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Sunday, April 2, 2017

232 A Fool's Bargain: The Underground History of Amercian Education by John Taylor Gatto from archive.org

A Fool's Bargain 

A recent analysis of American diet by the Harvard School of Public Health disclosed the 
curious fact that the extremely poor eat healthier diets than upper-middle-class 
Americans. If that doesn't break you up, consider the lesson of the 232-year-old 
aristocratic merchant bank of Barings, destroyed in the wink of an eye through the wild 
speculations of an executive who turned out to have been the son of a plasterer bereft of 
any college degree! The poor man's schemes were too impenetrable for company 

management to understand, but they needed his vitality badly so they were afraid to 
challenge his decisions. 

"They never dared ask any basic questions," said the young felon who gambled away 
$1 .3 billion on parlays so fanciful you might think only a rube would attempt them. 
"They were afraid of looking stupid about not understanding futures and options. They 
knew nothing at all." Quis custodiet ipsios custodesl 

You can't help but smile at the justice of it. Having procured a Leviathan state finally, its 
architects and their children seem certain to be flattened by it, too, soon after the rest of 
us become linoleum. No walled or gated compound is safe from the whirring systems 
rationalizing everything, squeezing children of social engineers just as readily as yours 
and mine. "They knew nothing," said the criminal. Nothing. That's the feeling I 
frequently got while tracking the leaders of American schooling at every stage of the 
game while they mutilated their own lives as fantastically as they did the lives of others. 
All that sneaking, scheming, plotting, lying. It ruined the grand designers as it ruined 
their victims. The Big Schoolhouse testifies more to the folly of human arrogance, what 
the Greeks called hubris. Our leaders, one after another, have been childish men. 

So many of the builders of School were churchmen or the sons of churchmen. We need to 
grasp the irony that they ruined the churches as well, the official churches anyway. That 
probably explains the mighty religious hunger loose in the land as I write; having slipped 
the bonds of establishment churches as it became clear those vassal bodies were only 
subsystems of something quite unholy, the drive to contemplate things beyond the reach 
of technology or accountants is far from extinct as the social engineers thought it was 
going to be. Such an important part of the mystery of coal-nation schooling is locked up 
in the assassination of religion and the attempted conversion of its principles of faith into 
serviceable secular wisdom and twelve-step programs that we will never understand our 
failure with schools if we become impatient when religion is discussed, because School is 
the civil religion meant to replace Faith. 

American Protestantism, once our national genius, left its pulpit behind, began to barter 
and trade in the marketplace, refashioning God and gospel to sustain a social service 
vision of life. In doing so it ruined itself while betraying us all, Protestants and non- 
Protestants alike. A legacy of this is the fiefdom of Hawaii, saddest American territory of 
all, an occupied nation we pretend is an American state, its land area and economy owned 
to an astonishing degree by the descendants of a few missionary families, managed by 
government agencies. The original population has been wiped away. Under the veneer of 
a vacation paradise, which wears thin almost at once, one finds the saddest congregations 
on earth, parishioners held prisoner by barren ministers without any rejuvenating sermons 
to preach. Hawaiian society is the Chautauqua forced schooling aims toward. 

The privileges of leadership shouldn't rest on the shaky foundation of wealth, property, 
and armed guards but on the allegiance, respect, and love of those led. Leadership 
involves providing some purpose for getting out of bed in the morning, some reason to 
lay about with the claymore or drop seeds in the dirt. Wealth is a fair trade to grant to 

leaders in exchange for a purpose, but the leaders' end of the bargain and must be kept. In 
the United States the pledge has been broken, and the break flaunted for an entire century 
through the mass schooling institution. 

Here is the crux of the dilemma: modern schooling has no lasting value to exchange for 
the spectacular chunk of living time it wastes or the possibilities it destroys. The kids 
know it, their parents know it, you know it, I know it, and the folks who administer the 
medicine know it. School is a fool's bargain, we are fools for accepting its dry beans in 
exchange for our children. 

Roland Legiardi-Laura 

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