Rebirth of Reason


An Educational Game
by Joseph Rowlands

In a previous article, I made the claim that education is almost universally recognized as a value. So this article is dedicated to the idea of education. And to help present the idea, I’m putting it into the form of a game.

The rules of this game are simple. We’re going to pretend that we’re running the government. But instead of valuing education, we’re going to pretend that we disvalue education. We’re going to pretend that our goal is to cripple the minds of children, and leave them helpless to deal with the world around them. This isn’t to say that people running the government believe this. I don’t think they do. But let’s just see what kind of actions we would take given this insane goal.

Children have a strong tendency to want to understand and master the world around them. They’re very curious, and given the chance, they’ll try to learn on their own. To prevent this, the first thing we’d need to do is lock up all of the children. To ensure this, we’d have to create government run buildings where the children can be stored.

One of the biggest threats to preventing education is the parents. They’re always wanting their children to be smarter and better informed so they can do something with their lives. We could probably trick many of these parents into voluntarily sending their children to our anti-education facilities if we lied about their purpose. We’ll just claim that these buildings are actually there to provide education, instead of prevent it. We’ll call them “schools”.

That won’t trick all of the parents, though. Some will realize what’s really going on, and not send their children there. Easy enough. We’ll pass a law requiring mandatory attendance. Working with our previous strategy, we can even claim that this law is to ensure that every child gets an education. We’ll claim that anyone opposing this law is a child-hater, bent on keeping children ignorant.

We still have the problem of those curious children, though. You can’t leave them alone for a minute, or they’ll make some new connection, or discover some new fact. Just putting them into a building for a large chunk of the day isn’t going to do the job. We’re going to need a lot more if we’re going to really prevent education.

For instance, one of the fastest ways of gaining information is through other people. Children rely on more experienced people to pass them information. We can do a few things to prevent this. First, we have to separate students by age, to make sure they can’t pass on information. Older kids might try explaining things to younger kids. We want everyone surrounded by people of the same level of education, so that no child can help any other child to learn. Since teaching is a good way to master a set of knowledge, this has the added effect of preventing the older students from acquiring a deeper understanding.

We can also prevent children from working together to acquire knowledge by preventing interaction. A nice trick is to shove children into desks where they’re not allowed to interact with each other. This has the added advantage that they will lack the freedom to pursue their own education.

Of course, we can’t forget that the best defense is a good offense. So far we’ve limited ourselves to just stopping children from learning. But children are sneaky. They can’t be watched all the time. We need a more aggressive goal if we’re going to really put an end to education.

The first technique is information overload. If we bombard them with un-integrated trivia, demanding that they remember it all but showing no real connection between them, we’ll be able to actively prevent them from learning. Their minds will be constantly working, but never along the correct paths. They won’t gain understanding, and the facts will useless. Of course, we’ll need people to provide this useless trivia. We’ll bring in adults to lecture throughout the day. To add to the whole fraud angle, we can even call them teachers.

Of course, this is only a short term solution. We can keep them busy while their under our control, but what about in the long term. Eventually they’ll become adults, and they’ll be on their own. If we really want to prevent education, we have to do a much more thorough job. I envision a two part strategy.

The first part to permanently prevent education is to destroy the children’s ability to learn. This can be done in a myriad of ways. Teach an un-integrated view of history. Have them spend their time memorizing useless trivia. Encourage them to accept ideas from authority figures on faith. Give them contradictions and claim that they’re true, in order to prevent logical consistency. After years of this torture, it’d be extremely difficult for them to recover.

The second part to permanently preventing education is to destroy education as a value. This is the easiest to do. If you can make them think that learning necessarily works this way, they won’t want any part of it. Even if they believe that education is a worthwhile goal, they won’t be willing to accept the torture involved.

We can go on and on. We can assign “homework” to prevent them from using their spare time effectively. We can lengthen the school year. We can lengthen the number of years they have to attend school. We can start them earlier since the first few years are so critical to one’s education. We can bounce them from classroom to classroom throughout the day, to prevent them from focusing. We can tell them that they’ll never need algebra in real life. We can assign them grades that have no relationship to their understanding or knowledge. The possibilities are limitless.

Education is important. End public schools.

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