The last blog touched briefly on the dangers of secular education, dangers most Catholics today, even Traditionalists homeschooling their children, well understand. But what they don’t understand is the deficits they themselves are saddled with if they were educated in public schools or even so-called “Traditionalist” schools, many of which have been racked with controversy, scandal and frequent changes in staff, providing an unstable learning environment for young children. Those educated in secular colleges or universities will have the greatest obstacles to overcome in successfully operating a home school. For unless they do their best to deprogram themselves successfully from the indoctrination they received, much of which is so deeply lodged in the intellect it escapes identification and correction, they will not be able to competently instruct their own children. Understanding the deviant nature of such indoctrination and how to combat it is key to ridding themselves of its effects.
The best expose of public (and private) schools was written in 2001 by John Taylor Gatto, who before his retirement in the 1990s was declared Teacher of the Year by both New York City and New York State. The book is based on his 30 years of teaching experience in the public school system and his many frustrations with uncooperative school administrations who failed to put children first. His book, which is heavily documented and goes into great detail, can be downloaded at https://archive.org/details/TheUndergroundHistoryOfAmericanEducation_758 Some may be familiar with Gatto’s first book Dumbing Us Down, a bestseller ever since it was released in 1992. In this work, Gatto presents the bare outline of his 2001 book, which was the result of 10-years-worth of research. Promotional material for Dumbing Us Down reads:
“John Taylor Gatto has found that independent study, community service, large doses of solitude and 1,000 different apprenticeships with adults of all walks of life are the keys to helping children break the thrall of our conforming society. For the sake of our children in our communities, John Taylor Gatto urges all of us to get schools out of the way and find ways to re-engage children and families in actively controlling our culture, economy and society.” While Gatto, who describes himself as a lapsed Catholic, is perhaps too quick to question some Catholic educational practices and leans towards personalism, an excessive freedom of individual behavior and expression, with emphasis on love of the person as an individual. (Personalism is an error emanating from ecumenism popularized by the leftist Dorothy Day and advocated by John Paul 2.) Such leanings, however, must be understood in the light of its contrary — the total eradication of the personality and the individual talents and excellences of students in public education. In his 2001 work, Gatto is insistent that the moral and faith-based principles of education are indispensable to its success.
Public schools and colleges founded on German military principles
These criticisms aside, Gatto’s work is otherwise brilliant and thought-provoking. Some of the quotes from The Underground History of Education will give the reader an idea of what to expect from his research and observations. The major premise of his work is as follows:
“It took seven years of reading and reflection to finally figure out that mass schooling of the young by force was a creation of the four great coal powers of the 19th century. Nearly 100 years later on April 11,1933, Max Mason, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, announced to insiders that the comprehensive national program was underway to allow in Mason’s words: ‘The control of human behavior…” In 1935 at the University of Chicago’s experimental school where John Dewey had once held sway, Howard C. Hill, head of the social science department, published an inspirational textbook called The Life and Work of the Citizen. The title page clearly shows four cartoon hands symbolizing law, order, science and the trades interlocked to form a near swastika. By 1935, Prussian pattern and Prussian goals had embedded themselves so deeply into the vitals of institutional schooling the heartless soul noticed the traditional purposes of the enterprise were being abandoned…” Gatto demonstrates just how the Prussian system of education was introduced in the 1800s, a system of compulsory education intended to create: “Obedient soldiers to the army; obedient workers for mines, factories and farms; well subordinated civil servants; well subordinated clerks for industry; citizens who thought alike on most issues; national uniformity in thought, word and deed.
“Traditional American school purpose — piety, good manners, basic intellectual tools, self-reliance, etc. — was scrapped to make way for something different… the compulsion school institution was assigned the task of fixing the social order into place… Society was to reflect the needs of modern corporate organizations and the requirements of rational evolution. The best breeding stock had to be protected and displayed; the supreme challenge was to specify who was who in the new hierarchical order… At the heart of the durability of mass schooling is a brilliantly designed power fragmentation system which distributes decision making so widely among so many warring interests that large scale change is impossible without a guidebook. Few insiders understand how to steer this ship and the few who do may have lost the will to control it.”
“The great destructive myth of the 20th century was the aggressive contention that a child could not grow up correctly in the unique circumstances of his own family; forced schooling was the principal agency broadcasting this attitude… God was pitched out of our schooling on his ear after World War II and this wasn’t because of any constitutional prescription (there was none that anyone had been able to find in over a century and a half), but because the political state and corporate economy considered the western spiritual tradition too dangerous a competitor… I lived through the great transformation which turns schools from often useful places into laboratories of state experimentation with the lives of children, a form of pornography masquerading as pedagogical science… The evidence of your own eyes and ears tells you that average men and women don’t really exist except as a statistical conceit… What has happened in our schools was foreseen long ago by [Thomas] Jefferson. We have been recolonized silently in a second American Revolution. Time to take our script from the country’s revolutionary start; time to renew traditional hostility toward hierarchy and tutelage.”
Fabian socialism and Hegelianism
Gatto’s keen insights predicted long ago the exact situation in which we find ourselves today: “The direction of modern schooling for the bottom 90% of our society has followed a largely Fabian design and the puzzling security and prestige enjoyed at the moment by those who speak of globalism and multiculturalism is a direct result of heed paid earlier to Fabian prophecies that a welfare state followed by an intense focus on internationalism would be the mechanism elevating corporate society over political society and is a necessary precursor to utopia… Fabian practitioners developed principles which they taught alongside Morgan bankers and other important financial allies over the first half of the 20th century. One insightful Hegelianism was that to push ideas efficiently, it was necessary first to co-opt both political left and political right. Adversarial politics competition was a losers’ game.
“By infiltrating all major media, by continual low-intensity propaganda, by massive changes in group orientations (accomplished through principles developed in the psychological warfare bureaus of the military) and with the ability, using government intelligence agents and press contacts to induce a succession of crises, they accomplished that astonishing feat… Thus the deliberate creation of crises is an important tool of evolutionary Socialists. Does that let you understand the government school drama a little better or the well-publicized doomsday scenarios of environmentalists?” And Gatto links Darwinism and its principles to the Fabians. But it doesn’t stop there. For those who want to crow about being highly educated, consider what Gatto says here:
Schools Masonic, Rockefeller funded, and psychopathic
“The whole blueprint of school procedure is Egyptian, not Greek or Roman. It grows from the theological idea that human value is a scarce thing represented symbolically by the narrow peak of a pyramid. That idea passed into American history through the Puritans. It found its scientific presentation in the Bell Curve, along which talent supposedly apportions itself by some Iron Law of Biology. It’s a religious notion [and ]school is its church. I offer rituals to keep heresy at bay. I provide documentation to justify the heavenly pyramid. School is a religion [and] without understanding the holy mission aspect you’re certain to misperceive what takes place as a result of human stupidity or venality or even class warfare. All are present in the equation… [John] Dewey’s pedagogic creed statement of 1897 gives you a clue to the zeitgeist:
“’Every teacher should realize he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of the proper social order and the securing of the right social growth. In this way the teacher is always the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of heaven.’ and John Dewey’s patron was John D. Rockefeller. Gatto explains: “The Rockefeller foundation has been instrumental through the century just passed along with a few others in giving us the schools we have. It imported the German research model into college life, elevated service to business and government as the goal of higher education, not teaching. And Rockefeller financed University of Chicago and Columbia Teachers College have been among the most energetic actors in the lower school tragedy.”
Gatto further describes public schools, even the less offensive ones, as peddlers of psychopathology. Their bewildered and confused graduates, he claims, come away from their school experience having learned emotional and intellectual dependency, indifference, memory loss, lack of self-respect and self-confidence, lack of empathy, inability to experience true intimacy, materialistic, purposeless, shallow, superficial, indecisive, entitled and perpetually fixed in adolescent mode. Perhaps this explains Traditionalists’ insane fixation with exterior religion and dependence on Traditionalist pseudo-clergy. Seldom in touch with self, always fixated on the outside world. One wonders if perhaps the some 40 or 50 percent who left the Church following Vatican 2 were those who at least had received some Catholic schooling, while the others remaining with new church had been sent to public school and CCD classes. Many of those children who are now adults in Traditionalist groups, if they were not homeschooled, doubtlessly were forced to resort to public school once Catholic schools no longer existed. (And attendance at dysfunctional Traditional schools does not count as a Catholic school education.) This accounts for their unreachability.
So given all the above, exactly why would anyone striving to be truly Catholic attend such obviously Masonic, anti-Catholic institutions or behave as though such institutions could possibly educate them in anything other than error and immorality? Why would they brag about credentials they have received from them? It is beyond belief that those homeschooling their children, Traditionalists among them, stop at the 8th or 12th grade of schooling to send their children to so-called ”conservative” high schools and colleges, even public high schools and secular colleges. That they pay to send them to such perverse academies is communicatio in sacris, cooperation in a false religion, as Gatto so well illustrates. We are to be in this world but not of it, and even if it means we might make less money or appear to be less desirable in the world’s eyes as an employee, our faith demands we spurn such institutions as inimical to our beliefs and a clear and present danger to both Church AND state.
Self-education the only option today
Gatto sums up his observations as follows: “My purpose is only to show that the wisdom tradition of American Christianity has something huge to say about where we’ve mis-stepped in mass compulsion schooling… Americans have been substantially broken away from their own wisdom tradition by forces hostile to its continuance. No mechanism employed to do this has been more important than the agency we call public schooling. In neglecting this wisdom tie, we have gradually forgotten a powerful doctrine assembled over thousands of years by countless millions of minds hearts and spirits which addresses the important common problems of life which experience has shown to be impervious to riches intellect charm science or powerful connections.” In his Dumbing Us Down, Gatto writes: “We need to trust children from a very early age with independent study… We need to invent curricula where each kid has a chance to develop private uniqueness and reliance… As they gain self-knowledge, they also will become self-teachers, and only self-teaching has any lasting value.”
In this world today, the only kind of education available to true Catholics is self-education. This is not by choice, but by necessity. What we wouldn’t give for true bishops, priests and Catholic nuns to teach us! Traditionalists, had they followed the laws of the Church, could have helped establish Catholic communities centered not on the Mass and sacraments, which they could not convey, but on catechetics, Catholic dogma and the spiritual life, which all can attain to according to their ability. They could have used the old Catholic teachings and methods to train catechists and baptizers, to instruct those aspiring to the married state and to assist parents with training in child-rearing and home-schooling. In this way strong, largely rural Catholic communities could have been built comparable to those maintained for nearly two centuries by the Amish and Mennonites.
Regarding such teaching, Pope St. Pius X taught in Acerbo Nimis, his encyclical on catechetical instruction, in 1905:
“Now we must inquire who has the duty to safeguard minds from this pernicious ignorance and impart to them the necessary knowledge on this point. Venerable brothers, there can be no doubt this very grave obligation is incumbent on all those who are pastors of souls. They are certainly obliged by the precept of Christ to know and to nourish the sheep confided to them. NOW TO NOURISH IS FIRST OF ALL TO TEACH. ‘I will give you,’ God promises by the mouth of the prophet Jeremias, ‘pastors according to my own heart and they shall feed you with knowledge and doctrine.’ And so the apostle said: ‘Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel,’ indicating thus that the first office of those who are set up in any way for the government of the church is to instruct the faithful in sacred doctrine.”
This tells us volumes. First of all, had Traditionalists truly been lawful “pastors of souls,” they would have nourished the sheep by teaching them, not setting up chapels and simulating Mass and Sacraments. Secondly, they must not have been “pastors according to My own heart,” for they did not impart to the faithful “knowledge and doctrine.” And finally, we see that such knowledge must proceed the administration of the Sacraments, as Christ himself modeled to the Apostles in establishing the Church. For only after three years of preaching and educating them did he bestow on them the power to confer the Sacraments and celebrate the Holy Sacrifice. Traditionalists calling themselves clerics were never set up in any way for “the government of the Church,” or they would have nourished the flock, not thrown them to the wolves.
Low on priests and religious to teach the faithful, the popes, beginning with the Vatican Council in 1870, did their utmost to engage Catholics in Catholic Action to fill the gap, with little success. No one rose up to bear the standard handed them by Pope Pius XII to assume the responsibilities of the hierarchy once they had all apostatized. In a column on Communism written by author Solange Hertz for The Wanderer in the 1980s, sent by a reader, we read the following:
“Fr. François Dufay, who witnessed the battle at close quarters in China [in the 1940s], says to lose no time in preparing the Church of the Catacombs: “Take as principle that normal exterior life – liturgy, teaching, apostolate – should continue as far as possible [but only when certainly valid clergy are available — Ed.]. But, at the same time, prepare Christians to preserve their essential religious life in the absence of priests, worship and Sacraments… Prepare memory aids on the dogmas of necessary means, marriage without clergy, perfect contrition, assistance to the dying, Baptism, child education, etc., and place these leaflets in safe places…”
“It would be good if trustworthy priests of high caliber were to set themselves to living the life of the people. They need profound dogmatic and spiritual formation, especially on the theology of the Church, the meaning and value of persecution and suffering, and should be steeped in the remembrance of the great saints and martyrs of the past. Thus armed, the Christian faith will use its bad times for growth in charity,” making the most of the service Communism will render it by purifying and detaching it from all that is not God here below. And again, “Actually it’s solitaries who must be found and trained, in other words, Christians capable of living their faith all alone, amid the strongest pressures, the most painful happenings and the most forbidding of deserts.”
Gatto was looking to build those strong solitaries among his students. He knew that atheistic materialism — Communism and its forerunner Fabian socialism — had infiltrated the schools. He knew that, as we learn fromthe Catholic Encyclopedia:
“• Intellectual education must not be separated from moral and religious education. To impart knowledge or to develop mental efficiency without building up moral character is not only contrary to psychological law, which requires that all the faculties should be trained but is also fatal both to the individual and to society. No amount of intellectual attainment or culture can serve as a substitute for virtue; on the contrary, the more thorough intellectual education becomes, the greater is the need for sound moral training.
“• Religion should be an essential part of education; it should form not merely an adjunct to instruction in other subjects, but the centre about which these are grouped and the spirit by which they are permeated. The study of nature without any reference to God, or of human ideal with no mention of Jesus Christ, or of human legislation without Divine law is at best a one-sided education. The fact that religious truth finds no place in the curriculum is, of itself, and apart from any open negation of that truth, sufficient to warp the pupil’s mind in such a way and to such an extent that he will feel little concern in his school-days or later for religion in any form; and this result is the more likely to ensue when the curriculum is made to include everything that is worth knowing except the one subject which is of chief importance.
“• Sound moral instruction is impossible apart from religious education. An education which unites the intellectual, moral and religious elements is the best safeguard for the home, since it places on a secure basis the various relations which the family implies.” https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05295b.htm
Tell that to those who would have us revere credentials received from these halls of “higher learning.” And when these same people advise us to give Traditionalists credit for their alleged accomplishments, when all that these “accomplishments” amount to is decades of skewing the truth, remind them of what Fr. Dufay said above. Ask them how it is that they have secured the salvation of souls and prepared their followers for these times with their perpetual bad example, infighting, immorality, and denial of the necessity of the papacy. They must answer to God for their sins. We are to avoid them, warn others against them and through prayer, penance and self-education, do our best to persevere until the very end.
“Self-education is the only option today”
I agree and disagree with this view. Although it’s a bit weird to think about, authority seems to be created or bestowed by God by those who take action to become skilled. For example, with emerging businesses like in technology, certain technologies may not have existed in the past. So one would ask then, how could authority be “transmitted” to these industries that didn’t even exist? Maybe if you have a cell phone or computer, you might go to help from an “expert” (authority?) who either figured out these new skills themselves or were taught by someone. So aren’t they then an authority, either getting authority from the skills they possess or from God based on those skills? Authority still kind of exists today.
Even among the Japanese “home aloner” Christians, they had lay leaders, a lay hiearchy. You have more knowledge that other people about some aspects of Catholicism, so you have some “authority” in that sense. Maybe it is “unofficial”. But it still very much functions in a lot of the same ways. Parents of course also know more than their children, and would be as lay authorities teaching their kids. While the Church may undergo a kind of anarchy with respect to the clergy, this does not have to mean an anarchy of the laity, even if such a hierarchy is loosely organized.
So with many secular skills there are plenty of teachers that in practice have a kind of official or unofficial authority. Governments still exist, and they certify these teachers “officially”. Like if you were to learn to become an auto mechanic, there are probably a lot of “official” teachers you could learn from, or you could watch videos online and learn by trial and error, or you might have a neighbor who could teach you how to fix vehicles. Catholics still recognize these governments (unless you’re arguing for them to be illegitimate for some reason). So it would seem that only certain Church authorities don’t exist.
Another thing is that it’s not just the self directing the education, but God sends you things. Perhaps it is a kind of education relying entirely on God rather than the self. I mean simply this may be a different way of looking at it. I used to look at some of these things as “self-education”, but really all I do is pick who I think is “authoritative enough”. And I think the Lord sends things to us to learn. Some of these teachers are actual past authorities, like when you read theologians, or others may be these “unofficial authorities” like if you watch a video online about fixing a car. But I think this process is much more like a conventional education perhaps than some of the “autodidacts” (“self-learners”) have written about it as, perhaps.
I am surprised there hasn’t been the creation of a classical curriculum that is based on freely available public domain materials that every human could freely download and share. People could still be paid to create it, or it could be volunteer run. A sufficient amount of lectures could be created, and then there are forums today for people to have discussions on material (if you aren’t comfortable having religious discussions on a forum, then perhaps it would have to be only on secular topics).
So in effect there’s a lot of room for progress with education, and some ways of understanding education and authority differently as adapted to our current situation.
When I say self-education, I mean learning the faith by studying from approved Catholic works and of COURSE this is never done on one’s own but is ALWAYS the work of the Holy Ghost. I have said that many times on this site. What I do here is try to facilitate the learning process and provide insights that perhaps others are not able to experience because they do not have the time or the specific works I use for my studies. Self-instruction is not ideal. I have longed for a good teacher all my life. But I found those teachers in my many books, and especially those on the works of the Roman Pontiffs, the Ecumenical Councils, St. Thomas Aquinas, the Doctors of the Church, the Canon Law commentaries and theologians such as Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton, Henry Cardinal Manning, Rev. Francis J. Connell and the many authors of the dissertations I cite in my works. These are the authorities, not me. I have no authority other than theirs.
Of course there are civil authorities and trade schools and I am not speaking of them in my article. Gatto applauds them and encourages trade school education and apprenticeships. These teachers are imparting useful information, and as long as it is not mixed in with the liberal arts garbage, this is fine. I learned invaluable skills from my father and a host of editors and publishers, even though I never attended college. I learned important lessons from many experiences in covering the courts and law enforcement; in the coverage of the schools; in city council meetings and county commissioner meetings; in acting as an election observer and covering elections that went sidewise — and so much more, especially from writing feature articles on extraordinary and ordinary citizens alike.
Yes the Japanese had lay leaders appointed by the Jesuits before they left. And they trained each other after that, which is no different than what I and those among my readers are doing today, each in their own personal sphere. If you look this site over carefully, you will see this is what it is all about. Study on my friend, and may the Holy Ghost guide you.
The elementary school I attended for about eight years I felt like a kind of prison. A kind of double life began for me. I never went there with joy, every day I counted the days until the next vacation. I was also threatened that I should have good results, so I started a lot on “drilling”, not real understanding.
It’s not that absolutely everything was bad, because I remember that we had a good mathematics teacher in the later years. Mathematics could help develop logical thinking. There was also a music class that helped develop musical understanding.
But in general, it must be said that all the school material could have been learned much faster under normal home/private conditions. There is no private, individual approach at all.