(Guest post by Greg Forster)
Heading toward the Independence Day weekend, OCPA’s Perspective has just come out with my article on school choice as an embodiment of the principles of the Declaration of Independence:
The schools this country was founded upon saw themselves as responsible to families, churches, and, in a broad way, the local community. They were not government-owned or government-run…Government control over the minds of the young would have been seen by the founding generation as intolerable tyranny…
I argue that the creation of the government school monopoly involved a rejection of the principles of the founders, including religious freedom. One of the motives of Horace Mann and his Unitarian friends in creating a government school monopoly was to stamp out the old religion of the Puritans and establish Unitarianism in Massachusetts. Whatever you think of the relative merits of Calvinism and Unitarianism, government control of education for the purpose of religious indoctrination is not what this country was founded on.
Fortunately, by the time they tried to play this trick on another religious minority, the cat was out of the bag:
Thank heaven our Roman Catholic friends were smart enough to see what was going on when the government monopoly was turned against them. Not many Americans in the mid-19th century shared the Boston Brahmins’ contempt for evangelicals, but a lot of them did want to purge Catholic immigrants of their filthy popery. Catholics weren’t having any of it; in the great tradition handed down from the American founding, they ignored the government monopoly and started their own schools. America’s newcomers were more faithful to the principles of their adopted home than America itself was.
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