Thursday, June 28, 2012

Schools of War

Robin writes:

The main reason we had rules to force kids to attend primary school was to make obedient soldier citizens to support their nation in time of war.

Maybe.  But that isn’t exactly what the study says.  The study finds a correlation between “large investments in state primary education systems” and “military rival[ry] or threats.”

Aside from the usual caveat about correlation not being causation, I would add that it’s not especially clear that, were that it’s intent, the pro-war faction is getting its money’s worth.  As near as I can tell, the purpose of public education is to promote Diversity and Global Warming, and I be greatly surprised to find public schools actively encouraging support for war.  Once upon a time, subjects like, say, the history of America’s past military glories might have had second order effects encouraging support for the wars of the present, but these have now taken a back seat to Sojourner  Truth and the Tuskegee Airmen.

I suspect that, if anything, the causality runs the other way, at least in the American context:  it was precisely the experience of various wars that consolidated nationalism, making national expenditures for things like education more likely.

Elsewhere, Robin asserts a similar purpose behind nationalize health care.  My guess is that such will bankrupt us to the point where foreign war becomes unaffordable.


Professor Hale said...

My guess is that such will bankrupt us to the point where foreign war becomes unaffordable.

You must not have read or understood the economic theory that wars MAKE money. That is why you need a public education system to produce willing patriotic soldiers... so you can keep making more money.

But that also assumes an education ysystem under central control. Though we are moving in that direction, we aren't there yet. The closest thing we have so far is the teachers unions exerting curriculum control through their members.

Michael Egan said...

Given that the system was initially put into place so that men could read the Bible, I'm not sure that we can make this kind of leap.

While I don't doubt that the schools are in place for some kind of societal control of the population, I believe that it's more related to industrialization, rather than militarization.

Point being; do you really expect the leftist teacher unions to be that supporting of a military industrial complex? I don't.

Campion said...

It was, in origin, both military and industrial. The current american school system is based upon innovations introduced by the Prussian Government in the 1840s. It was explicitly military and industrial in focus. Horace Mann and other American educators took an interest in the Prussian system and adapted it to the US.

Education still serves the state in a similar fashion but soldiers and industrial workers are not the focus of it attention.