Not with a Bang, But a WhimperReviewed by Marie Bannon
Dependent on D.C.
The Rise of Federal Control over the Lives of Ordinary Americans
By Charlotte A. Twight
Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, Paperback, 432 pages
This book is not light reading. It is closer to a reference work on how the federal government has grown to control more and more of every American’s everyday life.
The opening chapter, discussing how the protections our forefathers built into the Constitution have been undermined, is vital to understand how a nation of independent individuals is being slowly transformed into a society of sheep.
“In the 20th century,” author Charlotte A. Twight, an economist and attorney, writes, “judicial reinterpretation served as a vehicle for, in effect, rewriting the U.S. Constitution without using the constitutional amendment process. By reinterpreting constitutional provisions to legitimize a vastly more powerful central government, the Supreme Court gave license to like-minded Congresses and presidents.”
Twight applies this thesis to various spheres.
The Social Security system, she argues, prevents sane investment and the building of wealth. By taxing beforehand, it takes away freedom of choice and the possibility of saving for the future.
Income tax withholding hides profiteering by the government — on the taxpayer’s dime — while passing on the costs of administration to employers; by taxing in advance, the government takes the interest value on money which should have been ours.
Chapters on health care and Medicare show how the government removes freedom of choice from even the most private of areas, personal health.
Corrupting the Education System
But nothing raised the hair on my neck so much as the section on public education and the encroachment of the federal government into children’s lives. In 19th century Germany, Prussian schools were known for promoting a nationalist attitude and slavish respect for authority among German youth.
H.G. Wells, in his Outline of History, had potent comments on this subject: “German historical teaching became an immense systematic falsification of the human past, with a view to the Hohenzollern [the German imperial family name] future. All other nations were represented as incompetent and decadent; the Prussians were the leaders and regenerators of mankind.”
The result was a nation of obedient and unthinking warriors, with only one eventual outcome: world war. It was not an evil inherent in the German people that created this atmosphere. Rather, a corrupted educational system, erected upon false ideas from the likes of psychologist Wilhelm Wundt (who held that man is an animal that can be conditioned and controlled like a dog or a rat), was instrumental in producing the aggressors of World War I and later, the Nazis.
Thus, a nation schooled in ultimate obedience to authority can allow horrors to occur. Dependent on D.C. demonstrates how this could, in fact, happen here, under the guise of social programs “for the public good.”
One example provided by the author is the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, passed in 1994:
“In broad outline, the 1994 legislation established eight federally decreed ‘goals’ for U.S. Education and then used federal taxpayers’ money to bribe states and localities to implement them. ... [T]he statute’s actual goals supported ends anathema to a free society, authorizing the federal government to control at the national level the very substance of K12 education and to gain access to even younger American children.
“Under the misleading banner of ‘school readiness,’ for example, the 1994 legislation authorized ‘certified parent educators’ to intervene in the homes and lives of children from birth to age five. As in 19th century Prussia, here too the central government is seeking ever earlier access to children’s minds, now using the ‘National Education Goals’ codified in 1994 to further usurp family influence over children’s character and values.”
Twight continues: “Deception was key. Take ‘school readiness,’ for instance. Who could oppose ‘school readiness’? Yet the statute states that school readiness requires that ‘every parent in the United States will be a child’s first teacher....’
“Imagine for a moment the vision of government power underlying such statements, and consider what would be required for the federal government to enforce these objectives. Perhaps government officials could visit every preschool child’s home each day to make sure that the parents had ‘devoted time’ to the child’s learning.... [T]he Orwellian specter of government officials investigating preschoolers’ homes to assess whether they are developing ‘healthy minds’ reveals much about the federal government’s actual concept of ‘school readiness.’”
“Seeds of a Totalitarian Society”
“IT [THE GOVERNMENT] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform.”
— Charlotte A. Twight
This legislation, Twight asserts, has contributed to the unabated “dumbing down” of America and thus a society controlled from the top down, creating classes of individuals whose future jobs are picked out for them, in essence, in grade school.
“If political interests controlled the substance of education ... [t]he minds of the young would be continually up for grabs through such a monopoly education system; the only issue was which political interest would prevail.”
It doesn’t take much imagination to see the results of this type of educational system. By usurping more and more of parents’ rights over children, categorizing youth by means of subjective psychiatric classifications and educating them vocationally instead of intellectually (and forcing drugs on the recalcitrant, a chapter in education neglected in this book), the seeds of a totalitarian society are sown.
“After all,” Twight observes, “the less children learn to think and reason, the more compliant they will be.”
“By vastly enlarging the central government’s use of the public schools to impart a concept of society as merely an apolitical ‘social process allowing everyone to find his place in a hierarchy of occupations’ such federal education controls tend to undermine the cultivation of traditional American ideals.”
The Government as Shepherd
Such legislation has, in effect, taken away children’s futures before they even enter school. Described is a blueprint for an authoritarian state, the type of state that has historically been seen to single out minorities for medical experiments, and shoot down in the street anyone who might protest. But protest dies before it starts, because the cost is too high. Tax protesters may go to jail or have all they own confiscated; educational protesters must outlay ever larger sums of money to keep their children in private schools. The costs of protest are thus made prohibitive.
Twight reflects on the wisdom of French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, who in the 1830s noted dangers inherent in the American political system:
“His fear was that a democratic majority, motivated by human envy reinforced by belief in the essential equality of free Americans, would empower government to enforce equality in ways destructive of individual liberty.”
Freedom is conducting ongoing investigations into psychiatric fraud and is most interested in any knowledge you may have of criminal activities or other misconduct by psychiatric lobbyists or representatives of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Center for Mental Health Services, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education or other federal or state agencies — particularly in relation to the drugging of schoolchildren.
Send details in writing, with any relevant documentation, to:
“It [the government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd.... Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”
Sound familiar? Not with a bang, but a whimper.
The gradual submergence of freedom in a bureaucratic morass, with the costs of protest too high for most to bear, is an insidious route to totalitarianism, and it is detailed fully in this book.
Yet a way out is also projected. Free channels of communication, including the Internet, still exist, and can provide a voice for opposing views. Movements exist for home schooling and for monetary and tax reform.
With growing awareness and new information technologies, the flow of classical liberal ideas can once again flourish, as it does in these pages.