Bind Us Together? Not in Public Schools

Neal McCluskey, National Review, October 15, 2013

The ongoing federal shutdown offers a powerful lesson about public schools, and it’s not just that you can’t count on checks from D.C. {snip}


Basically, the more that government does, the more inevitable divisive warfare becomes. Government action forces everyone into the political arena to determine who gets what from whom, rather than letting people freely choose with whom they’ll interact, and freely choose to cooperate for mutual advantage.

Ironically, perhaps the fundamental notion undergirding public schooling is that government control is essential to bind diverse people together. Horace Mann, the “Father of the Common Schools,” declared that the only way Americans could be educated and kept out of “social, interminable warfare . . . is the elevation of the common schools.”

How has that worked out?

In Mann’s Massachusetts, the common schools first exacerbated long-simmering tensions between Congregationalists and Unitarians—Mann was among the latter—forcing them to debate what kind of religion the schools would teach. It was a burning dispute dampened only by the arrival of large numbers of Roman Catholics—at the time, a common enemy of many Protestants.

Roughly a century of political and social tension between American Catholics and Protestants is well documented. But the battles were perhaps most heated in education, where they included physical combat—with numerous people killed—in the 1844 “Philadelphia Bible Riots.” The spark that set off the conflagration was the question of whose version, if any, of the Bible would be used in the public schools.

Of course, numerous districts for many decades saw peace. What largely maintained tranquility was that, unlike Philadelphia and other diverse areas, most districts were small and their communities homogeneous. That, and large “out” groups—especially African Americans—either were shamefully barred from public schools or, in the case of Roman Catholics, established their own institutions.

As public schooling evolved, it became increasingly centralized, first with consolidated districts, then with state and federal controls. With extremely diverse people now placed under unified governance, today we see constant conflict over numerous values-laden, intensely personal matters, including religion in the schools (or lack thereof); portrayals of different races and ethnicities in curricula and texts; student speech rights; reading selections; and the list goes on.

Indeed, the Cato Institute has been tracking public-schooling battles since 2007 and has posted a map (with ongoing updates) identifying hundreds of “values” battles across the country. And those are just the throwdowns that have received relatively prominent media attention.


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  • Alfred the Great

    Among other reasons, government controls the schools to force racial mixing. That is what my father called it when it all began with busing back in the late ’60s. From that point forward, education has been in a steep, downward spiral.

    • Spartacus

      Diversity is so good, you need to force people at gunpoint to do it…

      • I See Suicide.

      • So CAL Snowman

        That picture is sick beyond words. White males forcing White females at GUNPOINT to interact with violent blacks. We fought World War 2 for this???

        • Sick of it

          Apparently, we worked with the Soviet Union so closely, some soldiers felt more comfortable with their ways than with American ways.

      • DaveMed

        Can someone tell me what the context of this picture is?

        • ncpride

          Probably the forced integration at the University of Alabama because Governor George Wallace opposed it by blocking the entrance, so the National Guard was sent to enforce it.

          • Spartacus

            Yes, that’s it .

          • 1proactive2

            It’s the 101st Airborne walking with fixed bayonets against the women. The bayonets weren’t even sheathed. Note the eagle patch on one the shoulder of one of the troops. That means it is a photo of Little Rock Arkansas when integration protests were in full swing back in the early 60s. The president at that time sent in the 101st for to force the federal government will against white people.

    • So CAL Snowman

      Well Pat Buchanan was not wrong when he said that the United States ostensibly fought WW2 for the right of black men to have access to White women.

      • Whitetrashgang

        Yeah good old WW2 Germans fighting Germans, financed by the tribe(most Americans were of German stock).It just goes to show how most people just don’t think things through.

      • gemjunior

        Wow, good for Pat. I never heard that he said such a true statement, although he usually does not shy away from the truth. So I’m going to look into it.

  • Luca

    Now, only the very rich have freedom of association. They can buy the house they want in the neighborhood they choose and send their kids to the school of choice, public or private.

    The real victims are the middle class. The poor get a free ride, the rich get unlimited choice and the middle class gets to suffer and pay the tab.

    • Jefferson

      Pretty soon the “poor” in America will be living in better neighborhoods than the middle class because if the Obama administration has it their way, the “poor” will be moved into very high income neighborhoods by way of section 8 housing.

    • Ella

      The Middle Class can shrink the home size but still buy into a better neighbourhood with good public schools. If you can avoid the tax man through less property taxes and reduce materialism to steer clear of sales tax, you have some extra income to possibly afford private institutions. I know cost of living is terrible for the East and West Coastal regions, so home schooling may be the best option. Plus, private schools do not always offer a solid education as many churches have their own liberal agendas and open borders slant.

    • 1proactive2

      So right, painfully so, but such is sometimes the effect of cold reality. Good post.

  • bigone4u

    School vouchers can get white youths out of public schools and into private schools with family values without bankrupting white middle-class families. Unfortunately, the black undertow views vouchers as a gibsmedat and so blacks follow unless the school imposes a strict parental involvement policy, which blacks do not have the discipline to follow.

    That leaves homeschooling as a possible option, but only if mom or dad does not work, or limits their work effort. School segregation would be a solution but our wonderful Supreme Court made that illegal back in ’54. School uniforms and segregation by sex help keep blacks from running wild in school, but really don’t help that much.

    Bottom line: As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home schooling,” or something like that!

    • leftists are delusional

      As long as there is no mandate to remove the admission testing, the IQ gap will keep most Africans out of the decent private schools.

      But school vouchers are not likely to become law in most places and if they did the law suits from stupid (redundant?) blacks turned away would cripple any school that participated in the program.

    • Nathanwartooth

      This is actually how Black charter schools pick off the top 10% of Blacks.

      They berate the parents constantly with having them help their children. The lower IQ, lazy parents just take their kids out of the school so they don’t have to do any work.

      This is how charter schools get to claim that they do so well even though they don’t “select the children” that go there.

  • guest

    If diversity really was such a great strength, people would just accept it on their own free will. Instead it gets forced on everyone against their will by all of these anti-racism diversity cultists, resulting in tension and conflict. And the only reason they do that is because they’d be out of jobs if diversity was naturally accepted by all.


    We’ve had massive amounts of mandated diversity all across the nation for many decades now. So, just when exactly do we get this strength we’ve all been hearing so much about? When does that part of the “Diversity is our Strength” mantra arrive? It is coming, right? Right, hello, anyone, it is coming though, isn’t it? Somebody, anybody?

    • Greg Thomas

      “Diversity is our greatest strength” is just another meaningless platitude thought up by the cultural Marxists to make the displacement of Whites more palatable. It has as much validity as illegal mexicans only come here “to do the jobs we will not do.” Another lie designed to aid and abet the illegal invasion of our country by third world parasites.

      Time is running out and there is likely only one way now that this madness can end.


        “there is likely only one way now that this madness can end” < Which Is? )

  • Nice Guy


    Public schools are evil, centers for government indoctrination and places where your children are raised by their peers. Not a place for my kids!

  • QuinnTheEskimo9

    This is playing out exactly as planned by the cultural marxists. Pit different races against each other by forced assimilation and then let the war begin. This was never meant to bring the races together, it is meant to dispossess whites of their culture and homeland.

  • 1proactive2

    Oops. Sorry. I didn’t read your post first.

  • JohnEngelman

    In his “The Emerging Republican Majority,” which was published in 1969, Kevin Phillips said that when the black population is less than ten percent of a state it has little effect on the political behavior of whites. When it exceeds ten percent whites get nervous. When it approaches 50 percent the control of those blacks is the issue nearly all withes agree on.

    In this, whites have always demonstrated their collective wisdom. Integration in any environment only works when blacks comprise a small minority.

    On racial issues it is unfortunate that on racial issues there so many taboos and sanctions against saying in public what nearly everyone privately knows to be true.

    • NoMosqueHere

      Obama received around 46 percent of the “white vote” in the last election. This shows that a substantial number of whites are clueless about the realities of race in America. In New York City, which has a large,dangerous, and nasty black population and where whites comprise around 30 percent of the population, whites voted overwhelmingly for Obama. Also, any talk of “race realism” in NYC will probably get you fired from your job or worse. So, the “collective wisdom” of whites is probably no longer operative.

      • Godwhacker

        According to the 2010 census, NYC is 44.6% White.

        • NoMosqueHere

          I live in NYC and don’t believe the figure is 44.6%. I just don’t believe it, I’m sorry. Ride the subways on a saturday afternoon and you won’t see any whites at all.

      • WR_the_realist

        The obsession over how many whites voted for Obama misses the point. In the last two elections voters were offered two turd sandwiches and told they had to pick one of them and eat it. John McCain was certainly no savior of white America. And neither was Romney.

  • Spartacus

    Thanks for that, I actually have it under “Alabama Forced Integration” in my archive, will correct it now .


    “Basically, the more that government does, the more inevitable divisive warfare becomes.”

    No kidding. Maybe it’s because to accomplish whatever the government does always involves taking from one group and giving to another. The group taken from then resents not the government but the group that benefits. I guess people are just no damned good.

  • WR_the_realist

    When someone makes the nonsensical argument that minorities know that they’re better off ruled by whites, point to Haiti, Detroit, and everyplace else that has a black majority. When given the opportunity, blacks vote for blacks. And those elected blacks appoint other blacks, pushing out the whites. It doesn’t matter if the schools fail, the crime rate soars, the trash doesn’t get picked up, and the trains don’t run on time. Black people would rather be ruled by blacks in a broken down society than be ruled by whites in a society where things work.

    I’m sure you’ll find that Hispanics are the same way.

    • Tucker

      You are exactly right. Lately, whenever I’ve had a chance to talk to one of my Congressional office staff workers – I’ve been trying to point this out, and that the GOP is wasting its time trying to appeal to non-whites using the kind of tactics that only work when the targeted demographic group is White. Most Whites can be reached with appeals to reason, and when the facts and track record of a given party or candidate can be shown to have caused them harm or done harm to the nation as a whole, Whites will often switch their votes and fire the guy or party who is incompetent. Not so, with non-Whites.

      There are two and only two things that motivate and energize non-Whites, and the Communist Democrats have both mastered. First, they promise to give them lots of free stuff that the White man will be forced to pay for via his taxes. Secondly, the party has to make it painfully clear that they hate White people, which all non-Whites do as well.

      So, someone has to be a complete fool to buy into the insane idea that minorities like letting the White man run things. For crying out loud, nitwits – history clearly shows that in every single case, when given the opportunity to do so, non-Whites will fire the White politician and replace him with one of their own.

  • WR_the_realist

    That’s an interesting history. I wonder how may people in the 1840s would have been keen on public schools had they known that by the latter decades of the 20th century, not only would there no longer be a debate over which Protestant Bible to use, but religious instruction in the public schools would be banned entirely? Way back when I went to public schools there was no religious instruction but schools still made a big deal about the Big Holiday That Kids Really Care About — Christmas. That was around the time the special “A Charley Brown Christmas” was made. Now, of course, Christmas is pretty much banned from the public schools. The religious belief in diversity is now taught instead.

    • Alexandra1973

      Christmas isn’t really a Christian holiday, it has its roots in paganism. Pagans have bragged that Christians don’t mind observing one of THEIR holidays. And I am a fundamentalist Christian. Not a JW or SDA.

      I’ve had no problem with telling my son’s teachers that we don’t keep Christmas (or Halloween) and that I’d like for him not to participate. You know, he started the sixth grade at middle school this year and his teacher asked if I would be offended if she decorated her classroom. I said that it’s her classroom, she can do what she likes. I said that it’s like walking into a mall and demanding they take down decorations, it’s unreasonable. I just don’t want my son to participate directly. He can do winter-themed stuff for art. And I said that Thanksgiving is perfectly fine, and I reminded her that his birthday is in December, so that’s okay…he still gets stuff in December, but on the 16th. I said I could send cupcakes for his birthday. 🙂

      I was also sending the message that I respect someone’s “property” so to speak and their right to do with it what they would.

      My son is in special education due to being on the autism spectrum, he gets speech therapy and other services.

      As far as holidays–I would prefer that if they want to have some holiday party, do it on their own time. Say after school or on the weekend, and participation is voluntary.

  • Spartacus

    Not necessarily . Some people grin when they’re nervous or confused, it’s pretty common .

  • Sick of it

    Or – “That terrible Swedish Jew” as he was referred to at West Point. He was also a friend of the ever wonderful Bernard Baruch. I expect this post will be gone by the end of the day.

  • Sick of it

    They’ve been pretty successful at suppressing the truth to date.

  • NoMosqueHere

    I disagree sharply. The US would be much better off with Romney for sure. Obama is not the first black president. He’s the first third world president and is laying the ground work for a permanent third world future for the US, which would include Obamacare. I take no comfort in knowing that Obama (as opposed to Romney) will push the country to a race war of some kind faster.

    • Alexandra1973

      Republicans are no better than Democrats.

      In fact, I saw a cute bumper sticker that said “Elephants and asses, screwing the masses.” (Ass=donkey in this case.)

  • WR_the_realist

    It may be that the only whites Republicans care about are rich whites. But the only whites Democrats care about are gay, lesbian, or transgendered. They don’t care about straight whites, whether rich, middle class, or working class. Most white people have no party at all that could get elected and represents them.