"The people never give up their liberty but under some delusion."
[Edmund Burke 1784]
It is the nature and intent of that delusion which I want to explore in this talk in the hope of better enabling us to know what it might be worthwhile to attempt to do to improve conditions for us as home educators, and what might be hopeless action or worse. Please bear with me if what follows does not at first seem to have much to do with home education. I promise I will try to justify its inclusion.
The state is the principle manufactory of mass delusion, and almost everything it does has this quality of appearing to be one thing, but really being another, usually opposite thing. Parliaments are really now reduced to little more than pantomimes, staged to entertain us with the illusion of sovereign government we voted for, as it simply dresses up and puts into place the directives of global governance to which it is signed up and legally committed to. Much of what passes for national policy can be found in the EC Lisbon 10 year strategies (1) and in the UN Agenda21 (2) for example, but these are not the only sources. There is a vast bewildering world of more institutions than it is possible to imagine let alone remember out there, all dedicated to expertly determining for us how we shall all live, and what we will think and believe and even feel about it all. Web surf through this morass sometime if you have never done so, and you will begin to understand your intended place in the totally managed world.
Only the other day I stumbled across the International Union of Local Authorities (3) which has been going for 98 years - pause to take in the possibility of anachronism here! If you have ever wondered how local government in one country can manage to oppress home educators in seemingly identical ways with identical prejudices and modus operandi, then here is a contender for one efficient mechanism for globalising bad practice! Amusingly in attempting to re-source this organisation I fell over another couple in the same field before finding my way back to this one. One of them cheerfully informed me that half the legislation affecting local government came from the EC.
So, even the institutions of local and national government itself as we are taught to understand them are mostly a delusion. The real power and planning happens elsewhere behind the scenes, and national government is reduced now to puppet status the world over. One world government is with us already, and this is no 'conspiracy theory'. As G. Edward Griffin (4) points out, “Very few major events of the past have occurred in the absence of conspiracies. To think that our modern age must be an exception is not rational.” (5) If we don't know this, then perhaps our own educations in history have been somewhat lacking?
The use of this term as ridicule of critics of the state is understandable as a good example of how what pass for our own thoughts are handed to us by the state. "Deception is a state of mind, and the mind of the state" (7) wrote James Angleton, Head of Counterintelligence at the CIA from 1954 to 1974 who was in a position to know I think. It is an indefensible and demonstrable nonsense to apply the term ‘conspiracy theory’ to what can be so easily demonstrated to be the case from the very architects themselves. Aldous Huxley knew what he was writing about in Brave New World, because his whole family were world controller class and intelligentsia. His Director of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre explains: "at last the child's mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child's mind. And not the child's mind only. The adult's mind too-all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides - made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions... Suggestions from the State." (7)
Julian Huxley, Aldous Huxley's older brother was the first director of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. He wrote its mission statement in 1946 in which he said “in its educational programme it can stress the ultimate need for world political unity and familiarise all peoples with the implications of the transfer of full sovereignty from separate nations to a world organisation.” (8) (9)
It is not possible to reconcile this statement with fighting for king and country which was therefore a con, these being slated for obsolescence even as the war was being fought, and indeed long before that. The UN and its various agencies, through its 1,298 treaties (10) that national governments are signed up to implementing in domestic law, is, the global governance, and its founding documents, as above, and other sources reveal that this was always its mission. A not dissimilar ambition to Hitler's just defeated unification mission also, but such unification was never going to come about through military conquest. War did provide the excuse for implementing much the same agenda through peaceful means, and how we have come to understand the mission of the UN as world peacekeeper and thus feel such affiliation gratitude and reverence for it. It is not too cynical unfortunately to see the two World Wars of the twentieth century as the manufacture of a problem, justifying the solution (the UN), which turns out not to be what it seems at all, but merely similar world conquest ambition in disguise. Indeed the League of Nations formed after WW1 was the prototype of the UN and its 'International Commission on Intellectual Cooperation' which doesn't sound any less totalitarian in its implications was simply rebranded as UNESCO. WW2 therefore served to further advance a pre-existent covert agenda. It was as necessary for the success of the UN and its one world government agenda as 9/11 was necessary for the Patriot Act and the rest of the destruction of civil liberties in America and across the globe since then.
Still on the subject of state deception, and on a truly audacious scale scarcely grasped today, is the export to Britain and I expect other countries as well, I don't know, please tell me, of the American 'charter school' model of pretended local control over education. Charlotte Iserbyt, a one-time federal education department insider turned whistle blower is who you need to read in order to understand this new con. She has written a book entitled 'The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America' in which she accesses her impressive archive of documents she herself sneaked out the department in which the real agendas are revealed. This is online also. (11)
Localism in all its forms in fact, not just in education is a con, masking its opposite, stronger centralised control. In England legislation is and has been going through at speed to put in place a new possibility amongst other things for dealing with the problem of people like us escaping. There is currently an intention to set up government-funded, free, private online courses aimed at home educators under this charter school movement. It has had the cheek to steal the name of the free schools it suppressed to give them that fake credential. It is to be hoped they would not get away with such an insult to Spain but how well do you know your own history? So while our government is distracting some of us, continuing the facade of pretending to be our friends and tinkering with guidelines documents, this runaway train is heading for us and set to take most of us out.
If you are not familiar with the story of the wild, free and fierce Okefenokee swamp pigs, which were lured by free grain as a fence was very slowly constructed around them that they were free to come and go through until they weren't, and were all taken to market, then this is easy to find online, and is a good metaphor I think for how the problem of Britain's escapees are to be rounded up, the easier to then persecute a much smaller number of refuseniks, and especially at a time when the government is robbing us and impoverishing us to an extent likely to make us hungry enough to go for their free grain.
To take another incredible example, a 2006 statutory instrument regulating school registration preserved the wording of the earlier instrument verbatim where it described the act of deregistration in such a way as lawyers understand it to mean that deregistration is immediate upon proper parental written notification of educating 'otherwise'. They added a section requiring the school to notify the LEA no later than the act of deregistration itself, in other words immediately, but then they stated in the accompanying guidance that a delay in deregistration was permissible in order to allow time for a letter to be sent to the LEA. This was at a time when a secure intranet was being set up between schools and the LEA so this was clearly an opportunistic nonsense, intended to give the LEA an opportunity to 'change the minds' of the intending home educator, but also to incrementally advance the principle of parental responsibility override, and there is no more fundamental principle to hang on to than the primacy of parental responsibility for education.
Through an additional and confusing addition to the original regulation that seemed to allow for the possibility of a delay, and the clear statement in guidance that this was indeed how it was to be understood, a lay understanding, and that means an LEA officers understanding also, was introduced which contradicted a barristers understanding of the new instrument, that deregistration remained as it was, immediate upon proper notification. The point I want to make is that the legislative body itself will not shrink from lying about what the law is, and the biggest lie about education throughout the world is that school is compulsory when mostly it is education that is. These duplicitous acts should be born in mind, if contemplating seeking legislation from government. If you can't do what Orwell called doublethink yourself, in order to anticipate what government will get out of what you want from it, then you had better not be talking to them at all for everyone’s sake.
Only the other day I read a journalist commenting in the thoughtful online 'Scottish Review' that he had personally witnessed “civil servants exquisitely craft sentences that have at least seven different meanings, ambiguity at its highest. And why do they do it? In order to keep as many interests on board as possible.” (12) I can certainly recognise that this is the way our government writes, although I may still be missing something in not being able to count as high as seven usually. Home educators in Britain are familiar with government guidelines documents and even statute itself which is written in this way to be all things to all people despite the unavoidability of embodying impossible contradictions in order to do so: 'doublethink'.
The global education system turns out to be designed from its inception to prevent true education, or at least bias it so grossly as to effectively rob us all of our own minds, through kindergarten to PHd. (13)
The institution of state compulsion schooling was born in its current form in the 18th century absolutist monarchies of Prussia and Austria to serve those totalitarian regimes which were failing in their control over the hearts and minds and bodies of its subject people largely through failing to successfully suppress literacy. (14, 15) The model it created was so successful that the world flocked to Prussia and brought it back to their own countries.
In Spain 100 years later at the turn of the 19th and twentieth centuries there was civil unrest in which the Catholic church schools which could be quite brutal, and the monarchy were equally hated, and precipitating revolt. Just as in Prussia and Austria a century earlier where 'the lower orders' were turning their backs on official schooling which did not teach literacy, and favouring instead their own 'back street schools' which did, so there was revolt in Spain against the 50 to 70 percent illiteracy then. Francisco Ferrer founded the first 'free school' which despite his own incarceration for a year without trial, and subsequent state murder without trial by firing squad, spawned a school movement that finds its few unsuppressed remnants today in the Sudbury Valley Schools in America, in Summerhill in England which our government recently unsuccessfully tried to shut down, and a handful of others dotted around the world.
Ferrer's free schools were schools in which children's own agendas were not banished, in which there was no compulsion, where the pupils and staff democratically ran the school, and if you punished a pupil it earned you permanent dismissal. In one account I read, I don't know if it was reliable, it was claimed that at their peak in the early twentieth century more children attended the free schools than the state schools.
All the above is by way of trying to paint a picture from history which might usefully inform us about now, because like 18th century Prussia and 19th century Spain, or England which maintained a paper tax known at the time as a knowledge tax, long after the introduction of state schooling, power was in trouble, and in danger of losing its grip fatally for it, and it is again today largely due to the ICT revolution rendering its old factory schooling system obsolete and an anachronism. The growing numbers of home educators discovering and exercising their suppressed freedoms is a symptom of that and a dangerous one potentially for power. This is why we are suddenly such an obsession for governments the world over.
As I understand it in Spain as in Britain, education is compulsory, but school is not, and the law in both countries does not thus limit how education is to happen, therefore this is our liberty, our freedom to choose, and this is also supposedly guaranteed in human rights legislation.
What we can see around the world in nearly every country, are basically one of two strategies operating to deal with this threat to absolutism - outright suppression, and integration. Both spell death to the self-owned and directed life where the learner is in charge of their own learning, and they are employed on a 'whatever works' basis depending on how established and assertive home educators are in a country. Integration of home education into the state education system is another form of death because as Gatto rhetorically asks in a question which formed the title of one of his early essays “Why fix a system designed to destroy individual thought?” (16)
Clearly it is impossible.
- http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/eeurope/i2010/ict_and_lisbon/index_en.htm http://ec.europa.eu/archives/growthandjobs_2009/
5. “There is nothing about my work that merits being classified as a conspiracy theory. In modern context, it is customary to associate the phrase “conspiracy theory” with those who are intellectually handicapped or ill informed. Using emotionally loaded words and phrases to discredit the work of others is to be rejected. If I am to be called a conspiracy theorist, then Flaherty cannot object if I were to call him a conspiracy poo-pooist. The later group is a ridiculous bunch, indeed, in view of the fact that conspiracies are so common throughout history. Very few major events of the past have occurred in the absence of conspiracies. To think that our modern age must be an exception is not rational. Facts are either true or false. If we disagree with a fact, our job is to explain why, not to use emotionally-loaded labels to discredit those who disagree with us.” MEET EDWARD FLAHERTY, CONSPIRACY POO-POOIST: A Response to a critic of The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin 2004 http://www.freedomforceinternational.org/freedomcontent.cfm?fuseaction=meetflaherty&refpage=issues
6. Quoted in the book, DECEPTION by Edward Jay Epstein (Simon & Schuster, April 1989) ISBN: 06714154330-06-092987-1
7. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley; Perennial, Reprint edition, 1 September 1998; ISBN
8. Unesco Its Purpose and Its Philosophy, Julian Huxley, 1946 http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0006/000681/068197eo.pdf
9. James Warburg: "We shall have world government, whether or not we like it. The question is only whether world government will be achieved by consent or by conquest." (Feb. 17, 1950, to the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations)
13. I came across a PHd thesis about home education and home educators the other day written by a non home educator who I had earlier locked horns with, which shocked me, and in which critics like me of government and the conscious or unconscious complicit meddling of academia were described in the words of Maggie Thatcher as 'the enemy within'! The thesis is not in the public domain so I can't give you a reference to it unfortunately, but it does illustrate how it is possible to get stabbed in the back by someone calling themselves a friend of home education in response to robust criticism of this person's work which was as unwanted to them as their interest in me was to me. I have never been called anything like that by any home educator, however strongly some have disagreed with me, and I have been known to a few hundred over many years. So beware of academia, it is part of the system whether those making their careers in it realise what they are part of or not, and it is clear from some of their writings that some are absolutely clueless of the part they are playing in the machine. Even the friendly ones may be bad news for us, and can act as a conduit by means of which our language may be harvested and debased by power in order to reinvent and pervert what we are about until it can be safely integrated into the system. It can be a true parrallel universe, when it comes to talking about who we are and what we do - the incomprehension and scholarly wrong assumptions simply staggering. If you haven't encountered Daniel Monk or Rob Reich they are prime examples of what I am talking about. Their projections of the faults of the system onto its victims are staggering to read. Academia is not a neutral institution. there are no neutral institutions and at best it is a two edged sword, be very careful how you use this part of the system.
14. The Underground History of American Education, John Taylor Gatto, Odysseus Group, Nov 2000 ISBN 0945700040
15. Absolutism and the Eighteenth-Century Origins of Compulsory Schooling in Prussia and Austria, James Van Horn Melton, Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 13 Nov 2003, ISBN-10: 0521528569
Law and Liberty
I am not a lawyer and have no legal training or qualifications, but like many home educators I have had to try to understand the law as it relates to our unwanted choice to home educate. Indeed it is widely recognised in the UK that home educators and not lawyers, even specialists in education law, may know the law better, and many solicitors have been successfully briefed by unqualified home educators.
In attempting to better understand the law in Spain and its different relationship of semi-autonomous regions to national government, and the relationship of national education law to regional education law, I found that my particular questions about this relationship, such questions as can the regions legally impose schooling, effectively banning home education when national law only prescribes education not schooling, were not being answered. I concluded that it was hopeless for me to attempt a good enough understanding of the legal landscape here, and that I had better confine my observations to general principles learned from our English experience and hope that they may be of some value. I also found myself wondering as I read, if Spanish home educators might still need to learn more about the law than seemed evident to me. What I can say is that until we were blessed with the wholehearted engagement of a home educating barrister in England, our knowledge of the law, while basically mostly correct, was perhaps also rudimentary in some respects, and certainly not as nuanced as it was enabled to become through this expert help.
The idea that home education, or anything for that matter, can be neither legal nor illegal seemed like an error to me, as does the idea of 'un vacuo legal', which I take to mean a legal vacuum, meaning the law is silent about the activity in question.
Where the law is silent about something, this is where our liberty resides. If something is not unlawful then it is by default lawful, and there is liberty to pursue the thing in any way one chooses so long as doing so does not break other laws as a consequence.
To take the English legal situation, parents are under a legal obligation to ensure 'suitable education' is 'received', and suitable is defined in the statute as 'efficient, full time' and 'suitable to age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs'. This is to be ensured by means of 'regular attendance at school or otherwise'. Those wonderful two words 'or otherwise' are as far as the law goes, it does not go on to specify those other ways. So long as we meet the criteria of 'suitable', we can do what we like, and we do. The term 'home education' or anything similar meaning that, is not used in the statute, it is by default one possible legal means to meet the parental obligation to ensure suitable education is received.
Where the law does not regulate, neither can government nor local authority. It cannot lawfully fill that vacuum the phrase almost invites, and there can be no doubt that the activity is lawful if it is not proscribed in law. Welfare laws require parents to adequately feed and clothe and shelter their children, but they do not specify a diet, a minimum standard of clothing, or dwelling. So long as these don't appear to be insufficient to ensure the general welfare of the child, parents are left to get on with it. Despite school being the largest economic sector on earth, with all the vested interest and elite agendas determining it, school in most countries remains merely one of the ways to provide an education, that's all.
And that as I understand it is how matters should be in both our countries, with the choice left to parents who should only come to the attention of the authorities, if, in the words of the English statute, 'it appears that a child.....is not receiving a suitable education'. Only then are they put on enquiry for breach of the general law.
But sadly, we all know that in both our countries life is not as it should be, and the authorities tend to be far more intrusive than their powers lawfully allow, and that a fight through the courts, which is usually successful here I read, may be necessary to obtain the law. The problem would therefore seem to be essentially one of either simple ignorance of the law by local enforcement officers, or willful misunderstanding of the law, resulting in unlawful harassment of law abiding parents.
As I have previously argued, the institution of forced state schooling is built on lies and is vulnerable to exposure to the truth that it is not needed in order to produce productive well socialised adults. This is reason enough to explain its hostility. Forcing you to do what you don't want to do, or falsely imprisoning you is bullying, and the system therefore is a bully. It seems to me that it would be a grave mistake to effectively appease the bully by fudging the issue of whether it has the law on its side, where it does not, by asking it to specifically legislate to enable home education to be practiced. In England home educators simply asserted the right as a reasonable interpretation of the 'or otherwise' clause by showing that it met the 'suitable' criteria for an education.
There was an amusing incident in an early 1950s court case where an LEA was attempting to prosecute a home educator for not obeying their school attendance order and sending her children to school. The wretched jobsworth in the LEA as he was running out of arguments, complained bitterly that, 'parliament never envisaged a Mrs Baker, there has never been a Mrs Baker'. (1) Well it was probably true that parliament never intended the non-aristocracy to notice that there really can be one law for the rich and another for the rest but only if the rest can be kept ignorant of the law! Sadly fooling most of the people for most of their lives with a non-existent obligation to send ones child to school has been only too successful.
If the state is hostile to home education, which it is, because it sees it as a form of leakage or escape from its absolutist ambitions for the totally planned society, and if that state is a consummate deceiver with a hidden workforce/predictable consumer moulding agenda, which it is, then it is surely neither realistic to expect its regulation of home education not to be subverted to these system ends, nor to hope for further improvement once regulation has been obtained. Indeed gradualism or incrementalism, a process of slow social change that takes the long view and accepts two steps forward and one step back, the way outlined by the English Fabian society, which of course is now international like everything else, and the principle modus operandi of bringing about change, will be put to work by government in the opposite direction from the one we desire to go in. Don't give them the opportunity to get started on the destruction of this essential liberty wherever they haven't already usurped it.
State absolutism achieved in education is a truly frightening and evil thing. In Germany where this system was born in absolutism to more efficiently serve it, they have achieved that, and that country's state dictionary defines home education as child abuse, and no one knows any better, because there is almost no one who has not been schooled to be able to know from their own experience the truth of the matter. It is not only OK to snatch children from their beds in the middle of the night to foster them to strangers and not tell their loving parents where they are, it is their duty to do so to protect them from such parents. (2) Mass psychosis is my word for it.
Our experience of dealing with our own increasingly hostile government in England shows us that it is possible to defend the primary legislation that grants arguably good enough freedom, for now at least to successfully prevent the government from making us apply for licences to educate our children ourselves, which is what compulsory registration would mean. It is even possible to make the government admit in writing as it did in the last guidelines document it issued in 2007 ‘Local authorities have no statutory duties in relation to monitoring the quality of home education on a routine basis.'(3) This was a suggestion from us for a change!
So, if at all possible obtain from government, statements confirming the legality of home education, the nonexistence of statutory duties to monitor, or whatever, in preference to actually changing the law to say these things, because in the former scenario you still have your liberty under the law, plus this protection from local despotism of a government telling them what the law means. I suspect the suggestion from the Spanish constitutional court in 2010 to write enabling legislation for alternative ways to educate including home education, might come under Huxley's 'suggestions from the state'! If there is the possibility that the lack of proscription can be understood as liberty in this aspect of life, and a statement made by government to that effect, then this would be infinitely preferable to loss of that liberty.
The French political economist Frederic Bastiat (4) around 1850 stressed the importance of the law embodying justice, because without that it had no natural legitimacy. Justice should be the only business of law he maintained, but he also stressed that justice is achieved not by legislating for it, but by legislating to prevent injustice. Law he said should be negative, not positive, or by implication enabling. Under his system of law, if you can overlook the sin of coercing education in the first place, within that context in England we have negative law protecting our liberty, not regulation ensuring we comply by a system of licencing and inspections.
It only seems possible to lobby government either for what it already wants you to lobby it for, and has brainwashed us into doing, or if it is something that isn't wanted, but you are persistent enough, it will find ways to appear to give you what you want, or the hope of eventually getting it in order to keep 'government by consent' going. Only for as long as it can keep you talking can it claim its fake democratic listening credentials, so if there is to be talk make that talk count for something, not just treading water. Only the government benefits from that as it continues to advance against you on other fronts. Distraction burglary is one of their ways.
Credibly threaten to break off talks that are going nowhere, or refuse cosy chats in their corridors of power that have no clear purpose or prior shared agenda. Let them know there is a line they can cross that if they cross it, then they risk losing this constituency and their faked appearance of listening which is so important to them. Be aware for eg. that consultations are not consultations at all, they are SATS, standard assessment tests to determine how well or how poorly we have understood what it wants us on board with, and provides them therefore with useful intelligence as to any problems the prior agenda may run into, and how best to spin the PR. With this in mind it is none the less possible to respond to their rigged exercise on your own terms. Colluding with trying to make a silk purse out of their sows ear, to use an English expression is doomed to failure as the original agenda gains its appearance of consent thereby. Destructively testing their love, is better than imagining we have to be 'good' to avoid being punished. That's just a projection from unhappy childhood.
It is three decades since the Westminster government first expressed a desire to force home educators to register with local government. They tried to sneak through withholding de-registration from schools only this year, hoping we wouldn't notice, and then dropped it like a hot potato the minute they got caught. It was almost comical.
Despite such telling behaviours our common fear is that they will just bulldoze something unwanted through regardless of our feelings about it, but brute force, direct head on confrontation like that never seems to get closer than threat, and had they succeeded they must have known that they would be pushing us too far and into civil disobedience territory. Such acts of domestic terrorism by our own government upon us serve they hope to make us grateful for lesser attrition, but we do not have to be so manipulable.
Withdrawing consent then would seem like a way to neutralise the preferred modus operandi of government which is to keep you on board, while tricking you into believing you might be getting somewhere in obtaining what you want. Find ways to say no to it that you personally feel able to do. Easier said than done I know, but just saying it on publically accessible forums will rattle them, and even provide good entertainment sometimes in their response, which is another story I don't have time for now! They do not want their games exposed.
A change of intolerable scoundrels every five years serves to keep the illusions of democracy going while the real agenda, along with the new despots, con artists and honest dupes enjoys a honeymoon period as it carries on without a pause. Had the new legislation in 2010 succeeded then it would almost certainly have moved into the territory of open defiance of the measures, such as Australian home educators demonstrate by recognising that there is the 'permissive' and 'non permissive' routes into home education.
In Australia breaking the law has a recognised name for a choice! (3) In Queensland alone between 7,000 and 11,000 children are home educated by otherwise law abiding people who will not stomach this imposition because they know it is wrong. A dangerous precedent for any government to set surely, educating its citizens on the limits to its own power.
Government seeks legitimacy and consent and this is so deeply embedded now in the modus operandi of modern government that it will go to extraordinary lengths, including removing hated impositions like the children's database or ID cards in England in order not to suffer widespread civil disobedience. We are far from being as powerless as the monolith of government would like us to believe is the case.
Negotiating with government is never legitimate if it results in negotiating away liberties, because they are not yours to concede and belong to everyone and to future generations. You will be rightly hated and vilified if you do this, and what is more you will have yourself become part of illegitimate government. Pragmatic ideas of 'this is the best we can get' may or may not be self-fulfilling prophesies. If your approach is of this fatalistic kind, and this is fatalism, then this is what you will get and so will our children and their children, and they might not thank you for it.
We are not in the enviable position of being able to choose a safe and easy way to protect our children from such an exploitative and abusive system. There are also obvious limits to the potential for direct civil disobedience if it empowers state kidnap of our children by way of response, but that does not mean we are powerless and can do nothing because of this exploitable vulnerability. While the law remains on our side where it does, it is vital to keep it that way and law breaking authorities and government itself can be called to account for its law-breaking and misrepresentation. Better to be on the right side of good enough law, and the authorities on the wrong side of it, than to end up on the wrong side of bad law. No one wants to have to fight in order to enjoy liberty of course, but there is a much worse scenario.
1. Children in Chancery, Joy Baker, Hutchinson & Co (1964)
3. Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities,
4. Frederic Bastiat, The Law: http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html