Leave it to the Chinese Communist Party and the New York Times to indirectly teach Americans about public schooling. In an article entitled “The High School Course Beijing Accuses of Radicalizing Hong Kong,” the Times writes:
China’s ruling Communist Party has long seen education as a crucial ideological tool for nurturing loyal citizens. Under Xi Jinping, the country’s authoritarian leader, the party has ramped up patriotic education on the mainland, helping shape one of the most nationalist generations of youth that the country has seen in years…. In recent months, officials in Beijing have repeatedly stressed the need for stronger patriotic education in Hong Kong.
What the Times and U.S. government officials will never admit is that that is precisely the purpose of public (i.e., government) schooling here in the United States – to produce good, little citizens who are “patriotic,” loyal to the state, defer to their political rulers, and blindly support important decisions made by U.S. officials, especially with respect to foreign affairs.
And who can dispute that the public schooling system here in the United States has been just as successful in achieving its goal as Chinese officials have been in mainland China? With its mandatory-attendance laws and government-approved textbooks and curriculum, and its army-lite system of regimentation and control, the U.S. public-school system has produced a nation of people whose love of country is measured by their unwavering and loyal support of the government’s troops, who they never hesitate to thank for their “service,” regardless of what that “service” happens to be.
The U.S. phenomenon is best demonstrated by President Trump’s ardent supporters, whose allegiance to Trump is every bit as fierce as allegiance by Chinese people for Xi Jinping. Even when Trump exercises dictatorial power, such as by imposing taxes on the American people without congressional consent, his Trumpsters’ loyalty to their leader remains steadfast and unwavering. That’s because in their minds, by supporting this “great man” who has been elected president, they are demonstrating their love for their country and their gratitude for how free they are, just as Chinese citizens on the mainland do.
Even as adults, many Americans continue to dutifully recite the Pledge of Allegiance that they were forced to recite in the state’s educational system. Of course, no one ever asks why our American ancestors lived without a loyalty oath for more than a century. They also are indifferent to the fact that the Pledge was written by a self-avowed socialist.
Chinese officials pin the problem with the Hong Kong protesters on the city’s educational system, which, ironically, continues to stress independent thinking, democratic principles, and principles of liberty. That’s what Chinese Communist Party officials are concerned about. They want Hong Kong schools to inculcate the same mindset toward Chinese officials that Trumpsters have toward President Trump.
Consider what Xu Luying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese government, said about education, and ask yourself whether her words don’t embody the mindset of many loyal and patriotic citizens here at home:
There is indeed a problem with the national education of Hong Kong’s youth. Passionately loving the country and passionately loving the motherland should be taught in the first class in school.
The problem in all this is that all too many of these loyal and patriotic citizens in both countries are unable to distinguish between their government and their country. They have been inculcated with a mindset that holds that government and country are one and the same. Thus, it stands to reason that when someone takes a stand against the government or refuses to thank the troops for their service, he is automatically considered a bad person, a disloyal person, a Fifth Columnist, a secret spy, and a person who hates his country.
But as history has taught us, the real patriots are the ones who, understanding that the government and the country are two separate and distinct entities, are willing to take a stand against their government and in favor of their country. That’s what the Englishmen who signed the Declaration of Independence did. That’s what the Mexican citizens did inside the walls of the Alamo. It’s what the White Rose group did in Germany. And it’s what the protesters in Hong Kong are doing today.