Friday, April 14, 2006

M. Scott Peck

One of my favorite authors is M. Scott Peck. Among his books are The Road Less Traveled and People of the Lie. I've recently been reminded of some observations made by M. Scott Peck.

Peck's main thesis is that laziness is the root of all evil and that evil is obsessed with preserving an image of righteousness. In other words, evil begins when we want to look good, but not actually put in the time and effort to be good; or, when we are not willing to acknowledge our faults.

"Naturally, since it is designed to hide its opposite, the pretense chosen by evil is most commonly the pretense of love." (People of the Lie, p. 106)

Whether done by parents or institutions like schools, there is a pretense that coercive policies are meant to benefit the child, when in truth, they are designed to benefit the individuals or institutions promoting coercion.

Why use force and manipulation? Coercion gets instant results. It's fast and appears to be effective. However, it doesn't provide long term results. Whether it is at home in or an institutional setting like a school, intimidation provides only an illusion of compliance.

Today, we have laws mandating hours of instruction, age, and even content of instruction. Yet, we have decades of falling proficiency in core skills, such as reading and math, as well as high drop out rates. Of those who continue on to college, nearly 50% of the high school graduates in the University of California system have to take remedial math and English. We have policies that try to force children to get an "education." However, we have lower literacy rates than when school was optional.

This principle also applies to family settings. I once read a study about the abuse of the elderly. There was a strong correlation between child abuse and later abuse and neglect of elderly parents. Many children who were exploited by "loving" parents grow up to maltreat those same parents. Genuine care and affection can not be compulsory. It can not survive in an atmosphere of coercion.

I do not mean families should be a democracy either. I tell my kids that mom and dad are a benign dictatorship. Our goal is to establish "self rule" by the time the kids leave the house.

"Strangely enough, evil people are often destructive because they are attempting to destroy evil." (People of the Lie, p. 74)

How many public education objectives began under the pretense of ending some "wrong?" The list is almost endless. For example, to end the evils of "discrimination", schools now promote discrimination of select groups. The chosen group has preference in hiring, college admission, and such. They are given easier criteria for advancement at the expense of all others. These policies are design to promote an illusion of equity. In reality, they harm both groups.

"The words 'image,' 'appearance,' and 'outwardly' are crucial to understanding the morality of the evil. While they seem to lack any motivation to be good, they intensely desire to appear good. The 'goodness' is on a level of pretense. It is, in effect, a lie. This is why they are the 'people of the lie.'" (People of the Lie, p. 75)

A good example of this type of “lie” is the push for standardized testing. Teaching to the test and cheating are rampant because schools wish to maintain a pretense of efficacy while supporting mediocrity.

"For evil to so misuse their power, they must have the power to use in the first place. They must have some kind of dominion over their victims. The most common relationship of dominion is that of parent over child." (People of the Lie, p. 119)

Many who chose to homeschool do so to escape the tyranny of public education. As parents, we must be constantly vigilant that we do not become the tyrants.

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Spunky said...

I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for your thoughtful commentary.

Janine Cate said...

Your welcome.

It was difficult to write. I wanted to do a research paper on each point, just to be clear.

I finally just had to say to myself, "I hope they know what I mean."