Thank you America for what it is. More precisely, for the fact that the civil conflict that is developing there now helps us to think about things that we, perhaps, did not particularly notice. For example, over this question: are your children yours or belong to the state?
The fact is that this very issue turned out, firstly, to be the key one in the gubernatorial elections just held in the state of Virginia. Second, along the way, it turned out that education is now the main line of political struggle in the United States as a whole. The very struggle between Democr-ats and Republicans. The very struggle, which in fact is a global battle of worldviews.
The two candidates in Virginia (Democratic Terry McAuliffe, Republican Glenn Yankin) argued abo-ut a lot, but quickly found out that the public was primarily concerned about the main current American scandal – about state-dictated education programs. The fight was incredible, the candidates went head to head. The Democrats even signed out Barack Obama in their support, but he only further infuriated the other half of the local voters. The Republican won, but this is insignificant – the main thing is what emerged during the campaign.
And it turned out that, as The American Conservative put it, “Virginia could turn the tide in the American education war.” From the subtitle: “The state has a chance to overthrow the regime of the educationalists.” And the key message from the text: “I don’t think parents should tell schools what they should teach.” This is, of course, the phrase of the Democrat McAuliffe.
The fight for the meaning and essence of education (and the role of the family in it) has been unfolding for several years already, along with the all-American struggle for everything else. But at first it went spontaneously, in many separate schools throughout the country. Then, according to the description of the same magazine, the following happened: for some time the schools were transferred to remote control and the parents for the first time massively heard (over the shoulder of their offspring) what the children were taught in these schools. Some were delighted, others were horrified. Scandals began at parents’ meetings – also at first scattered. Note that on one side there is the entire power of the political machine of the Democrats, who seem to have won and are promoting their ideology in school curricula.
Today, the “school” protest of the republican half of the country has become systemic, has come to the fore among other confrontation fronts and is about three points. The first is the “critical racial theory”, when children from the first grade are explained that some of them are oppressors by birth and skin color, while others are oppressed. The second is everything and everyone on the topic of sex, but the conversation usually comes down to the inculcation of the cult of transgenderness, when “gender-mobile” characters climb into the wrong locker rooms, and so on. The third is such covid security rules that “turn schools into gulags.”
All these problems have recently become the main front of national resistance to the Democrats, when the “obrazokrats”, with the support of the White House, tired of scandals, turned to Attorney General Merrick Garland for protection. And he said that parents who object to such education at parent meetings are “internal terrorists.” Then he apologized, but it was too late. Across the country, parents of the same views vied with each other to file lawsuits, claiming that they had been stripped of them in schools.freedom of speech (violating the first amendment to the constitution). Moreover, they were deprived of this freedom on the question of how to teach their own children. But let’s not forget that no less numerous of their opponents, including those from the Democratic parents, are furious. Because they believe that the state should dictate to people how to teach their children.
This is one of the classic fault lines between left and right ideology. One of the most terrifying books in human history after The Hammer of the Witches – The City of the Sun by Tommaso Campanella – explains that in an ideal society, children are taken away from their parents at once and taught as the owners of the city see fit. This is a leftist idea. You can already guess that the conversation goes to the recent speech of Vladimir Putinat the Valdai Discussion Club. Literally: “All this – how it may seem to someone unexpected – we have already gone through in Russia, we have already had it. After the revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks, relying on the dogmas of Marx and Engels, also announced that they would change the whole way of life, not only political and economic, but also the very idea of what human morality is, the foundations of a healthy existence of society. The destruction of age-old values, faith, relations between people, up to the complete rejection of the family – that was… “
But here we need to make a significant amendment: it was, the question is how long it lasted. Yes, in the early years of the Bolshevik regime, leftism went off scale, and in schools above all. The new government began to dictate to the whole country what children should learn: something fundamentally new and “proletarian”. We can recall how in 1920 the “Instruction of the political and educational department of the People’s Commissariat for Education on the revision of catalogs and the removal of obsolete literature from public libraries” was adopted. Banned Aksakov, Andersen, Dostoevsky, Flaubert, Shakespeare and thousands more authors or individual books.
But already in the 30s, Soviet schoolchildren studied in a slightly different country. Yes, education was heavily seasoned with scientific and unscientific communism, much was forbidden, but there was Pushkin, who had already returned, and much more. A different era began, the style of which, in terms of education and many other things, was called, instead of revolutionary modernism, “the Stalinist Empire”. We still respect the education system created then.
Why did it happen? And because the nationwide craving for books, knowledge, classical literacy as an answer to all questions arose very long before 1917, and the new regime – more precisely, the regime that emerged in the 30s – took this into account. That is, the Soviet system in version 2.0 decided that – look above, at the current torment of the Americans – children should be taught approximately the way their parents want it. Because these are primarily their children, no matter how much the state wants to take part in their upbringing. Good history lesson.