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Busy Work


It’s yet another education column!

William S. Lind gave a lecture to a group of Marine Corps officers at Quantico in August of 2010 about the Four Generations of Modern Warfare. One, blessed with sufficient intelligence and initiative, may find the recorded session at unauthorized.tv on the Documentaries Channel. He, again, raised the alarm that the US Empire’s military is now at least two generations and about one hundred years behind, and thus destined to lose perpetually. He noted that other, less advanced though more creative nations had adapted to modern reality. He spoke of carving out some corner for Christian, Western Civilization.

He also made various points of commentary that struck me as applicable to the greater society in general and, specifically as to education.

As noted and observed by Dr. Ironsides in The Substitute, we are now several generations into the age of post-literacy. Lind correctly describes the new young mind as incapable of reading a book. Further, he laments that the USSA’s military has largely deprofessionalized to the point that many, if not most, officers have never read a single book of military strategy or philosophy. So it is in the schools, where eleventh and twelfth-grade students read at the second-grade level – if at all.

The same wicked, stupid forces that destroyed the military and other institutions are the same forces that corrupted and ended American education. The same obsession with rote order has produced in the academies, as on the battlefields, the same dismal failure. With the military, it’s no longer about winning. In the schools, it’s no longer about learning.

Lind remarked about the great intellectual and philosophical developments of previous centuries. Now, stagnation has given way to regression. Then, great minds developed because they were allowed to. They had the time to think. To paraphrase Lind’s key point (in my mind), the best way to kill intellectual development is to keep everyone busy.

In our pitiful excuses for schools, everyone – from the students to the teachers to the administrator – constantly engages in some form of what is derisively but correctly called “busy work.” Doing things for the sake of doing them, on a rigid schedule, day after day, with the tempo literally ordered by the ringing of a bell. 

I truly tire of writing about this system and its degeneracy over and over and over again. By any and all metrics, it is all dead. Yet and still, the people, the parents, stupidly send their children into the storm. In many cases, they try to play the system in some vain pursuit of something they cannot accurately describe. Defeated at every turn, they lack the fortitude to admit that when one plays the devil’s game, the devil always wins.

Decentralization is a large part of the solution to this madness. Compare the high-flying success of something like the Sudbury School, with no schedules, no classes, no subjects, and no rule of command and control, with the foregoing. Out of habit, I routinely praise and preach homeschooling. What I really find most hopeful is “unschooling.” It’s the asymmetrical educational approach akin to fourth-generation warfare tactics. And it works.

As a mass, nationwide practice, the learning process could be, in a sense, state-sponsored. The Chinese have codified and instituted Unrestricted Warfare, which is essentially fifth-generation combat – fourth-gen tactics practiced by a nation-state. For Western education, this would be a simple reversion to the better way things used to be. It will not happen in the dying US. However, in that carved-out future home for Christian Remnant, there is still great hope.

Next time, if I can muster the energy, we may explore a little Tolkien.