BY TOM DEWEESE
The barbarians have finally broken down the school doors and are now plundering knowledge. Books are their target. Banning them is the goal.
In New York City, administrators at the Life Sciences Secondary School have ordered all textbooks rounded up and removed. Books, they say, are antiquated. Instead, technology is to be the new god of learning.
Of course the excuse is that books are expensive. The schools complain that the kids lose the books or that they wear out and there is no budget to replace them. And more importantly, using iPads means they can be automatically updated with the latest information, scientific discovery and technology. So the schools need to keep up with all the latest developments to keep the kids on top, they say. It’s a wide, wonderful brave new world! Aren’t our children lucky to live in these times? Everything in today’s school house is apparently designed for the comfort and ease of the children. No stress. No demands. No expectations.
And so the books were piled up in the hallway of the school. Next stop – the trash bin. Most were in good condition, including hundreds of math, algebra, geometry and various English literature text books. Also strewn around the floor were copies of Romeo and Juliet and A Street Car named Desire.
The technocrats will argue that the World Wide Web contains vast knowledge for the taking with the right tools. They argue that printed books are limited. That printed text books soon become antiquated. And so the future of learning is achieved by opening up this super highway of knowledge in the class rooms so every child has access. Thus, throw away the books and unchain their minds.
The incident at the middle school in New York is not isolated. It’s a growing trend. Cushing Academy, a private prep school in Massachusetts, just dumped its 20,000 library books. Instead, the library has been revamped into pseudo Internet café. Here the students can watch the three television flat screens or just sit and talk.
Say schools officials, “The library is trading its 20,000-volume collection for a database of millions of digital books. All of the students can read any of the books, either through the 68 Amazon Kindles cycling around the campus or in the laptop that each of the school’s 450 students is provided.”
Said Headmaster James Tracy, “If I look outside my window and I see my student reading Chaucer under a tree, it is utterly immaterial to me whether they’re doing so by way of a Kindler or by way of a paperback.”
Actually it does matter. First, traditional libraries were always ordered to be quiet areas because students were absorbing information, researching or writing papers. The atmosphere now is loud with lots of talking taking place. That doesn’t provide a learning atmosphere. Second, printed books cannot be changed. The content in iPads can be changed and controlled by outside forces. In short, one can’t trust the content to be accurate. Third, those same outside forces can actually control what information is available. They can control knowledge.
Today we are a divided society. Freedom verses control. Can anyone deny that there are powerful forces that seek to change how we think in order to fulfill a revolution to literally change our entire society? We have observed massive changes in our culture over the past ten years. Free enterprise is racist and evil. Private property ownership is a social injustice. Individual thought is dangerous. Marriage and sexual orientation are in great turmoil. Free speech is a threat. The mere mention of a certain presidential candidate can send college students into turmoil requiring therapy and major thumb sucking.
Do you think these changes are just happenstance? No, they are the result of a carefully orchestrated takeover of the public education system with the specific purpose of creating a new kind of citizen for the future. One that doesn’t challenge authority and official dictates. How do you create such a product? Keep them ignorant of history, philosophy and contrary ideas. If you don’t know there is even a question then you will never ask it.
Printed books can be dangerous as they can’t be changed. If allowed to remain they can be discovered by future generations. In printed version, their message remains intact, ready to spark questions to a hungry mind.
The Founding Fathers studied all kinds of government styles and philosophies before deciding on our Republican form. They wanted one that would protect the freedom of thought, movement and our ability to benefit from the fruits of our own labor. Individuality, private property and free enterprise were the roots of the government they chose. To keep the freedom which these policies created, the Founders fully understood that knowledge was key. Thomas Jefferson said, “If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.”
Today, the revolution in our classrooms has robbed the children of the philosophy behind our founder’s actions. They have never been taught that private property ownership is the only true way to eradicate poverty. They have no idea that free enterprise is the true system that gives then freedom of choice and control over the quality and quantity of products and services we purchase. And as they color their hair purple, dress in outrageous fashions, and take on the usual youthful defiance to claim their individuality, they slavishly cling to their public school teachings that individuality is selfish and must be controlled. They do so automatically because their ability to think and reason has been removed through lack of knowledge.
Behavior modification, social justice and an all out assault on attitudes, values and beliefs have replaced academics in the public education system as it churns out the perfect global village idiots. Leaving old books and their anti-revolutionary ideas lying around is a danger to their revolution. Soon, books with contrary ideas will not be available in your favorite E-book. Google will not provide the answers in a search. Facebook will censure contrary postings. Oh, wait, all of that is already happening.
I read the report on this trashing of books with great interest because such action was a major part of the plot of my recent political thriller ERASE. In my fictionalized world an evil force called LEAP was systematically taking over the publishing industry, slowly eliminating outlets for printed books and replacing them with their own E-book version. LEAP even made a massive gift to the schools across the nation by giving every school kid a LEAP iPad to replace their school books. The only problem was that now LEAP controlled the content and could change it at will.
I wrote ERASE to be fiction. I didn’t intend to provide the forces of evil with a “How To” manual! Yet, now my fiction has certainly become reality and it’s growing in schools across the country.
In one scene of ERASE a teacher asks the question, “How do they think they can stop knowledge, it’s there, no matter what? The answer came back to him, “They stop knowledge by banning it.” In our modern age, controlled by technology, book burning is no longer a necessary tool for tyrants. All they need to do is press a button and knowledge, history, indeed entire societies disappear in an instant.
Self-Educated American Contributing Editor, Tom DeWeese, is the President American Policy Center.