[Discuss-sudbury-model] Fw: The Menace of State Education: Jesse Ogden - Collectivism, Individuality, and T-Shirts

From: David Rovner <rovners_at_netvision.net.il>
Date: Sun Oct 12 01:39:00 2003

Enough said.

~ David Rovner
"The truth is that schools don't really teach anything except how to obey
orders."
John Taylor Gatto.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dr Chris R. Tame" <chris_at_RAND.DEMON.CO.UK>
To: <TCS_at_LISTSERV.AOL.COM>
Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2003 4:04 PM
Subject: The Menace of State Education: Jesse Ogden - Collectivism,
Individuality, and T-Shirts

> http://www.lewrockwell.com/ogden/ogden9.html
>
> Collectivism, Individuality, and T-Shirts
>
> by Jesse Ogden
>
>
>
> "Ok, who is not getting a T-Shirt?," asked the Girl-In-Charge of the T-
> Shirt idea.
>
> A single defiant hand shot into the air. The bored teenager looked
> around, lazily, feeling a bad vibe about the room. Especially when he
> noticed that his was the only hand up.
>
> "Jesse, you're not getting a shirt?," asked the Girl-In-Charge.
>
> "For nine bucks I could get a pizza and breadsticks, and even with only
> that I'd still be more satisfied," replied the bored teenager.
>
> The statement elicited a few laughs from some of the teenager's chums,
> who were very small in number, but the feeling in the air was quickly
> becoming unpleasant. A few more comments were shot back between the
> antagonistic teenager and his classmates.
>
> "Y'know Jesse, you don't have to be so anti-grouple," said one girl.
>
> "Anti-grouple?" questioned a few people about their classmate's use of
> the English language.
>
> "Look, I hate collectivism. I'm sorry, but I do. That's just how I am,"
> concluded the antagonist. He was trying to put an end to the discussion
> before it got out of hand, something that his words were prone to doing.
>
> In essence, that is precisely what occurred in my Advanced Placement
> Humanities class. A few students had thought up the idea of creating
> shirts for the Humanities class -- it was the first time that this class
> on the study of Western Civilization had enough students to actually be
> a class -- with most of the people agreeing with the idea of making
> shirts, and the rest just not caring.
>
> From the beginning I had been an opponent of the shirt idea, and for
> several reasons. I already disdained my school enough -- so there's no
> way I'm ever going to wear anything school related except for the
> uniforms of the Quiz Bowl team that I'm on -- but the shirts were also
> the brainchild of some very egotistic people whom I didn't get along
> with very well. There were individual reasons for each person on why we
> didn't get along, but it was their collective pride that pushed me even
> further away.
>
> There was a lot that bothered me about the shirts though. I had already
> fleshed out my individual personality and the idea of wearing the same
> thing as everyone else in order to feel accepted or good about myself
> immediately repulsed me. The shirts were also a kind of offshoot of the
> school spirit -- of which I have none -- that is so highly prized in our
> school. But what really bothered me were some of the ideas for the
> shirts, ideas that really showed a stuck-up and snobbish dark side of my
> peers. One girl even said that she wanted to "rub [our peers'] noses in
> it," by making sure that when Humanities was written on the shirt, that
> the AP (Advanced Placement) was included to show just how intellectually
> superior we are to everyone else, just because we were in a special
> Advanced Placement class.
>
> I kept these reasons for my opposition to the shirts quiet though.
> School had only begun five weeks ago and already I wasn't getting along
> with them, so I didn't want to push it any further. But I had also made
> a kind of silent pact with them. I would stay on topic in class and keep
> my thoughts to myself and they would leave me alone. It was a deal that
> I wanted to try to uphold. When talk of the shirts turned to see if
> everyone was getting one though, I had to speak up. Like the
> conversation above showed, things went downhill from there.
>
> I find it interesting to note though that my peers failed to catch on to
> my comments on collectivism. No one made any mention of that to me after
> I said those words. It might be for the best though, for if they knew
> the thoughts that go on inside my head, they would find an unexpected
> viewpoint to try and deal with. And I'm afraid that the discussion that
> would follow would get really ugly.
>
> My class has practically been taken over by a few who act as though they
> speak for the class -- one of them, in fact, intends on becoming a
> politician anywhere on the level from representative to president. It
> perplexes them that I would refuse to comply with their "harmonious"
> system. While they say they respect individuality, they will only extend
> that respect so far, so they do not understand that I am fully prepared
> to fight for mine.
>
> Having been forced to bear the largest loads in group assignments and
> projects all throughout my public school life, I have developed an
> extremely bad taste for the collective spirit in public schools. This
> has earned me a notorious reputation for being a difficult person to
> handle. But a friend of mine probably summed it up best: "You're like
> some kind of modern day Thoreau. I just have no idea where you get this
> boundless energy to keep it up. I sympathize with you a lot, but I
> wouldn't be able to do it like you do."
>
> Knowing the dangers of collectivism, I'm morally and ethically bound to
> oppose it. Even if it's something as trivial as T-Shirts, I still have
> to do it. If everyone's marching to the same drumbeat, how are they
> going to understand that there's the possibility for different rhythms?
>
> October 11, 2003
>
> Jesse Ogden [send him mail] is a high school student in Michigan.
>
> Copyright © 2003 LewRockwell.com
>
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>
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>
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>
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> Dr. Chris R. Tame, Director
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Received on Sun Oct 12 2003 - 01:38:30 EDT

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