by Sheldon Richman
After the defeat of the Prussians (Germans) by Napoleon at the battle of Jena in 1806, it was decided that the reason why the battle was lost was that the Prussian soldiers were thinking for themselves on the battlefield instead of following orders.
The Prussian philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814), described by many as a philosopher and a transcendental idealist, wrote “Addresses to the German Nation” between 1807 and 1808, which promoted the state as a necessary instrument of social and moral progress. He taught at the University of Berlin from 1810 to his death in 1814. His concept of the state and of the ultimate moral nature of society directly influenced both Von Schelling and Hegel, who took an similarly idealistic view.
Using the basic philosophy prescribing the “duties of the state”, combined with John Locke’s view (1690) that “children are a blank slate” and lessons from Rousseau on how to “write on the slate”, Prussia established a three-tiered educational system that was considered “scientific” in nature. Work began in 1807 and the system was in place by 1819. An important part of the Prussian system was that it defined for the child what was to be learned, what was to be thought about, how long to think about it and when a child was to think of something else. Basically, it was a system of thought control, and it established a penchant in the psyche of the German elite that would later manifest itself into what we now refer to as mind control.
The educational system was divided into three groups. The elite of Prussian society were seen as comprising .5% of the society. Approximately 5.5% of the remaining children were sent to what was called realschulen, where they were partially taught to think. The remaining 94% went to volkschulen, where they were to learn “harmony, obedience, freedom from stressful thinking and how to follow orders.” An important part of this new system was to break the link between reading and the young child, because a child who reads too well becomes knowledgeable and independent from the system of instruction and is capable of finding out anything. In order to have an efficient policy-making class and a sub-class beneath it, you’ve got to remove the power of most people to make anything out of available information.
This was the plan. To keep most of the children in the general population from reading for the first six or seven years of their lives.
Now, the Prussian system of reading was originally a system whereby whole sentences (and thus whole integrated concepts) were memorized, rather than whole words. In this three-tier system, they figured out a way to achieve the desired results. In the lowest category of the system, the volkschuelen, the method was to divide whole ideas (which simultaneously integrate whole disciplines – math, science, language, art, etc.) into subjects which hardly existed prior to that time. The subjects were further divided into units requiring periods of time during the day. With appropriate variation, no one would really know what was happening in the world. It was inherently one of the most brilliant methods of knowledge suppression that had ever existed. They also replaced the alphabet system of teaching with the teaching of sounds. Hooked on phonics? Children could read without understanding what they were reading, or all the implications.
In 1814, the first American, Edward Everett, goes to Prussian to get a PhD. He eventually becomes governor of Massachusetts. During the next 30 years or so, a whole line of American dignitaries came to Germany to earn degrees (a German invention). Horace Mann, instrumental in the development of educational systems in America, was among them. Those who earned degrees in Germany came back to the United States and staffed all of the major universities. In 1850, Massachusetts and New York utilize the system, as well as promote the concept that “the state is the father of children.” Horace Mann’s sister, Elizabeth Peabody (Peabody Foundation) saw to it that after the Civil War, the Prussian system (taught in the Northern states) was integrated into the conquered South between 1865 and 1918. Most of the “compulsory schooling” laws designed to implement the system were passed by 1900. By 1900, all the PhD’s in the United States were trained in Prussia. This project also meant that one-room schoolhouses had to go, for it fostered independence. They were eventually wiped out.
One of the reasons that the self-appointed elite brought back the Prussian system to the United States was to ensure a non-thinking work force to staff the growing industrial revolution. In 1776, for example, about 85% of the citizens were reasonably educated and had independent livelihoods – they didn’t need to work for anyone. By 1840, the ratio was still about 70%. The attitude of “learn and then strike out on your own” had to be broken. The Prussian system was an ideal way to do it.
One of the prime importers of the German “educational” system into the United States was William T. Harris, from Saint Louis. He brought the German system in and set the purpose of the schools to alienate children from parental influence and that of religion. He preached this openly, and began creating “school staffing” programs that were immediately picked up by the new “teacher colleges”, many of which were underwritten by the Rockefeller family, the Carnegies, the Whitney’s and the Peabody family. The University of Chicago was underwritten by the Rockefellers.
The bottom line is that we had a literate country in the United States before the importation of the German educational system, designed to “dumb down” the mass population. It was more literate that it is today. The textbooks of the time make so much allusion to history, philosophy, mathematics, science and politics that they are hard to follow today because of the way people are “taught to think.”
Now, part of this whole paradigm seems to originate from an idea presented in The New Atlantis, by Francis Bacon (1627). The work described a “world research university” that scans the planet for babies and talent. The state then becomes invincible because it owned the university. It becomes impossible to revolt against the State because the State knows everything. A reflection of this principle can be seen today with the suppression of radical and practical technologies in order to preserve State control of life and prevent evolution and independence. The New Atlantis was widely read by German mystics in the 19th century. By 1840 in Prussia, there were a lot of “world research universities”, in concept, all over the country. All of them drawing in talent and developing it for the purposes of State power and stability.
By the middle of the 19th century, Germany had developed a new concept in the sciences which they termed “psycho-physics”, which argued that people were in fact complex machines. It was the ultimate materialist extension of science that would parallel the mechanistic view of the universe already under way. This new view of people became more or less institutionalized in Germany, and by the 1870′s the “field” of experimental psychology was born. The ultimate purpose of experimental psychology was to discover the nature of the human machine and how to program it.
The main proponent of this new experimental psychology in Germany was Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), who is today widely regarded as the “father” of that field. He is described by orthodoxy as having “freed the study of the mind from metaphysics and rational philosophy.” Presumably in favor of irrational philosophy. Wundt obtained his PhD in medicine from the University of Heidelburg in 1856, and embarked on the study of sensory perception. His most famous work was “Contributions to the Theory of Sense Perception” , done between 1858 and 1862. It is described by orthodoxy as the first work of experimental psychology. In 1875, Wundt was appointed to a chair in philosophy at Leipzig, where he instituted a laboratory for the “systematic, experimental study of experience.” Back then, the phase “get a life” was not in vogue, and evidently he didn’t have much interpretable experience of his own.
In 1873, he began a year-long writing project which resulted in “Principles of Physiological Psychology”, which became a “classic” that was subsequently reprinted through six editions over the next 40 years, establishing psychology’s claim to be an “independent science”. Wundt also wrote on philosophical subjects such as logic and ethics, but as he did not subscribe to “rational philosophy”, his writings presumably yielded irrational interpretations of both areas. It is conceivable that his warped view of humanity and the universe contributed in some small way to the eventual Nazi penchant for experimenting on those they didn’t like, producing for them an irrational experience they would never forget. American students of Wundt who returned to the United States between 1880 and 1910 became the heads of Psychological Departments at major universities, such as Harvard, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania, to name a few. Wundt trained James Cattell, who on his return to the United States trained over 300 PhD’s in the Wundt world view. The system of “educational psychology” evolved from this. Funded by the Carnegie and Rockefeller foundations, the Wundtian system gains control over educational testing in the United States for soldiers of World War I.
The wave of immigration which began in 1848, combined with the visibility of revolutions taking place all over Europe, helped foster uncertainty in the public mind. Laws requiring compulsory schooling were then legislated. It was all very Hegelian. We wouldn’t want those little tykes to become reactionaries, would we? In 1890, Carnegie wrote a series of essays called The Gospel of Wrath, in which he claimed that the capitalistic free enterprise system was dead in the United States. It really was, since Carnegie, Rockefeller and Morgan, by then, owned the United States. It was about 1917 that a great “Red Scare” was instituted in the United States in order to set up a reactionary movement intended to get the public to accept the idea of compulsory schooling – Prussian compulsory schooling, of course.
The implimentation of the German educational nightmare in the United States met some initial resistence. In Carnegie’s home town of Gary, Indiana, the system was implemented between 1910 and 1916, mostly through the efforts of William Wirt, the school superintendent. It involved no academic endeavor whatsoever. It worked so well in supplying willing workers for the steel mills that it was decided by Carnegie to bring the system to New York City. In 1917, they initiated a program in New York in 12 schools, with the objective of enlarging the program to encompass 100 schools and eventually all the schools in New York. William Wirt came to supervise the transition.
Unfortunately for Carnegie, the population of the 12 schools was predominantly composed of Jewish immigrants, who innately recognized what was being done and the nature of the new “educational system”. Three weeks of riots followed, and editorials in the New York Times were very critical of the plan. Over 200 Jewish school children were thrown in jail. The whole political structure of New York that had tried this scheme were then thrown out of office during the next election. A book describing this scenario, The Great School Wars, was written by Diane Ravitch on the subject. Curiously, William Wirt was committed to an insane asylum around 1930, after going around making public speeches about his part in a large conspiracy to bring about a controlled state in the hands of certain people. He died two years later.
In order to make sure that the independence of the one-room schoolhouse and the penchant for communities to hire their own independent teachers would cease, the Carnegie group instituted the concept of “teacher certification” – a process controlled by the teaching colleges under Carnegie and Rockefeller control. No one knew that the Communist revolutions were funded from the United States. The buildup of the Soviet Union, as well as that of Nazi Germany, would also be funded later from the United States in order to get a reactionary public to bend to the will of controlling political factions. It was a plan that worked well in the 1920′s, and worked well again in the 1950′s in the psychological creation of the “cold war”, providing funding for the buildup of the military, industrial and pharmaceutical complex. The “non-thinking” American public never suspected a thing. Such a thing would have been “unbelievable.”
Because the United States was owned by wealthy businessmen, a synthetic free enterprise system was created and anti-trust laws were passed to prevent anyone else from gaining power. Everything that had already been consolidated was “grandfathered” out of the law. It was a brilliant scheme, and it worked very well.
Earlier in the century there were “school boards” in every town. Between 1932 and 1960, the number of school boards dropped from 140,000 to 30,000. Today there are about 15,000 – all controlled by extensions of the Carnegie-Rockefeller educational complex. In 1959, with the advent of the “Sputnik” and the public realization that “another country was ahead of us”, the embarrassed educational system was forced to temporarily create a synthetic focus on science which produced a generation of scientists and technicians in order to resolve the apparent deficit in the public mind.
In retrospect, in 1889 the U.S. Commissioner of Education assured a prominent railroad man, Collis Huntington, when he protested that the schools seemed to be over-educating (producing too many engineers and people who could think), that schools had been scientifically designed not to over-educate. It was a reference to the German system of education inculcated into the United States between 1806 and 1819.
Separating School & State: How To Liberate American Families
by Sheldon Richman
See also:The Seven-Lesson School Teacher