Training a standardized citizenry
In Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, I found an interesting passage which echoes some of my own thoughts on our culture.
Excessive fear can transform a person and modify behavior permanently; it can change the very structure of the brain. The same can happen to a whole culture. What will it be like for children to grow up in socially and environmentally controlled environments--condominiums and planned developments and covenant-controlled housing developments surrounded with walls, gates, and surveillance systems, where covenants prevent families from planting gardens? One wonders how the children growing up in this culture of control will define freedom when they are adults.
Property has always been closely tied to liberty in American thought. It is the basis of our founding. Our founders knew that, and John Adams even noted that "[p]roperty must be sacred or liberty cannot exist." It is why a nation of affluence fought a long and bloody war to defeat "tyranny" that amounted to less than what we willingly submit to today through local neighborhood associations, not to mention the representatives we have elected to rule over us.

In Federalist number 79, Alexander Hamilton writes, "In the general course of human nature, a power over a man's subsistence amounts to a power over his will." Yet we submit. We yearn for someone to rule over us.

Perhaps H. L. Mencken describes it best.
The American moron...wants to keep his Ford, even at the cost of losing the Bill of Rights.
I question what the future holds when we are raising our children thus. But I also question how it is we got here. How does a nation characterized by a certain rugged individualism end up with rows of condominiums indistinguishable from one another in neighborhoods which control what you can do on your own property? Somewhere along the line it goes back to education and the way we have been raised.

Mr. Mencken is not my favorite social commentator for obvious reasons, but he was a good satirist. And when you criticize everyone and everything, you are bound to strike a chord with someone eventually:
The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to down dissent and originality. That is the aim in the United States, whatever pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and [sic] other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else. The Goslings, A Study of the American Schools
I may not agree with him on much else, but when I see neighborhoods consisting of rows of identical houses and increasing laws at every level of government, including neighborhood associations it is hard not not see a correlation.

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