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Crisis in Culture:
Destroying the Foundation of Intellectual Freedom

When we as a culture that claims to value diversity accepts without hardly a whimper the wholesale elimination of the foundation of intellectual diversity it is hard to believe. When some claim laws against the foundation of intellectual freedom is essential to the preservation of democracy I don’t know who they are kidding. But when the majority rally to support that position we have a very serious crisis on our hands. We have a crisis of freedom, a crisis of intellectual, personal and cultural freedom greater than this country has ever seen.

What if the government passed national laws requiring all grocery stores to carry the same products and position them in the same place in the store. Seasonal items would have to appear on the same days nationwide, and on the same aisles and shelves. Department stores and hardware stores would also be required to all carry the same products and arrange their stores in the same way. Apartment complexes would have to have the same layout and the same numbering system. Of course they would all be required to have the same floor plans also. Houses, of course, would be required to have the same floor plans, the same size doors, the same size steps, the same size bathtubs, the same everything.

The argument for this nationwide standardization of everything is 1. So if Johnny moves to a different state it will be a simple matter for him to adapt. He won’t have to experience anything different from where he came from. And 2. Everybody has the right to the same quality of life. Universal standardization will help insure that.

I know this sounds absurd, but think what we have done. Intellectual diversity is far more important than the diversity sacrificed by the above example. Intellectual diversity is the basis of religious freedom, of cultural diversity, and of the fundamental rights of individuals to be who they are, and to become where there heart leads them. And education is the basis of intellectual freedom or the lack of it.

And yet we are afraid that if we allow intellectual freedom it will somehow undermine the integrity of our “democracy.” If Sally moves from one corner of the country to the other we want to enroll her in school where she will continue studying the same thing right where she left off. We want to save her the growth of encountering any diversity in thought. We want all schools to be the same, to teach the same subjects, to require exactly the same content. These are called the “Essential Learnings.”

Already we have accepted state wide “Essential Learnings.” Few realize that the parameters of the “Essential Learnings” have been set by the Federal Government to insure a nationwide uniformity of educational product. Children are no longer people; they are products.

The first principle argument for the elimination of diversity by law is based simply on a fear of diversity. The reasons for this fear are many. If Sally moves to a different state and has to adapt to a different curriculum her test scores may suffer. This assumes two things: 1. Learning is not what is important. We don’t go to school to learn. We go there to get good test scores. 2. Diversity is not important. What we might learn from encountering diversity is not important.

The second argument for nationwide standardization of education is based only on confusion. The educational system in this country has confused equal educational opportunity with equal educational achievement. All people having the same knowledge and skills upon graduation is not the measure of equal educational opportunity. That is the measure of the elimination of educational opportunity in favor of brainwashing and cultural engineering. It is not the function of government to decide what people must learn. It is the function of government to protect the right of people to learn what they want.

Equal educational opportunity means having the resources available to learn those knowledge, traits and skills that the individual student and her family chooses. If Jennifer wants to learn chemical engineering and is given the resources she needs to master this technological voodoo she has been provided educational opportunity. But if Joe wants to learn the Vedic science of Mantra and is denied the resources he needs to learn this and instead is given the resources to learn chemical engineering, then he has not been given equal educational opportunity with Jennifer. Giving all students the same knowledge and skills has nothing to do with equal educational opportunity.

As long as we as a culture continue to equate freedom from diversity with equality we will not only not achieve equality, we will lose freedom. Government enforcement of “Essential Learnings” is a grave threat to intellectual freedom. Intellectual freedom forms the basis of both religious and cultural freedom. Government controlled or enforced “Essential Learnings” are a grave threat not only to intellectual freedom, but to religious freedom, cultural freedom, and to the rights of a free people in a democracy.

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Last updated: 2001SEP01 21:45 PDT