Let The Fires Burn And The Darkness Fades: Unschooling as the most viable means by which end the state.
We can fight all we want, but until the individual minds comprising the prevailing culture change, there can be no real societal change.
The state is violent. This we can all agree upon as Voluntaryists. Taxation is theft. War is murder. The initiation of force is unacceptable.
As my child continues to grow, and I struggle for this or that change to be effected in my immediate surroundings via my "rantings and ravings" (really nothing more than the exasperated protest of a man trying to tell his peers that murder does not beget life and peace, and theft does not engender prosperity), I come to realize more and more every day that this is, in many ways, a futile effort. People believe what they want to believe. I have changed a few minds over the course of the last three or four years. And that is wonderful. I am sure I have planted many seeds, and have even seen the fruit of some of them. However, what strikes me now more than ever is how important my son is to this "fight." The little guy I sometimes view as a "distraction" when I am in the middle of a heated Facebook debate--or am scraping for some income via whatever the current hustle may be--is in and of himself, the question, the answer, and the reason. Right there in front of me.
He is the question: What is human life? The answer: look at me. And the reason: happiness, joy, and self-discovery. All of the things I wish to do to be a "good dad," I am now realizing are the exact same measures needed in order to eventually bring this murderous thing called "the state" to an end. Bloody revolutions have never worked. Not over the course of time, at least. Change exists and there is respite for but a moment, only to be followed by the next bloody regime now drunk on the power they've achieved and secured. Trying to teach our zombified friends, relatives, and neighbors--both online and off--is a critical battle, the importance of which cannot be overestimated. However. One cannot teach a pig to sing. There are many who simply will not receive our message, as common sensical, logical, ethical and objectively irrefutable as it may be. What I can do, however, is raise my son. I can refuse to brainwash him into the same nationalistic, statist cultism I was brought up in. I can give him a golden ticket that I never had. One that says: IT'S OKAY TO THINK FOR YOURSELF.
Just today, Isaiah--my son--was blowing me away at lunch with the math problems and solutions he was proudly proclaiming to me. Daddy! Do you know what three minus five is? MINUS TWO! Two minus two equals....ZERO!
He's five. I couldn't help thinking of the public school curriculums, and how many of them don't introduce integers until the 6th grade. With all the mistakes I've made as a parent, one thing I feel I have done well is to allow my son to be curious and interested, and to do my best to engage him when he is. He likes numbers. I didn't try to force that on him. He likes to read. I didn't force that on him, either. He likes puns, gags, booby traps, and jokes. He likes to learn about space and asteroids. He's interested in people's feelings. He's happy. Just in and of himself. Children all have this original spirit going on that craves meaning and making sense of the world for themselves.
I couldn't help thinking what a bum deal so many of us got. Having to face shaming indoctrination day in and day out from our schools, parents, religious leaders, and teachers. Day in and day out, day out and day in, until that little treasured fire of vibrant and vigorous curiosity and happiness, was something of a secret "enemy" we had to keep inside and try to convince ourselves was evil or "bad." Some of us protected that little fire, though, and got out alive. Now many of us are rebuilding that conflagration of excitement, passion, and joie de vivre, and realizing that those "teachers" and "leaders" were the ones full of shit--were the truly bad ones--and not us.
Imagine what would happen if parents all over the world began something new. No longer teaching their children that sometimes the mass murder of entire groups of people is necessary. What if there were no more mandatory indoctrination centers called "schools" forcing children to say a prayer to a flag? Teaching them that some individuals have greater rights than others because they have a badge, a title, or a favored "nationality." Teaching them that they cannot even exercise basic bodily autonomy in using the restroom without permission from some arbitrary authority figure. A stranger who is not their mother or father, or even someone from their neighborhood, who now rules every minute detail of their lives. Imagine parents all over teaching that stealing via a euphemism called "taxation" is as wrong as any other kind of stealing. Well, you should imagine this--it will make you feel good--but the good news it that it is already happening.
Even if your children go to public school, you can still set them free. Be that light. Let them know the fucking truth.
In doing so, you will give them a foundation of logic, love, hope, and happiness--and most importantly, courage--that will stay will them for all of their lives, regardless of the situations they may face. Imagine this. Because it is coming. It is already here. Markedly more than the generations before us, do individuals across the globe now question and reject violence and authoritarianism. A lot of this is thanks to the internet. Just think of things 10 years ago. How many "Voluntaryists" did you know? Chances are, you weren't even one, at that time. Our children will only break the chains further. And their children even further. In the same way the grandson of the high ranking Nazi officer is as far removed from his grandfather's ideology as east is from west, so can our children look back upon the barbaric practices of extortion, mass murder, and the vile propagandizing of children across the globe, prevalent at this time, in bemused wonder, revulsion, and perhaps even....humor at the pure idiocy of it all.
My little man, who is teaching me more than I could ever possibly teach him.
The current society at large teaches children that hitting is wrong. That stealing is wrong. And then tells them to forget all that in the name of violence.
Euphemisms like "war," "taxation," "education," and "politics" exist to "smooth" all this over, and make death and destruction more palatable and less uncomfortable to accept. The compulsory schools are such a huge part of this cult indoctrination. This is why I push unschooling. However, unschooling is bigger than that. It's not just "not going to school." Unschooling is unlearning (what so many of us adults are now doing, trying to repair the damage done via the recalcitrant programming of our childhoods, by erasing the lies and reclaiming our stolen minds). Unschooling is a way of life which looks critically outward, curious and inquisitive, and accepts nothing solely on the "authority" of others, but finds the individual--alone and uncompromised--testing, weighing, loving, laughing, and thinking, to the end of self-discovery and to the end of pursuing whatever meaning, purpose, and course this individual deems worthy and important. In this way, each child brings their best to the world. Their original talents, proclivities, and genius. To cut this off--as society does now--and to amputate these little ones from themselves, is a crime so vile I sometimes imagine that a hell existing somewhere would be a good thing. For what else can be done with the rotting filth and refuse of this sort of assault on genius, love, innocence, and wonder?
It doesn't even take force. Just love, and living our principles openly, in front of our children.
Our kids are already light years beyond us. Hopefully in a couple generations, their children or grandkids will be saying: Did you know that people used to think taxes were NORMAL!?!?!? And that killing strangers for peace was "necessary"!? Yeah, and they used to go to a building every day and had to sit still and not move and repeat things. They thought THAT was learning!!!! That's crazy!
Graham Smith is a Voluntaryist activist, creator, and peaceful parent residing in Niigata City, Japan. Graham runs the "Voluntary Japan" online initiative with a presence here on Steem, as well as DLive and Twitter. (Hit me up so I can stop talking about myself in the third person!)
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