In a comment to this post on the deep-revolving John C Wright’s blog, I promised to dig up more information on Johann Fichte, a philosopher bridging Kant and Hegel, and viewed as sort of a transitional figure. He’s quite amazing, really – it’s bracing, to put it one way, to read such ideas stated so baldly.
Anyway, here is an article by Stephen Hicks, who I do not know anything about, except that his well-written summary of Fichte’s teachings says what I want to say, only better. An excerpt:
On the other hand, the new education must consist essentially in this, that it completely destroys freedom of will in the soil which it undertakes to cultivate, and produces on the contrary strict necessity in the decisions of the will, the opposite being impossible. Such a will can henceforth be relied upon with confidence and certainty.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to do this under contemporary living arrangements, in which children go to school and then return to corrupting influences in their homes and their neighborhoods at the end of the day. “It is essential,” Fichte then urged, “that from the very beginning the pupil should be continuously and completely under the influence of this education, and should be separated altogether from the community, and kept from all contact with it.”
Sound familiar? It should: the way this separation is accomplished today doesn’t even require physical separation: parents, themselves products of the schools, have been trained to not interact with their children in straight-forward human ways springing from love and affection. Rather, the parent-child relationship is characterized by the parent acting a the enforcement arm of the school outside school- it is somehow Mom’s and Dad’s job to see that homework, extra-curricular activities and the resulting exhaustion fill up the child’s every waking hour. Once children – the ‘good’ students – learn the lesson that their worth depends on how they do in school, then Fichte’s goal is achieved: they police themselves, doing only what the school tells them to do, and rejecting any though that they might be wasting their time – and destroying their souls.