Believe in Government, Believe in Me

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If you believe
that Government provides the solutions, then you have to believe
in me. As a member of an elected board of education I have been
granted the power to mandate solutions to local education and health
issues, real or perceived. My qualifications: I was elected to my
position by receiving sufficient votes to beat enough of the
other candidates. I was not elected by a majority, more like a plurality
of the 25% or so residents who chose to vote in that election. Not
much of a mandate, but I will take what I can get.

You see, once
ensconced on the board, the fact that close to 85% of the residents
in my district of voting age either voted against me, or decided
my election was not worth their time, carries no weight. The power
vested in my position, and now in me, by Ohio state law does not
depend on unanimity of support. It does not even depend on majority
support. All I needed was to be the marginal vote-getter in an off-year
election and the board seat was mine.

Interestingly,
the same folks who would never accept my omniscience as a friend,
neighbor, or community member, accept my omniscience as an elected
official. Of course these folks don’t consciously acknowledge my
omniscience, but they do subscribe to the omniscience of the governmental
body, the school board in this instance. It is as if the board as
a whole attains a higher plane of reason where the whole is multiples
of the sum of the parts. In reality, most board members are
simply parents trying to make the best decisions for their
own children. Certainly they pray that they are right, but they
do not subscribe to their omniscience at home, just in the board
room.

Based on lots
of research and agonizing internal reasoning, or simply the result
of my then-current whim and fancy, I get to make decisions that
affect the lives and future of other's children. All it takes is
for an article in an education periodical or posting on a web site
to catch my attention and I could be advocating the next nuttiness
in your life. Should someone suggest that children today are overfed
and under-exercised, I could be writing the new policies, procedures,
and guidelines that mandate each child eat nothing but organic carrots
at lunch and perform sets of jumping-jacks at their desks on the
hour, every hour.

Sound far-fetched?
Well, it's not. Every crazy idea has both advocates and enablers.
The advocates push the issue while the enablers nod their collective
heads in approval. It really does not matter if the enablers truly
agree with the advocates since the enablers will never call the
advocates into question. The lovers of Liberty try to make a stand
but find their voices lost in the sea of feel-good, collective consensus-building.
The crazy idea then ends up before the board and I get to decide.
Will whim and fancy, or research and reason, be my guide? You never
can really tell.

So I get to
decide on the issue while you get to fear the results as the occasional
band of roaming morons spray paint SUVs, demand that KFC play Mozart
in their slaughterhouses — yes, the chicken we eat must be slaughtered
somewhere, and protest McDonalds and Wal-Mart as evil incarnate.
These are products of a system that I get to run based on my world-view,
or the world-view that piques my interest at any given time.

And I get to
change with the winds, not so much based on political pressures,
but based on the ideas or ideals that I believe today that all children
must believe tomorrow. As my views flutter in the wind, new advocates
arrive on the scene and the increase of crazy ideas reaches hurricane
speeds while the enablers bob their heads in accelerating unison.

The problem
is that local government is simply comprised of friends, neighbors,
community members, who you generally appreciate but whose views
on very personal matters, such as parenting, are not always the
same as yours; just as you do not always agree with the parental
decisions of those closest to you — your parents and siblings. In
fact, one of the easiest ways to end a family reunion in anger is
to begin telling siblings how to raise their children.

In addition,
even if I possessed the latest research on education and had advanced
reasoning skills, as an elected official, a member of government,
the best I can offer is my opinions and beliefs, and I am wrong
more often than right. Education research is based on standards
that can never match consumer desires, and all opinions and beliefs
of that research are nothing more than an individual's bias. Without
a free market and real consumers driving the education system, expect
waste and inefficiencies; failures. But give us, your school boards,
power and we will decide; we will indoctrinate as we see fit, based
on our own biases or those biases fed to us by educationist organizations.

But society
must allow parents to raise and indoctrinate their children as they
see fit, not as the unionized wing of government sees fit. Thomas
Jefferson believed that it was far better to suffer the occasional
fool than to create a school system that offends fathers, and mothers.
I assume that the majority of parents would opt for their own
decision-making skills if pushed to decide, but I may be wrong.

Why do so many
people have such little faith in their own parenting, and their
neighbors’ parenting, that they truly believe that without a unionized
labor force inculcating children, nothing of value will ever be
learned? Are we really at the point where the future of civilization
is in the hands of the public school education monopoly? Maybe preschool
should start right after birth so that parents have no
adverse influence on their children. And, why do residents
feel that I can make the decisions for their children that they
would not allow to be made by members of their own family?

The answer
is that they have accepted collectivism in the form of government
as the solution. Whereas our forebears rebelled against such paternalism
— or do-gooder nanny-ism — the current generations have come to
accept government in all facets of their lives. We allow the schools
to dictate our children's future and simply assume that the schools
are always rights. We allow the local health department and schools
to decide what goes in our children's lunch boxes and accept that
mandate as correct.

How in the
world did my election to the board cloak me in the cape of omniscience
and allow me to be more enlightened than regular folks? Karl Marx
and the other socialists and communists saw little need for
the family and other institutions; they believed that they knew
better. Gramsci, the Italian socialist, believed that socialism
would win in the end if it based its means on a strategy of long-term
goals; a Fabian approach. Why fight in the streets when the damage
can be done by destroying families and institutions?

In many ways,
we have allowed socialist collectivism to be the main outcome of
public education. The schools create the environment that nurtures
the advocate and encourages the complacency of the enabler.
It is really no wonder that the collective body, the school board,
is assumed to be omniscient while the individual board member, in
his non-board role, is simply considered one in the crowd.

Don’t simply
sit back and be a silent enabler, stand for freedom against
the aggressions of the advocator. And remember, if this is
so, that the schools and all other local governments are always
right, that simply means that I am always right. And even I do not
agree with that.

June
30, 2006

Jim
Fedako [send him mail], a former
professional cyclist who lives in Lewis Center, OH, is a member
of the Olentangy Local School District and maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist.

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