John Axtell (
Mon, 05 Mar 2001 09:48:06 -0800

And throughout history very few governments thought their subjects were gullible
enough to believe they lived in a county where individuals had rights.

And that is why the Revolutionary war was fought and the Constitution and the
Bill of Rights written. In a country where individual liberty is valued such
views should be common place.

I do not think I overstate the case.

I think that the vast majority of Americans have lost sight of the foundation
upon which this country was built because they have been taught in public
schools and private schools where students were taught to believe as their
parents wanted them to believe, and in what to believe, such as God, and were
not taught the fundamentals of a Republic sort of government and were conned
into believing that there is a relationship between Democracy and a Republic and
individual freedom that can not be modified. Certainly a Democracy or a Republic
CAN result in individual freedoms as was the hope of our founding fathers but
those in power always believe they know what is best for those not in power.

Reading the comments of so many people who supposedly value individual freedom,
though they espouse the concept of a democratically run school which exists only
to limit individual freedom, I find a constant discussion of how to manipulate a
school's structure so that students are confined within the limits that the
adults and then the "majority" of students find acceptable.

I do understand that even in the beginning of this country, America, that
Christians limited the freedom of others and that if you did not believe the way
they did they made life very difficult. This tradition, unfortunately, has
continued and we now have the larger percentage of our population in jail than
any "advanced" country in the world, and we somehow continue to think that we
have freedom.

For one to contend that a "democratic" system results in the greatest "freedom"
flies in the face of what we are a part of. To contend that a bunch of kids have
any concept of individual freedom and that they can somehow organize themselves
into a functioning entity simply is unfounded.

Put four kids into one room and there will soon be a pecking order, not freedom,
a participatory dictatorship. Freedom is not natural, normal, or necessarily
desirable. For any group to move toward a common goal freedom must be abandoned.

The delicate question that I keep reading these e-mails to find the answer to is
just how does an adult structure and train young people to develop into free
thinking individuals and to experience as many aspects of life as possible.
Parents do such a good job of limiting their children and training them to be
afraid of new experiences it is a challenge to force children to participate in
new experiences rather than to stay in the rut they are in.

In contrast to a SVM model our "school" does not require attendance, does not
require participation, allows exclusive interest groups to be formed where they
decide who to admit and who not to admit, has no required courses or areas of
interest a student must study and does not require participation in the
governing body of the "school". (We have no dull meetings run by inexperienced
individuals.) So I keep searching for ways to get children and their parents to
broaden their experiences, their "circle of friends", to get them to realize
there is a much larger world out there than the one they have defined for
themselves or that parents have defined for the children.

I have not found the answer in the democratic model of schools and in fact find
the model very controlling. We do ask students to not get caught when they are
violating the laws of the "democratic" government that constantly limits their
true freedoms.

In search of a better future !!!!!!

John Axtell wrote:

> Hi,
> This is Stuart Williams-Ley, a staff member at Cedarwood Sudbury School in
> Santa Clara, responding to John's comments about how both democracy and the
> American ethic are hostile to individual liberty. Throughout most of history,
> John would have been imprisoned or executed for remarks so opposed to the
> official views of the state. Thus I think John is overstating his case.
> Stuart

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