Education: One Area You Can Take Back Liberty Without Washington’s Help
Many of us recognize that we are losing our liberties in America. However, many of us don’t understand why. We naively think it only has to do with those currently in power in the federal government. While many are responsible for continuing that process, the real issue is we have simply surrendered our liberty. We desperately want our liberty back, but we, as individuals, can’t just get rid of the Federal Reserve or nullify Obamacare (of course, we can work together to do those things). However, there is one important area, perhaps the most important area of your life, in which you can take back a huge portion of your liberty, and that is in the area of education.
I have often encouraged readers here at The Washington Standard to abandon the public government education system, especially in light of the federal government’s push for Common Core Standards. It is merely a religious institution with the state established as god. “If you send your children to a state school, don’t be surprised when they become statists,” I always say.
Until the 1830s, Americans, for the most part, held to the traditions outlined in the Bible. Primarily, they understood that education was not the responsibility of anyone but the parents. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 teaches,
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
You might say, well that was Old Testament (as though that matters). “However, the New Testament is explicit. In Ephesians 6:1-4 we read:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
Dr. Joel McDurmon, in his book Restoring America One County at a Time, informs his readers that one of the “most widely accepted source(s) on the history of American education” was Lawrence Cremin. McDurmon points out that Cremin, though he was a liberal and progressive, and had “no particular fondness for America’s Christian history,” made note in his four-volume history the following facts:
- The Bible was “the single most important cultural influence in the lives of Anglo-Americans.” It thus formed the core of American literary and moral education.
- The household or family was “the principal unit of social organization,” and “that most important agency of popular education.” “The family undertook the training of children ‘in some honest calling, labor or employment.'”
- In cases where the family was unable to advance education any further in a calling or trade, businesses or apprenticeships would provide a “direct example” and “immediate participation” in a trade through which a young person could learn a trade, find employment, and contribute to society.
- Entrance into apprenticeship programs was free and easy. Unlike in Europe or Britain at the time, there was high demand for skilled laborers, an absence of guilds that monopolized and controlled labor, no informers, no legal obstacles, no Statute of Artificers, no fees, and no property restrictions.
- Additionally, there were private night schools for working adults to improve their English and vocational skills.
Education was largely a private affair up until the middle of the nineteenth century. It didn’t involve government, but the family, just as God had ordained. Things seemed to work well.
In fact, they worked so well that McDurmon points out “roughly 48% of rural Britons could read at the time, compared to roughly 70% in rural America.” When it came to those in the city, Britain faired a bit better at 74%, but in American urban areas the literacy rate was nearly 100%.
The freedom of education meant a variety of things, including choices of schooling: homeschool, self-education, private education (including those set up by churches), along with apprenticeship and choices of curriculum.
Dr. McDurmon does take time to expound on how freedom in education was surrendered. Obviously, I don’t have the length of a book to make that argument. However, Robert L. Dabney, a southern Presbyterian pastor, clearly outlined the results that would come from the loss of freedom in education, which the North was pushing the South to adopt in the mid-1800s. Frankly, when I read his predictions in the short booklet On Secular Education, I was startled at how accurate he was.
McDurmon takes several pages to demonstrate how we lost freedom in education, which we need to understand, and then he begins to give steps in how to take back that liberty that was lost.
So what does this have to do with your liberty? Everything. For one, many are paying taxes to educate other people’s children. Usually this comes in the form of property taxes. Here in South Carolina, upward of 85-90% of property taxes goes towards government education. Not only do I pay those taxes, but I also pay for my own children’s education. Imagine ridding yourself of the bondage of those taxes. It starts with ridding yourself of government education. After all, there is no such thing as a “free lunch,” and there is no such thing as a “free education.” Someone is paying for it. Some of us just pay twice.
However, government education is an indoctrination to statism. Whether you like the term or not, government schools are teaching a religion (normally secular humanism), and America’s children are being religiously indoctrinated daily in the public school system.
In most states, homeschooling is legal and is quite simple. There are also choices of private education. It takes sacrifice for sure, but it merely requires that parents learn and be will to relay their learning to their children. Above all, they need to establish God as God, and not re-enforce dependence upon the state. In other words, as McDurmon writes in his book “Don’t take the (government’s) cheese.”
If you want to break free from the government education system, I applaud that. If you are unable to at the moment, start laying the groundwork to do so. Make those sacrifices for the sake of yourself, your children or grandchildren and the generations that follow behind us.
I would highly recommend Dr. McDurmon’s book to you, as this is merely the first in a line of things that we can actively begin doing to take back America without the help of Washington. I would also encourage you to read daily stories of people who are abandoning the government education system to return to the old paths of educational freedom at home here.
In the next article on restoring liberty, we’ll deal with the issue of welfare.