Another Publik Skool Atrocity
The children were put into small teams. Each team was given a small stack of papers – squares that had been cut from construction paper. The teams were instructed to build the highest tower possible. His team members put the thin pieces of paper on top of each other, making a tower about 1/8 inch high. They stared at it in confusion, unable to think of another way to stack the flat sheets. David began folding the pieces of paper into shapes, bending corners to make 'legs' and soon had a tall structure. When I picked him up following the auditions, he felt positive about his chances but shocked at the flat-thinking of his schoolmates.
David failed to win a spot on an OM team, while the flat-tower thinkers survived the cuts. When I requested feedback regarding the votes against David, I was told that he was not chosen because "He was not a team player."
There you have it: as good a description as any of the kinds of "human resources" the publik skools want to mold. You know, the sort of "team players" who kept juicing non-responsive subjects in the Milgram experiment, so long as an authority figure in a white coat told them to do it. If the slave factories let someone with non-"team player" traits slip through, they might later do something really "extreme," like taking a principled stand when they believe they're right. They might upset the processors of human raw material in some corporation or government agency by suddenly developing a voice: "Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty apes!"
Another incident is also quite instructive:
One day he arrived home upset and explained that he was "in trouble." When I asked what he had done wrong, he repeated the explanation that he had been given, "You are not supposed to trade." (Huh??) Right! He had taken his Pogs (toy pieces resembling the old milk bottle tops) to school then at recess he and another boy sat on a bench and "traded Pogs" since David had doubles of one color; the other boy had doubles of another. David's Pogs had been confiscated by the recess aide (who was also the librarian who would not let him check out chapter books) and the aide had informed him that she would keep the Pogs "until you tell your mother what you have done."
Engaging in trade? That's twenty years in a forced labor camp!
I believed that I already knew the underlying reason for such a school rule: if people understand and use their right to trade, exchanges will be done under the radar of the tax collectors. The State certainly does not want individual bartering to continue. If the State cannot stop American adults from exchanging goods and services "under the table" then the State's focus must switch to brainwashing the next generations into believing that they have no right to strike deals with consenting individuals, groups or companies.
She's right; the State does not want free people to participate in any kind of underground economy that isn't properly regulated (all for our own good, of course--pay no attention to the man behind the curtain). As an individualist anarchist, I'd add that they don't want us taking things like banking and currency into our own hands through mutual banks and LETS systems, or creating our own sick benefit societies outside the insurance cartel. Taking it even further, they don't want kids learning the habit of exchanging their labor directly with other producers, as equals, instead of relying on the wage system. Such trade undermines the central lesson of the publik skools: that all good things are bestowed by authority, as a reward for obedience.