På tal om ingenting så hade Isabel Paterson, den kanadeniska-amerikanska journalisten, författaren och samhällsfilosofen, en hel del briljant att säga om hur statlig skolundervisning är fundamentalt oförenligt med frihet i allmänhet och med tankefriheten i synnerhet:
The positive fact that the United States public schools are under the political power is not recognized. Because the schools were started with quite separate organizations, by districts having no connection with each other or with any other political agency, empowered to levy a separate tax which could not be expended for any other object than the local school, nobody realized that the primary field of freedom had been invaded to the utmost extent. There can be no greater stretch of arbitrary power than is required to seize children from their parents, teach them whatever the authorities decree they shall be taught, and expropriate from the parents the funds to pay for the procedure. If this principle really is not understood, let any parent holding a positive religious faith consider how it would seem to him if his children were taken by force and taught an opposite creed. Would he not recognize tyranny naked? But it is objected, religion is not taught in the schools at all. That does not alter the principle involved 5 though it did obscure the issue in the beginning. The majority of parents were quite willing to pay a school tax, and glad to send their children to school. They tried to keep the teaching strictly secular. Further, when school districts were mostly small, and schoolboards composed of local residents known to everybody, it was quite possible for the parents to know just what was being taught j and to have their wishes consulted in the engagement or retention of teachers and the choice of textbooks. The intrinsic nature of the power authorized was so little realized that this was called “free education,” the most absolute contradiction of facts by terminology of which the language is capable. Everything about such schools is compulsory, not free; and the true nature of the institution has developed so fully along its own lines with the passage of time that parents are now helpless when it is admitted by a schoolboard that a small number of teachers are mentally unbalanced. The parents must still deliver their children into the power of those teachers, on penalty of a fine.
. . . the famous Scopes case, the “monkey” trial in Dayton, Tennessee, was discussed with equal heat and ignorance on both sides. The state passed a law that no instructor in the public schools could impart to his pupils the Darwinian theory of evolution, under penalty. A teacher contravened the law, and was prosecuted. Of course the law was absolutely improper but it was attacked on the ground that the Darwinian theory of evolution is true, and that the Tennesseeans were uninformed yokels.
But what if Darwinian evolution had been generally taught in the public schools of Tennessee, and a parent hack tried to withhold his school taxes and refused to send his children to school because he did not want them taught that theory; how many of the ardent champions of Mr. Scopes would have defended such a parent? It is safe to say, not one. All they wanted was that the state should prescribe that their own particular scientific doctrine must be taught, rather than an unorthodox creed. They were not in the least concerned with freedom of thought, speech, or person. They had no conception of personal rights or just authority. They did not ask whether a teacher could have a peculiar moral prerogative to teach his pupils what their parents did not want them to be taught. (The God of the Machine, 1943, sidorna 255-256, 257-258.)
Det är inte undra på att Ayn Rand var en beundrare av Isabel Paterson. Jag rekommenderar alla att läsa The God of The Machine, och inte minst då kapitlet “Our Japanezed Educational System”.