In this essay, Beaver talks about the blurry line between education and indoctrination:
Education is the cornerstone of any successful political upheaval.
If a movement wishes for its ideas to actually change how society functions, it cannot merely limit itself to spreading its ideas amongst the adult population. Though it is how it will obtain power, it is not how its influence will last. Instead, it must instill its ideas in children. As children are more easily influenced, it is easier to not only open them to ideas, but close them to others.
A proper education will allow a political movement to turn today’s children into tomorrow’s adult followers.
The morality of this might seem debatable: After all, isn’t it wrong to “indoctrinate” children? Yet this is merely falling victim to a language prejudice: Every education a child receives is indoctrination. Rather, the question one should ask is “What kind of education should children receive?” or “What kind of values is it acceptable to indoctrinate?”
The answer is, as usual, fairly simple: If it favors the continued existence of the nation and its advancement, then it is right. Otherwise, it isn’t. Issues arise when individuals disagree over how to better promote national prosperity and progress, which granted can be fairly difficult to discern.
However, though certain things may be debatable, others aren’t. Promoting natality, fighting corruption, instilling civic responsibility are all undoubtedly good things to indoctrinate into children. The opposite is of course wrong. Therefore, one can easily claim that we can merely limit ourselves to teaching children about topics which aren’t debatable. Once they grow into adults, they can make up their own mind on the more debatable topics.
Now that this has been explained, I can get to my point, which is how one should watch what is being taught to their children. Corrupt political movements will not merely try to indoctrinate children about clear cut concepts, but also about debatable ones. This is how we get fundamentalists teaching children that abortion and homosexuality are wrong or liberals teaching them the opposite. If one allows that either of the groups is allowed to do such a thing, then one allows that the ruling government can teach children that the leaders are not to be questioned or other even less savory doctrines.
So, in conclusion, a proper education should prepare children for national responsibility by teaching them about concepts which are beyond a shadow of a doubt good for the nation. Meanwhile, it is the responsibility of adults to keep an eye open for “questionable” organizations trying to indoctrinate debatable ideas into children.
If this is not done, it will be the end of critical thought.
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