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Saturday, May 6, 2017

18.Oriental Pedagogy: The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto from archive.org

Oriental Pedagogy 

The ideal of a leveling Oriental pedagogy expressed through government schooling was 
promoted by Jacobin orators of the French National Convention in the early 1790s, the 
commencement years of our own republic. The notion of forced schooling was 
irresistible to French radicals, an enthusiasm whose foundation had been laid in 
preceding centuries by Utopian writers like Harrington {Oceania), More {Utopia), Bacon 
{New Atlantis), Campanella {City of the Sun), and in other speculative fantasy embracing 
the fate of children. Cultivating a collective social organism was considered the 
ingredient missing from feudal society, an ingredient which would allow the West the 
harmony and stability of the East. 

Utopian schooling never about learning in the traditional sense; it's about the 
transformation of human nature. The core of the difference between Occident and Orient 
lies in the power relationship between privileged and ordinary, and in respective outlooks 
on human nature. In the West, a metaphorical table is spread by society; the student 
decides how much to eat; in the East, the teacher makes that decision. The Chinese 
character for school shows a passive child with adult hands pouring knowledge into his 
empty head. 

To mandate outcomes centrally would be a major step in the destruction of Western 
identity. Management by objectives, whatever those objectives might be, is a technique 
of corporate subordination, not of education. Like Alfred's, Charlemagne's awareness of 
Asia was sharpened in mortal combat. He was the first secular Western potentate to beat 
the drum for secular schooling. It was easy to ignore Plato's gloomy forecast that 
however attractive Utopia appears in imagination, human nature will not live easily with 
the degree of synthetic constraint it requires. 

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