Dec 27, 16 / Cap 26, 00 06:17 UTC
Dangers of Institutional Influence on Developing Youths ¶
I would like to start a discussion here regarding the dangers of state sponsored education and influence of youth. I will assume that to most readers the benefits of these things are already fairly apparent, so I am not going to spend extra time describing them. Note that I do not refute their merits. I am merely trying to show the other side of the coin and give a more complete picture. Please keep this in mind as you read.
To begin, all developing children have 4 major influences as they grow.
Their parents and immediate family.
Their local community.
The culture they are immersed in.
This discussion will chiefly involve the fourth. First, we must understand that anything we say, any plans we make, any suggestions we have will either be sponsored by the state or they will not. If they are not then they will be nothing but suggestions. We can only implement them if we do so privately, through personal expense. If they are sponsored by the state, then they will be universal. They will effect all children in Asgardia, or at least the vast majority. This is an incredibly important truth because anything that influences most children of a nation will directly influence that nations future. This could lead to very good or very bad things. Imagine if every child was given an incredibly intelligent personal tutor throughout all their childhood with infinite virtue, utter patience, and a complete commitment to truth. Such a generation would be filled with paragons of accomplishment. Alternatively, what would happen if every single child was taught to celebrate racism, prejudice, and violence?
The ability to influence a nations youth is very similar to the ability of a dictator. Interestingly, a dictatorship actually has the greatest potential for good of any governing system because of it's incredible unity and efficiency. A great and virtuous dictator could create wonders for a nation, and has done so many times in history. But there is simple and practical reason to not want a dictatorship: risk. It is easy to destroy a great nation, but it is hard to fix a corrupt one. While a dictator has unparalleled potential for good, he also has equal potential for corruption, and corruption is much more harmful then good is helpful over the long run.
But what does this have to do with children? Traditionally, children have been taught primarily by their parents and family, and secondarily by their community and culture. This is an incredibly diverse set of environments and creates a very diverse youth. However, when the state takes upon itself the role of educator, it has an incredibly large amount of influence on every child. This creates a unified environment and influences children evenly in mostly the same way. On a small scale it is not very different from cultural influence; yet, as the state influences children more and more, it creates subtle trends that will effect the entire nation in one way or another. Then, when these state influenced children grow up, they already are influenced by the state and naturally will tend to agree with it. They will become the next generation of educators and will reinforce the state's message to their children and community. Eventually this state interference will become cultural purely because every child was effected to at least some degree.
If this message is good and children are taught to be more intelligent, more hardworking, more kind, then we can say that this was good. We improved society much beyond what it would have been without state influence. However, if children at some point begin learning propaganda, ignorance, or hate, then all is lost. Because it means that every child will be effected, and in a short amount of time it will be almost irreversible. It is surprisingly easy to create division and spread ignorance among people. It is surprisingly hard to enlighten the ignorant and unite the divided.
This is why mass education and state sponsored influencing of children is dangerous. It can create harm or good in unparalleled amounts, but it will do so evenly, and once corrupted will be virtually impossible to fix. This does not mean that any individual idea is a bad one. It does not mean that any system will be corrupted or that any person in power will take advantage of their ability to influence a nations youth as Hitler did. It also does not mean that we wouldn't benefit from uniform mass education in wonderful ways. What it does mean is that we must always be aware of what could happen if a system is eventually corrupted.
After all, the nuclear bomb has the potential to save us from asteroids, prevent world wars, and equalize military power enough to prevent conflict. Yet, we work to rid the world of them because if they are misused, there will be no recovery.