July 21, 2017

13 Reasons Why is an indictment of schools, not legitimization of suicide.

13-reasons-why-netflix-01-1200x800CBS News reports that two fathers are coping with the worst pain anyone can endure in this life: the death of a child. Both fathers believe the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, contributed to their daughters’ decisions to take their own lives. They have publicly asked Netflix to cease airing the show and one of the two men has requested a meeting with Netflix.

And before anyone raises concerns about free speech, there is nothing in the report suggesting the men are calling on the government to censor or otherwise interfere with Netflix’s rights, at least at this point. They are simply private citizens seeking to deal directly and peacefully with a private enterprise to discuss a dispute.

The story has already exploded in cyberspace. But it seems that most people (including perhaps the producers of the show and the author of the book it was based upon) miss its real lesson. The story is a pretty accurate representation of the “socialization” homeschoolers supposedly deprive their children of by keeping them out of school.

As 1990 New York State Teacher of the Year John Taylor Gatto put it during his acceptance speech for the award,

“It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety, indeed it cuts you off from your own part and future, scaling you to a continuous present much the same way television does.”

While there is never-ending debate about what children are taught in schools, whether religion should be completely banned from public school or not, whether sex education should be taught, etc., nobody questions the school paradigm itself.

It’s time to consider the possibility that the entire model is wrong. The culture it creates is just one reason. In the absence of adult culture that is at least for the most part based on the rules of civil society, the children, in their ignorance, create their own culture, which is irrational, merciless and often violent. This is nothing new. We’re just confronted with it more now in the age of phone cameras and social media.

It has been the goal of communists and other varieties of statist since Plato’s time to separate children from their parents and have them raised by the state. They’ve largely succeeded.

How do you like the results?

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

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