Sunday, October 31, 2010

Money Tables

Jesus overturned the money tables in the Temple of Jerusalem.

Churches turn them business-side-up again.

Ivan Illich tried to overturn the money tables in the Church.
Ivan Illich and I tried to overturn the money tables in the schools (he with his Deschooling Society, I with my Free Learning Exchange, Inc). (With his Medical Nemesis Illich tried to overturn the money tables in the hospitals.) (My Free Learning Exchange, Inc. tried to overturn the money tables in government, in media, in our whole system of record keeping and market manipulation.)

Government, the whole society obeying, turn them business-side-up again.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Compulsory Education 1870 is currently emailing ads for EG West's Education and the State (1965). The email says,West explores the views on education of the nineteenth-century British reformers and classical economists who argued for state education. He demonstrates that by the Foster Act of 1870 the state system of education was superimposed upon successful private efforts, thereby suppressing an emerging and increasingly robust structure of private, voluntary, and competitive education funded by families, churches, and philanthropies.Good. Now would catch us up with advanced education consciousness in 1965. is connected with The latter published an article on Ivan Illich several years ago. That could have brought education consciousness in line with 1970 (but only early 1970, because it showed no awareness of what then happened in the rest of 1970, during and after the publication of Illich on the subject. And when I alerted them to their omission, they remained silent!) (Other good articles had appeared in the meantime: 1965 to 1970: Lauter & Howe's reverse engineering of "school's purpose. For example: the schools are commonly seen to fail in advancing literacy, numeracy: maybe, the author's hypothesized, advancing literacy and numeracy are not the real purpose of the schools: the schools succeed totally in making the majority of the children tractable morons who show up more or less on time and do what they're told: perfect fodder for industrial domination. Thus, the schools do not fail; they succeed: only too well.)

But neither nor have reported on the further work of the deschoolers: Illich followers: me, pk, for example. Illich suggested cybernetic data basing at the community level as a way around state dominance of secular rituals. I pk offered the Free Learning Exchange, Inc. in New York City. Similarly starting would be learning networks wrote me from all around the world asking for my advice. So too did state educational institutions. I answered them all: repeating Illich's basic points:
Llist resources.
Match interests.
Publish feedback.
andDon't tolerate state-coercive ritual
Don't tolerate substitution of certificates for skill testing.
I also encouraged these early learning networks to share resources. Thus, in that latter feature, I, even more than Ivan Illich (while standing on his shoulders) invented the internet. Illich invented social networking as a defense against state dominance of potentially free people: I proposed that digital public records be coordinated. I'd already spun a short story in the 1960s which had modeled an internet, and in 1969 offered for publication a short story in which banks had internet'd credit through modems, satellites, and voice recognition software.

I offer my own history as evidence that the practice of sabotaging reformers and burying evidence is alive and well: the most liberal institutions following suit along with the most repressive.

My got censored by the US after they arrested me: my nearly three thousand other internet publications got eclipsed: my IS provider destroyed all my data in the wake of the court order to proscribe one section of one domain. My son rescued my data, the FBI having confiscated my equipment, but he didn't remount it. He kept alive, but not, not, not

Research this. You won't find the truth in the records of any university that I'm aware of. I doubt you'll find much in the Library of Congress. Though while alive I could show anyone who visited me proof galore from my records. (I'd said online I had proof. The FBI arrested me, went through my stuff: and left much of my evidence unmolested! The repressors will never have intelligence robots, not so long as they use humans.)

(Tell a dumb crook about fingerprints, and maybe he'll go back to the crime scene and destroy everything except the fingerprints!)

An English Illich fan posted an article on Illich more than a decade ago. He said, "We should read the deschoolers." But I see no evidence that he's even aware of who the deschoolers are. I see no evidence that he even know who I am! He doesn't mention contracting Denis Detzel, founder of the Evanston Learning Exchange. Denis, according to Illich, was talking deschooling even before I was!

Deschooling Society came out in 1970. It was a best seller. My Free Learning Exchange, Inc., Denis' Evanston Learning Exchange, started in 1970, mine only a week or two ahead of his. My deschooling writing has not been published, except by me, mailing it around the world, posting in online since 1995. I'd written voluminously to those teaching colleges which had contacted me. Was anything I wrote read by anyone who could read?

I have no evidence: then or now.

Dozens of people volunteered to help me. They must have understood something? Where are they now? We're further in the dark in 2010 than we were in 1970!

By the way, that mailing also touted a related book by Albert Jay Nock: The Theory of Education in the United States (1931). I wish I could afford to buy either of them.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Illich Points Commentary

Illich published his deschooling program in six points, some subdivisions necessary. The new world needs to be explained to the former world (which doesn't listen).
  1. No Compulsory Ritual

    Parochial cultures see nothing wrong with applying their customs among themselves. Problems arise when different cultures mix. We bump into a wall we need to back away from if we are to survive. If the Jews all start their Sabbath on Friday evening, that's fine. If the Jews kill all the Canaanites, they can still start their Sabbath on Friday evenings. But what happens when Jews, and Canaanites, and Greeks, and Egyptians all get squashed into Alexandria: then the Jews need to have their Sabbath any way they please, but leave the Canaanites and the Greeks and the Egyptians to themselves. In other words, in a Europe dominated by the Roman Catholic Church it rubbed few against the grain that the Church used its power to compel attendance at masses. The Protestant Reformation challenged that. Today's shrinking world needs to catch its secular side up to its sacred side: no compulsory school, no compulsory reveille ...
  2. No Certification

    Confusions of logical type trip us up. If a businessman wants a secretary who can type, he has every right to test the typing ability of the job applicant. But business farms the testing out to specialists, in advance: to the schools. The job applicant arrives with a diploma from Tilly's Typing School. In the short run a step is saved; in the long run the confusion of map for territory has been institutionalized. The government has enforced this confusion to the convenience of business and to the destruction of the society's reliance on its own native wits. Overnight, being a Harvard graduate reintroduces our imperialist ancestor's class system: if Harvard bestows superior skills let it show in the sausage, not in the recipe. No, no: a free society would not tolerate the institutionalization of doubtful shortcuts. See if she can type yourself, witness the Harvard grad's skill in action, in an active career. In a deschooled society, asking for a diploma would not be illegal; it would be very bad manners: and not be done.
  3. Iteration: No compulsion, No Coercion: We're so dumbed-down by authority, invitations to liberty sound to the society's inmates like worse authoritarian regimentation! No. Illich unavoidably tiptoes near confusion here. He did after all join an authoritarian institution, the Roman Catholic Church, as a priest. He ascended to monseigneur. He knows hierarchical authority. (Not me, I have nothing to do with the Catholic Church, except to criticize it.) Illich helped me understand that I am an anarchist. I see him as an anarchist, as do others. (I wouldn't follow him if I didn't.) (Not a bomb thrower, understand, a would-be free man, who would live among other free men.) My son is an anarchist: he sees both Illich and me as authoritarian! Precisely ass backwards! My offering of Illich's program was made to those who would adapt it voluntarily, not under duress. There's a difference between pleading with prisoners to free themselves, and holding a weapon on the while mouthing the "same" invitation. Termites build mounds by synergy: the second termite drops a grain of sand onto the couple of grains that a different two termites happened to drop resting against each other. There's no foreman, no government.
  4. Publish volunteered information on resources.

    This is the area in which my presentation differs from Illich's: in detail, not at all in spirit. He distinguished between human and inanimate resources. I don't see the need as far as institutional structure is concerned. The same resource data base that lists English teachers could also list libraries. The same resource data base that lists stationary stores could also list plumbers.

    In a class society a government may combine with an AMA to give preference to MDs. The pregnant woman is thwarted from hiring a midwife: midwives don't get listed in the phone book. But I'll bet midwives have killed far fewer women in childbirth than obstetricians have.

    A free people would leave other people to be free to chose what they learn, how they learn, it, where they study, what it costs ... We wouldn't want to hold still while the state told us we couldn't buy rice, we must by potatoes; we may not walk, we must drive; we may not drive a bug, we must drive an SUV ... Why do we tolerate control over "education," over "health" ...?
  5. Mutual Interest Matching
  6. Feedback
    Expert Feedback:
    Client Feedback:

I'll edit these over time. Revisions, additions will cease when I'm dead.

FLEX 2 + 3

In the forty years since I wedded my life to Ivan Illich's deschooling program I have come to see his four point learning networks as three points. The previous post, Illich 2 + 4, reviews his. This blog republishes his Deschooling Society of 1970 (online at, restored here 2009 January once the fed destroyed my domains (2007 Feb) (and crippled me from getting them back up quickly).

His political foundation I retain as "two":
A. No Compulsory Ritual
B. No Certification

His four points for his proposed institution can be simplified to three points. It also covers more ground:

2.1. Publish Resources
2.2. Publish interest matching results
2.3. Publish feedbackof the same two kinds (except that butchers and bakers and Indian Chiefs (and clients) could use the same two feedback tools):3.1. Resource people on resource people
3.2. Clients on resource people
The following post will comment on the parts of this and the preceding post: Illich Points Commentary.

Illich 2 + 4

Ivan Illich presented his deschooling principles in six parts: two plus four. (I'm going to represent the parts with letters, reserving the numbers for my condensation.)

A. No Compulsory Ritual
B. No Certification
(His Deschooling Society, 1970 is online here [2009 Jan], see Chapter Six especially.) Those first two parts constitute the political aspect: the institution proposed to take over the society's learning needs was offered in four parts:C. Publish volunteered information on human learning resources
D. Publish volunteered information on material learning resources
E. Publish peer-matching wishes
F. Publish feedback on the human resources:that latter of two kinds:F.A. Resource people on resource people
F.B. Clients on resource people
See Illich's text for his explanations. See the following post, FLEX 2 + 3 for my version.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Political Impossibility

bk just emailed me this link, hawking Political Impossibility by WH Hutt. "Should economists curb their rhetoric and prescriptions based on "political realities"? Should anyone attempt to conceal the truth about state intervention for fear of not fitting into the existing political culture?" asks the ad.

My FLEX in 1970, in offering a cybernetic data base to the public — human resources, material resources, interest matching and a feedback data base on the resources, offered a tool by which anyone could publish their own ad at nominal cost (provided the intfrastructure was supported). Thus not only could economists express themselves freely, so could anyone else, and on any subject, in any discipline: FLEX was history's only true free-speech organ. The regular culture's "free press" is given over to leaving faulty facts and faulty assumptions unchallenged, as is the school system. (Never forget, curriculum is set by school boards, not by an intercultural coalition of scholars. Flat-earthers rule. The culture rules, retarding change, preventing progress, growth, learning.)

I'll say more later, but notice immediately the cultural truth of Hunt's thesis and the fact that my FLEX (Illich's design with some pk expansions), supported, used, defended, addressed and could have solved forty years ago!

I answered bk: "Doesn't [Hunt's point] hold in All areas?
There's never been a better proposal for freedom than my FLEX. And I
see no better proof than FLEX that we've never had freedom, only
rhetoric and compromise and cowardice.

"Of course I have to admit that the fed could have taken over FLEX and
regulated and changed it utterly, the way the Church takes over and
perverts "Jesus," the way the fed did take over FLEX by creating its own meretricious Pentagon, CERN, university internet, then regulating it, crushing the inherent anarchism out of it. Still, some small increment of freedom might have escaped."

Actually, I edited a word or two while quoting the latter.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Misused References

Isaac Asimov once told me that he had no control over the graphics or the headings and captions in his books. His publisher was responsible to him for his prose; his publisher had no responsibility to him for any other aspects of publishing. (Our topic was the Crab Nebula. I'd noticed that his pic of it in his Guide to Science seemed to be a mirror image of the same night object shown in my son's school text. He said, if there was a mistake, it was likely in his book (though it added that the Crab Nebula would look more or less like that fro some perspective somewhere in the universe. He was determined not to be too upset by the possibility that some graduate student working for low wages from the publisher could have mis-flipped the emulsion side of the negative.)

For a decade or so I've been getting email from It quotes Illich on deschooling. Bravo. But it seems to be hustling biker-oriented porn! At the least it's a dating service.

Now it burns my ass more than anybody's to see dating services using Illich social networking concepts out of Deschooling Society to steal resources from the only legitimate request for funding for social cybernetics: my appeal for resources to build infrastructure of that nature beginning in 1970 and lasting through today (and tomorrow). But dating services sprang up within a half a year of my original such announcements: 1970, 1971. Such companies made millions, billions by now. I still have yet to reach $2,000 in funds raised: in 40 years!

Ivan Illich Disciples

... Denis Detzel
Dennis Sullivan
Paul Knatz ...
John Quintero ...

General Background Information

Ivan Illich had had a world of associates, friends, and followers before I first read and contacted him in 1970, volunteering to be his disciple (something I couldn't afford to do unless he was going to pay me, because I had a wife and child and no income). His Church associations I knew nothing about at the time. Some of his intellectual associates, teachers and theorists,  I knew a bit about: Paul Goodman, Jonathan Kozol ... One of Illich's first correspondences with me mentioned Denis Detzel as an American interested in establishing Illich-concept learning networks. (In that respect, in 1970, Dezel was #1. The best I can tell I therefore became #2.) Others I read or met and perhaps got to know a bit as a result of my interest: Everett Reimer, Larry Grimes ... Visiting CIDOC (Illich's Center for Intercultural Documentation, Cuernavaca, Mexico), (at Detzel's invitation) in 1971 I met and became acquainted with some of the core people then in attendance: Dennis Sullivan most notably.

By 1972 my Free Learning Exchange, Inc.'s newsletter gave contact information for well more than one hundred incipient or functioning learning exchanges around the globe: mine was the first so far as I can tell, though Denis' was the first announced as imminent. (From 1970 to 1973 my FLEX mailed dozens of announcements to Denis's Evanston Learning Exchange; that latter in that time mailed me one back! And Denis, having invited me to meet him at CIDOC disappeared, not keeping his classes, run off with a girl to Acapulco!) Other would-be learning webs sprang up like mushrooms, one hundred thirty-odd contacting me, me passing their existence on while answering their requests for advice and so forth. By 2006 my domains had posted nearly three thousand web files: hundreds of those in my deschooling domain:, ancestor to this blog. I posted a deschooling history at a new domain,, and emailed a revenge fantasy to the department at NYU which had done more to screw my academic career than any other, driving me into Illich's arms. The FBI arrested and the judge censored a folder, prompting my internet host to destroy all five of my domains and all of their content, my family having paid all my bills while I was in jail except the one that mattered most: my IS! Thus, the fed and my son tag teamed me, subtracting my gospels from the public ken: the public not having been paying much attention, as usual, anyway. Nevertheless, I've been re-posting files as fast as I can to a set of blogs, so there's a great deal of information online about pk however much has been destroyed.

Once I'd announced the Free Learning Exchange, Inc. in NY in 1970 any number of Illich friends and associates contacted me: Noreen Connolly helped as a full-time secretary for nearly three years, unpaid, as was I too, alas. CIDOC alumna Helen Volkomener steered some Methodist Women funds our way. (Unfortunately, we needed more than one patron, the public keeping its pockets zipped.)

At CIDOC I got to know Dennis Sullivan a bit. I got to like and admire him. He got to understand my style a bit: it had rubbed him wrong at first (and he's not the only one). Dezel and I exchanged a few words. I'll add more information about Detzel, Sullivan, and pk; but today I must tell a few starter things about a later-coming Illich disciple, John Quintero: the one I feel closest to.

John Quintero

I first heard of John Quintero when he phoned me in the late 1990s. He introduced himself as a follower of Ivan Illich and told me that he regarded me as one of the greatest philosophers of the Twentieth Century because of founding of the Free Learning Exchange, Inc. In NY in 1970, with its Illichian deschooling principles at its heart. John asked permission to visit me in Florida sometime: which he did, on his way to Illich's memorial service in Germany after his death in 2002. I'll tell more about all that, but first:

Two individuals from my small list of Illich disciples have been arrested, done jail time: me and John. Others could have, I don't know everything. Now of course it's theoretically possible that we were arrested because we'd done something wrong. The Nazis may have arrested vastly more than the eighteen million they killed in concentration camps and some of those arrested may actually have committed a crime: snatching a purse, rape, murder ... Since political regimes keep their own records, and anthropologists find only a few objective facts compared to the reams of fictions spun by rulers, it's impossible to know what proportion of persons arrested and convicted were actually guilty of anything a cross-cultural plurality would agree was criminal. I know the truth in my case: the US made a satire of mine to be incendiary after ruling that whatever it interprets to be incendiary is not protected by the Constitution. In other words, the Nazis can safely censor anything they can get away with misreading. So: technically, acording to the fed, I'm guilty; actually, according to liberal philosophy, I'm not only innocent, I'm a hero. John was arrested and convicted of statutory rape: he hugged his niece. He says he did very much in fact hug his niece, many times, but not improperly. I believe him.

I further believe his explanation: John's a Pope-extolling, rosary-carrying Catholic as well as a disciple of the late Monseigneur Ivan Illich. I am not Catholic at all, not to any extent, but I know that he is. And our difference there makes no difference in my recognition of his embodying the essence of Illich's convivial living principlies. (John founded I helped him compose, code, and publish it.)

more to come

Friday, October 15, 2010

Society, Coercion, DeDe

We're social animals. Me too. I love society. But I hate this society.

(Society, on the other hand, loves itself: and hates me.)

Society in general says it follows God, worships Jesus, but of course it does just the opposite. Those who follow God, or try to, or who ally with Jesus, or try to (those who overturn the money changing tables in the temple, or try to), are still isolated, persecuted, silenced. And society has no conscience about it. (Neither is society very conscious.)

Previous draft:
We are social creatures. Me too. I am loyal to "society," in the abstract. Concretely, I oppose, I hate, this society. I want to kill it. I want to put it out of its misery. I don't care that I suffer and die trying to do so. I can't help that I may fail to do so. I recognize that I have, thus far, so far as I can tell, failed to do so. But I try. I try to transform the society: the society resists transformation.

I knew that. Everyone knows that. Everyone automatically understands that that's what the Christian stories symbolize: the individual failing to transform the society, the society breaking all its most sacred rules to oppose the would be reformer, then the society getting reformed, at least partly, and deifying the failed transformer it had murdered.

I'm not the only individual trying to participate in that pattern: but I do, I have, I am. And none of us know which of today's martyrs will be recognized by tomorrow's "Christians" to have been on the side of God, Christ ... Buddha ... evloution ... the right. And none of us know if any of us will be here tomorrow to have any such opinions. Christian symbols too may evaporate: with the dinosaurs, and the dodo.

previous draft's beginning:

Societies exhibit different standards than individuals, much fuzzier standards.

We are members of the Genus Homo, the species sapiens, the modern subspecies, the redundant sapines sapiens: wise wise man, the talker. We are a social species. Our ancestors chose, genetically, to follow the survival stretegy of grouping. In danger we don't scatter, we group. Or: we may first scatter, but then try to group: to regroup.

We reproduce, we try to clone ourselves. We reproduce sexually, meaning that our young are partly ours and partly other. My son resembles me, but he also resembles his mother; my son resembles my father, but he also resembles his mother's father. Our "identity" gets diluted over time. We change whether we would or not.

I am a social animal, you are a social animal. We talk about being individuals, and we are, so to are marbles, maybe for all we really know so too are electrons, but we group. There are lots of symbols, some of them fuzzy clouds of symbols, that we group under: Christians, Americans, Republicans ... Any of those groups can (and do) claim to be "under" "God," or on the "good" "side," or among the "good guys." Other groups have different slogans. None are dictated by Truth, or Reason; none are wholly without truth, or utterly without basis in reason.

The fossil record shows species swallowed in oblivion, extinct. Their strategies worked, or there would be no fossils, then the didn't work, or they'd still be here.


I love society. I hate This society. I love intelligence, in the abstract. I hate our failures to become intelligent. I despise our instututions that claim allegiance to intelligence while actually opposing it, sabotaging it, entrenching mediocrity: bombing others while wrapped in symbols of freedom.

I understand that societies train their young. I wouldn't change that. But I oppose (and have sacrificed my life to opposing) coercion, doubly so where instituions such as church or state, school board or draft board, put their weight behind the coercion.

I urge us to recognize the difference between papa telling junior "You must speak English," or "You mustn't say 'ain't'" and the church saying "You must attend mass (and it must be in Latin)" and the state saying "You mut attend English class" (and "You must put on this uniform and go and burn that village of gooks").

Christian churchs tell us that we're no good. (I agree: basically.) Our (falsely) "liberal" institutions tell us that we're inteligent, have found reason, have superceded Original Sin. (I disagree, utterly. and scream my disagreement.) Media today tell us that we're the good guys (while burying mountains of evidence to the contrary). (Universities bury evidence, hide ideas, silence speech, just as inexorably as any Spanish Inquisiiton ever did.) (And they get away with it because they're the record repository.) (We're in truly fatal trouble when all the record keeping institutions coordinate their false record keeping!) (Thank God for the parts of the universe not under our command, where fingerprints of unknown kinds contradict our orthodoxy.)

I be back quick to edit and contine

Saturday, October 09, 2010

InfoAll: DeDeDe

or: All the Information

(a blog associated with, the deschooling domain spun off from a fatality of federal censorship: all pk's domains evaporating after pk's arrest and silencing.)

"Deschooling" opposes coercion. The Church lost its power to force people to attend particular sacred rituals: the public should oppose the state's power to coerce attendance at secular rituals: from compulsory pledges of allegiance to compulsory attendance at math classes.

I've been working up some synonyms for "deschooling": and currently propose two additional associated "de"s:

(DeRegulate) and



Information should be deregulated. We don't need Big Brother, we don't want Big Brother. (Alas, we've got Big Brother.)

Society is sinking itself under the pressure of experts: liscensed professionals. It wouldn't be so bad if the licensed experts were in any way actually the best experts, but the society that crucifies Jesus while honoring Augustus, Herod, Pilat ... Barabas does not have the right experts in place, nor the right healers, nor the right teachers. Deregulate information, deregulate skills, and society just might become human: without human being a bad word.

DeSchool was an unfortunate diction choice: can't be helped. Revolutions never have time to polish their rhetoric. I like DeDeDe better, but I just invented it. After forty years people still don't know what deschool means, how are they going to understand DeDeDe? Well, maybe they will, maybe they won't: the dead or crippled or broken martyr can't control what the crucifiers will say. But it's my term, and from here on I'm abbreviating it: DeDe. Read it to symbolize all the De's: deschool, deregulate, de-anything: anything kleptocratic and manipulating: anything where a bureaucracy witlessly coerces others.

2010 12 15 I also offer the name "General DeDe" as an alias for pk. pk is my nickname from college: Paul Knatz, my initials: written lower case for compex reasons gone into elsewhere.

Given the above anyone should see that the DeDe part of the proposed nom de plume shortens the DeDeDe above to simply DeDe. But all De- associations are welcome: three, and more.

The first part, General, is itself a complex: largely a complex joke. I'll elucidatein a new post dated today.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

lllich Diction: She/Her

Ivan llich symbols, diction, attitudes ...

pk has preached deschooling since 1970, devoted, sacrificed, his life to it, been martyred by the Nazis of schooling (that is, of coercion, of interferring with other people's business). My home page, published to the internet since the early mid-1990s, gathered relevent materials: first in's FLEX section, than at, a domain dedicated to the purpose, then additionally at this InfoAll blog, and now at a being resurrected first on my hard drive, in hope of getting back into cyberspace (cyberspace, an invention largely of Ivan Illich and Paul Knatz, the anti-centralization cyberneticists stolen by the conventional US thieving politicians (and bureautcrats) in a section renamed DeDeDe: for DeRegulate, DeProfessionalize, DeSchool: a trinity of aspects of deschooling. I took to Illich like a fish to water because he embodied many of my own ideas and attitudes, but also added fresh perspectives and analyses and alternatives that I'd never thought of. His being a Roman Catholic priest, a monseignor, threw me for a loop, but then again the Church had already defrocked him before I ever heard of him: thus his Imitation-of-Jesus crown of thorns, his stigmata, were already in place for any Christian to see and marvel at. (If the kleptocratis is chauffeured in a chariot, you know almost for sure that it isn't Jesus, isn't a disciple of Jesus; if he's hanging upside down while everyone else is dripping gravy on their tie, then it might be Jesus, or a Jesus disciple. Anyway, here's the first a a series of presentations of Illich images:

Church as

Illich distinguished between the Church (that he loved) as She and the Church (that he hated) as Her. The Church as She was the bride of Christ; the Church as Her was the Whore of Babylon.

The Church as She served God: that is, Truth, evolution, progress ... grace; the Church as Her servied the fat, ignorant, lazy, stupid, vain, selfish, gluttonous ... priests. (Ivan isn't around to ratify or to disavow some of my diction: "evolution" there may represent pk more than Illich.) (I can't wholly represent Illich's will anymore than he (or I) could wholly represent Jesus' values.) (The Bible changes a word, a letter, a comma; next thing you know the Bible is grossly misrepresenting what it purports to serve.) (That's life, that's scholarship, that's service.) (Don't worry, the truth will still sort out: just with nobody having been right all the time: no human.)

Think it out from there yourself. Think of other institutions that can be so divided: the school as genuinely interested in learning, in skill, in mutual service ... vs. the school as authority-bound, ignorant, vain, serving hubris ...

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Deschooling's 3Ds

as De-Regulating
as De-Professionalizing

I say again, the term we've used for the philosophy of liberty that opposed compulsory religion, compulsory party membership, compulsory schooling has been "deschooling" since Illich's Deschooling Society was published in 1970. I repeat further that Illich did not coin the term, that distinction belongs to an editor at Harper's. Illich did not like the term, and neither did I. I don't know anyone who did. But movements don't always get to name themselves. Typically, like the "Impressionists" (or the "kikes" or the "niggers") the term is coined as an insult by enemies of the style (the culture, the group). Ah, but sometimes a movement can propose alternate names for itself. Earlier at this blog I wrote the following:
A better term might be "Christian"; but that term is already misleading, long-appropriated by the recent millennia's crops of Christ mockers. For "deschooling" just think uncoerced: free of secularly imposed ritual (as well as Church-imposed ritual): think "free."
Since then I've been toying with a coinage of my own: DePro: short for de-professionalize.
(DeReg for deregulatory should also be considered.)

"School" and "profession" are not synonyms, but in deschooling contexts they sure are related: deeply. Illich argued that schooling prepares the young for a consortium of prescriptions. Once upon a time if your pharmacist had arsenic, or opium, you could buy it. The pharmacist prepared and sold chemicals. He might also offer information about the chemicals, he might offer advice about the chemicals. But he didn't imagine that it was his business to tell you what you could have or what you should do with it. Someone with the leisure could learn to read, or not. Able to, one could read scripture, or novels, or polemics ...

Cultures naturally wants members to think and do and consume certain things. But until recently it was not the state's business to tell you that you couldn't buy opium, even with a prescription. The Temple told Jews how much to donate, which children to donate as student priests, the Church told "Christians" what to pray, when to pray, what to believe, what to think, how much to pay for candles, but the government didn't presume to tell you that you musn't own gold, mustn't ride a motorcycle, or must spend $X for Y years studying Z subject or that you must do it at MNO venues sitting before ABC teachers. But states do, and they don't stop there. You also must "get a note from your doctor"; a note from the shaman (or the witch) will not do.

It's easy for the state to get the ignorant to believe that the state is competent to imitate Harvard, to mass produce Harvard, to give you a $100,000 education just up the road for only $50,000 in tax money (to be paid in your stead by lotteries and flat tracks). The state gets the citizens to swallow the competence of the state to "educate" "teachers," at state facilities, funded by compulsory taxation. (Harvard has to sell you on the idea of Harvard; the state just threatens you with pariah-hood, even with jail.)

Soon you can't do anything without state prescription. The state grants near monopoly power to this bunch of doctors, that bunch of lawyers, the other group of nurses: one post office, one money printer, these couple of banks, those couple of pharmaceutical labs. You can no longer buy your rat poison from the guy in the neighborhood who has it; you have to buy only what the state doesn't forbid, and only from the state-licensed monopolist. It "ought" to be your own sense of things that tells you to use this mechanic or that obstetrician rather than this or that gypsy; not state-pre-or-pro-scription.

In nature we could be intelligent or stupid on our own: stupid meant we didn't live well or long. Now we all have to cooperate with unending compulsory stupidities. In nature an individual's life might get lucky, be good, and be long. In state managed civilization I don't think we'll survive much longer, or be any healthier, or smarter, than chickens crowding cages till they can't stand up.