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An American Affidavit

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

157. The Machine Gun Builds Hotchkiss: The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto from archive.org

The Machine Gun Builds Hotchkiss 

The widow of the man who perfected the machine gun founded the Hotchkiss School; a 
Lowell and a Forbes funded Middlesex; the DuPonts were the patrons of Kent; St. 
George's was underwritten by the Brown family whose name graces Brown University; 
Choate looked to the Mellon family for generous checks; J. P. Morgan was behind 
Groton. Over 90 percent of the great American private boarding schools issued from that 
short period just after Herbert Spencer's American visit in 1882 and just before the 
indirect edict to the National Education Association that it must play ball with the de- 
intellectualization of public schooling, or it would be abandoned by America's business 

Elite private boarding schools were an important cornerstone in the foundation of a 
permanent American upper class whose children were to be socialized for power. They 
were great schools for the Great Race, intended to forge a collective identity among 
children of privilege, training them to be bankers, financiers, partners in law firms, 
corporate directors, negotiators of international treaties and contracts, patrons of the arts, 
philanthropists, directors of welfare organizations, members of advisory panels, 
government elites, and business elites. 

Michael Useem's post-WWII study showed that just thirteen elite boarding schools 
educated 10 percent of all the directors of large American business corporations, and 15 
percent of all the directors who held three or more directorships. These schools 
collectively graduated fewer than one thousand students a year. More spectacular 
pedagogy than that is hard to imagine. 

In England, the pioneer feminist Victoria Woodhull published The Rapid Multiplication 
of the Unfit. And in the States, Edward A. Ross, trained in Germany — University of 
Wisconsin pioneer of American sociology — was writing The Old World in the New, 
saying that "beaten members of beaten breeds" would destroy us unless placed under 
control. They were "subhuman." Ross was joined by virtually every leading social 
scientist of his generation in warning about the ill effects of blood pollution: Richard Ely, 
William Z. Ripley, Richard Mayo Smith, John R. Commons, Davis Dewey, Franklin 
Giddings, and many more. None disagreed with Ross. Morons were multiplying. The 
government had to be made aware of the biological consequences of social policy. 

But while beaten members of beaten breeds had to be zipped up tight in isolation, ward 
schools and neighborhoods of their own, watched over by social gospelers, settlement 

houses, and social workers trained in the new social science, a new American social 
dimension was being created from scratch in which the best people could associate freely, 
could rear children properly, could reap rewards they deserved as the most advanced 
class on the evolutionary tree. That was not only justice, it was prudent preparation for an 
even better biological future. 

The way the new shadow society, a universe parallel to the one everyone else could see, 
had to operate after it had first constructed for itself a theory of establishment and a 
theology of caste, was by creating a new social structure, corporate in nature, in which 
man was progressively defined by those with whom he affiliated, his synthetic, 
associational tribe — not by his independent talents and accomplishments. If these 
affiliations were only local, then status was correspondingly diminished; the trick was to 
progressively graduate to memberships which had regional, national, or even 
international status, and this associational prestige would then be transferred to the 
individual. What a perfect way of keeping out the riffraff and porch monkeys this would 
prove to be! 

It was no idle boast, nor was the statement a simple expression of snobbery, when John 
Lupton, director of development at the Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut, said, 
"There is no door in this entire country that cannot be opened by a Choate graduate. I can 
go anywhere in this country and anywhere there's a man I want to see... I can find a 
Choate man to open that door for me," The crucial variables in identifying the right 
people in the new exclusionary America no longer included high-profile expressions of 
superiority. What they did include were: 1) Membership in the right metropolitan clubs. 
2) An address in the right neighborhoods. 3) A degree from the right college. 4) A 
membership in the right country club. 5) Attendance at the right summer resorts. 6) 
Attendance at the right churches. 7) Passage through the right private schools. 8) An 
invitation to the right hereditary association. 9) Involvement in the right charities. 10) 
Trusteeships, boards, advisory councils. 1 1) The right marriages, alliances, a social 
register listing. 12) Money, manners, style, physical beauty, health, conversation. 

I've made no attempt to enter subtleties of gradation, only to indicate how the ephors 
behind public schooling and virtually all significant decision-making in modern 
American society created, quite self-consciously, a well-regulated world within a world 
for themselves. Provision was made to allow some movement up from other classes. 
Clubs, for instance, were also agencies for assimilating men of talent and their families 
into an upper-class way of life and social organization. 

If we are unwilling to face how very far-reaching the effects of this American 
establishment are to schoolchildren, there is just no good way to think about school 
reform. 5 Darwin's evolutionary racism, Galton's mathematical racism, Maine's 
anthropological racism, Anglican theological racism/classism, all are deeply embedded in 
the structure of mass schooling and the economy it serves. They cannot he extirpated by 
rational discussion; these viruses are carried by institutional structures not amenable to 
social discussion. 

5 NeIson W. Aldrich, grandson of Senator Aldrich of Rhode Island, who was one of the principal architectsof the Federal Reserve system, put it 
this way in his book Old Money: "Membership in this patriciate brought with it much besides wealth, of course: complete domination of all 
educational and cultural institutions, ownership and control of the news media [and a variety of other assets]." Direct and indirect domination 
of the forced schooling mechanism by the patriciate has never been adequately explored, perhaps owing to its ownership of both the tools of 
research (in the colleges) and the tools of dissemination (in the media). 

Fountains Of Business Wealth 

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