Gracias, El Salvador!
Today I awake to find that one lucky — or unfortunate, as the case may be — reader in El Salvador has downloaded my book, The Case Against Public Education, making his or her nation the thirty-ninth to which the book has been downloaded from this website. (I have no way of knowing who may have received it from other sources, or exactly how many have read it online right here in Limbo.)
When I posted CAPE online for digital download or online reading, I had no idea what to expect in the way of a response. I knew there was an audience for this subject matter, but also that my extensive forays through nineteenth century German philosophy and into the weeds of John Dewey’s progressivism might strike the more practical or activist-minded reader as unnecessary pain. (Philosophical investigation is always the greatest and most necessary pleasure for me, but I admit I’m funny that way.)
Furthermore, since I did not write this book to please any political faction, but rather to seek the truth about the nature of modern education, I knew some of my ideas could be alienating to even some conservative advocates of educational freedom — for example, my argument against school grades and standardization.
Nevertheless, I have been most gratified to find the book slowly reaching readers in “every corner of the globe,” as they say. When I see downloads from socialist countries, such as Sweden and Norway, I am charged with hope that there are still some free minds in those lands, after their decades of leftist indoctrination. I have had many downloads from China, which almost makes me feel concerned for the downloaders — although I don’t know why I should expect China’s powers that be to crack down harder against such radically anti-progressive ideas than their counterpart powers in the good old USA, land of Obama, Bill Ayers as education professor, and Republican presidents “abandoning free market principles to save the free market.” (The latter, by the way, being a perfect mirror of China’s current abandonment of communist economic principles to save the communist system. Do these people actually steal one another’s tropes?)
When I see downloads from Kenya and Bangladesh, my mind gives birth to fantasies of small schooling houses in poor villages actually teaching without a standard curriculum, but with confidence in the independent souls of the students. When I see a significant number of downloads from Germany and France, I am most pleased, as those two nations (along with the U.S.) were such key players in the earliest developments of the nineteenth century progressive drive for universal government schooling, i.e., educational tyranny.
And today El Salvador joins the list as country number thirty-nine. The country’s full name, República de El Salvador, means “Republic of The Savior.” There is a chapter in my book dealing in part with the example of that very man, as one of the West’s definitive models of a teacher. No one who takes Jesus seriously can favor state schooling without a fundamental contradiction — and I mean that as strongly as it sounds, though not as criticism of anyone’s moral position, but rather as a challenge to think through one’s own premises. Hence, I can think of no nation more nominally suited to my book’s civilizational challenge than one named Republic of The Savior.
Furthermore, El Salvador has a modern history mired in governmental corruption and poverty, along with Marxist-Leninist political repression, right up to the present. For these reasons as well, she is a great candidate for experiments in educational liberty, which are the only means of raising a new generation of citizens with the character and mentality of free men and women, prepared to wage the long cultural battles necessary to leading their troubled nation to a more prosperous and independent era.
El Salvador download number one! Keep ’em coming. If you are thinking that one known reader is somewhat shy of the force needed to start a revolution, I remind you of the full name of that reader’s country. And also of the old saying, “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.” Actually, I prefer the likely original version, from Chaucer (1374):
…as an ook cometh of a litel spyr
Which soon-to-be gentle reader will make his or her nation number forty in my book’s humble mission to slowly encompass and overwhelm the entire United Nations?