And The Minds of Children Closed



Schools are still shills for our collective addiction to belief in technological fixes as a decent approach to addressing climate change issues. That’s one reason to home school, among many. But my informal survey of home schooling parents nationwide has revealed that virtually no one is teaching youth that only a no-growth vision of economics can possibly give us a shot at planetary survival. And so it goes, the three-way marriage between education, technology and the proverbial bottom line. Bottom of the barrel is more like it.

There’s talk in educational circles ‘cross the board about the importance of species diversity, but nothing’s being done to deal with the deterioration of earthly conditions, nothing being done to improve our eco-system dynamics which might make vibrancy among Mother Earth’s lovely creatures possible.

Yes, tears are shed in our elementary schools at times, middle school kids pledge to pick up beach trash with parents on weekends, high school students occasionally debate one another about the weight of this or that bit of ecological evidence, undergraduates study the life sciences and related disciplines feverishly quite often, graduates with M.A. degrees provide definitive takes on what’s coming down and why, and those holding doctorates or law degrees from prestigious institutions secure grants for research and publish incessantly.

But no one is acknowledging that someone other than career politicians should be at the helm of decision-making at the most influential levels of government. All of the efforts in academic circles condone the continuance of career politicians — who, by definition, are too self-serving for the Collective Good — retaining exclusive control of major decision-making respecting our collective crises.

This is clearly the kind of case that was addressed by Denmark’s Hans Christian Andersen in “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Everyone is afraid to call a spade a spade. And children are being made deaf and dumb to such a degree that they can’t understand what Helen Keller cried out loud about in her socially-conscious work. In fact, rarely does a youngster ever learn that the first deaf-blind person to earn a B.A. degree was a fervent political activist. No, she’s made into some palatable Disney-like creature who rose above her circumstances, and so on, and so on, and so on. And “So it goes,” said Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death and elsewhere.

By the time Andersen’s short work was published in 1837, the Jackson administration — every bit as disgusting as any administration that concerned citizens have railed against in the 21st Century — had removed 46,000 Native American people from their land east of the Mississippi. Most members of the five southeastern nations had been relocated west, courtesy of the fellow who is spotlighted on our twenty-dollar bill. That shill for our collective embrace of The Dollar — made of the same cloth as Andersen’s swindlers — ensured that 25 million acres of land to white settlement and slavery would be opened.

And the minds of children closed.

Richard Martin Oxman has been an educator and activist for over half-a-century. He would be honored to speak gratis at any educational institution which makes a request at [email protected].


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