison Brown's The Challenge of Man 's 
Future (1954), a book pronounced "great" by fellow Nobel Prize-winning geneticist 
Hermann Muller. Brown examines carefully the probability that the human carrying 

capacity of the planet is between 50 and 200 billion people, before summarizing the 
reasons this fact is best kept secret: 

If humanity had its way, it would not rest content until the earth is covered completely 
and to a considerable depth with a writhing mass of human beings, much as a dead cow is 
covered with a pulsating mass of maggots. 

Brown's metaphors reveal something of the attitude that raised schooling in the first 
place on the industrial base of coal, steam, and steel. Among other things, the new 
institution would be an instrument to prevent mass humanity from "having its way." 

This essay, characteristic of many such syntheses issuing from foundation and corporate- 
sponsored university figures of reputation through the century, as well as from public 
intellectuals like H.G. Wells, was written on the island of Jamaica which to Brown 
"appears to be a tropical paradise," but his scientific eye sees it is actually "the world in 
miniature" where "the struggle for survival goes on" amidst "ugliness, starvation, and 
misery." In this deceptive Utopia, the "comfortable and secure" 20 percent who live in a 
"machine civilization" made possible by coal and oil, are actually "in a very precarious 
position," threatened by the rapid multiplication of "the starving." Such paranoia runs like 
a backbone through Western history, from Malthus to Carl Sagan. 

Only the United States can stop the threat of overbreeding, says Nobel laureate Brown. 
"The destiny of humanity depends on our decisions and upon our actions." And what 
price should we pay for safety? Nothing less than "world authority with jurisdiction over 
population." The penalty for previous overproduction of the unfit had become by 1954 
simply this, that "...thoughts and actions must be ever more strongly limited." Brown 
continued, "[We must create a society] where social organization is all-pervasive, 
complex and inflexible, and where the state completely dominates the individual." What 
is "inflexible" social organization but a class system? Remember your own school. Did a 
class system exist there? I can see you through my typewriter keys. You're nodding. 

Global Associations Of Technique 

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