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Letter #3 to Conservatives


Dear Conservatives:

There you go again! You’re once again trying to use public schooling to require students to submit to religious indoctrination. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

Can’t you simply leave well enough alone? After all, look at all the damage you have already done to students with public schooling itself. Why do you feel compelled to make things even worse than they already are?

Your latest move is exemplified by a proposal by your conservative colleague John Andrews, who is now a member of the Colorado state senate. Andrews is proposing a law that he’s calling the “School Heritage Act.” He wants to have a mandated moment of silence in public schools “for reflection on our heritage as a free people in one nation under God.” He also wants the Ten Commandments posted as a “code of conduct for historical, not religious, purposes only.”

My, oh my! Every one of you, including Andrews, knows that those students are in those public schools because the law forces them to be there. You know the law I’m talking about – the compulsory school-attendance law.

Is it not bad enough that you people force children into state-approved institutions to learn state-approved doctrines from state-approved schoolteachers following state-approved curricula? Must you now use that same force to require them to submit to state-approved religious indoctrination?

Remember, conservatives: these public school students are a “captive” audience. They are there in those institutions not because of those exciting dynamic lectures, but because you’re forcing them to be there. How many of them would be there if you didn’t force them to be there?

How do you reconcile your coercion that with your mantras of “freedom and free enterprise”? The truth is you can’t. You people are as devoted to preserving the socialistic welfare state – Social Security, welfare, Medicare, public schooling, and all the rest – as the most ardent “liberal” is. The only difference lies in the disease that afflicts you conservatives-hypocrisitus. Your allegiance to government force and intervention in peaceful activity is always in the name of “freedom and free enterprise.”

But even that isn’t the most disgraceful part of all this. What’s disgraceful is how you’re trying to teach these children that compulsory religious indoctrination is part of “our heritage as a free people.” How can you live with yourselves knowing that you are teaching the young people to do as you have for so many years – live the life of the lie?

Public schooling is a governmental, socialistic enterprise. (It’s Fidel Castro’s proudest accomplishment.) It has nothing to do with freedom. It is the opposite of freedom. It forces parents to submit their children to state indoctrination. It forces people to fund the system through school taxes. It treats all children as if they were cut from the same mold. It screws children up. It messes with their minds. It makes them act in bizarre ways.

And now you people are proposing to make things even worse by using school compulsory-attendance laws as a way to compel children to submit to religious indoctrination. Do you honestly believe that religious coercion will make people more civilized? Religious coercion and indoctrination are the antithesis of freedom and civilization.

I am hopeful that grown-ups will see through this latest attempt to use “free-enterprise lingo” to extend the power of the state over people’s lives, especially the religious lives of young people.

But I am especially hopeful that the students of this country will see through the scam. After all, it’s the young people that you’re jacking with here with your immoral, despicable systems of coercion. You’ve already destroyed so many adult lives with your beloved wars, especially your favorite – the war on drugs. Can’t you just leave it at that? Must you now try to cause more destruction to children?

The best thing you could ever do is abolish public schooling forthwith – to separate school and state the way our ancestors separated church and state. But if you can’t do that because of your allegiance to conserving the status quo, even when it is immoral and destructive, don’t make things worse than they already are. Don’t extend your principle of coercion to compulsory religious-attendance laws.

Every time I begin to think that there’s hope for you people, you do your best to dash my hopes. I knew that curing you of your dread disease – hypocrisitus – was not going to be easy. But I confess I’m finding it a lot more difficult than I thought.

Jacob G. Hornberger

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    Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.