Prussian Model Stockholm Syndrome

Pink Floyd classroom

Over at Yard Sale of the Mind, the inestimable Joseph Moore attempts to shake parents from their They Live-style illusion that Catholic schools differ substantially in their teaching approach from Prussian Model public schools.
A key point you’ll need to keep in mind to understand the following: the form we consider normal for schooling is an historically recent invention. The idea that a nation should separate its young into ‘classes’ by age and teach every child in that class the same materials in the same way regardless of their existing knowledge, intelligence, interests and natural family relationships would have struck sane people as at least bizarre until about 150 years ago. If it weren’t for pervasive Stockholm Syndrome, it would strike us as bizarre as well.
When such schooling, known as the Prussian model, was first proposed in America by Horace Mann, Massachusetts’ and the nation’s first state secretary of education, around 1838, it was widely opposed. Literacy was about 99% in the North at the time – somehow, people were getting educated without the involvement of the state government and taxes! The hard-headed farmers and shopkeepers of New England were not about to tax themselves to get something – educated children – they already had.
Then starting in 1845, Mann got his lucky break: the Great Famine in Ireland resulted in many thousands of Irish immigrating to Massachusetts. Having suffered under the murderous fist of the English for centuries, having the culture and religion crushed, and being treated as slaves, the Irish understandably did not fit in. They weren’t good little Protestants.
These same hard headed New England farmers and shopkeepers were now sold the idea that compulsory public schools on the Prussian model were needed – to make good little Protestants out of the filthy Papist Irish via removing their children from their care and indoctrinating them in good solid Protestant teaching.
And the voters bought it. It became illegal to not send your kid to school – your kids could be taken away from you if found at home during school hours. Of course, those same kids could be working in a factory owned by Mann’s friends and peers – that was fine, so long as they were removed from the evil influence of family. That’s a key feature of Prussian schooling, which in its pure form (rarely advertised) advocates for the complete removal of the child from the family as soon as practical – say, once weened – for the kid’s entire childhood. No, really – you’ll need to read the book, all this is laid out at the founding of the public school movement. Complete removal of children from families has not proven economical or practical – yet. Instead, the school day and school year just keep growing, to reduce as much as possible the baleful influence of family.
Note to those Catholics who support open borders: The reviled public education system that's ended up banning school prayer and handing out condoms was sold to the public as a way to deal with the cultural conflicts arising from mass immigration. And if you think that Catholic schools provide a bulwark against Prussian Model indoctrination, read on.
As more and more Catholics came into the country, the bishops, with varying degrees of fervor, began pushing for the construction of Catholic schools. They were so desperate to prevent the Protestantization of the faithful via the schools that, at one point, they sought to get Vatican permission to excommunicate any Catholic parent who could send his kids to a Catholic school but refused. The pope, very probably not really understanding the situation, would not allow it. The bishops – this will shock you – went along with the pope’s decision without a fuss.
At no point did more than 50% of Catholic kids attend Catholic schools. The results we see today are exactly what those bishops feared. They would weep to see the secularization of almost all Catholic schools today.
Recall that not too many years later, in 1907, Pope St. Pius X issued his condemnation of modernism. Now, a pope will not bother condemning something in such dramatic fashion unless he sees it as a real and present danger. The example of what happened in American Catholic schools is just the sort of thing that PASCENDI DOMINICI GREGIS was written to address.
In fairness to the Holy Father and the American bishops, forcing Catholic parents to send their children to Catholic schools on pain of excommunication wouldn't have prevented the watering down of childhood faith formation. As Moore points out, Catholic schools rushed to become mirror images of public schools, just with uniforms and daily, then weekly, and finally monthly all-school Masses.

It's no coincidence that Pius X's encyclical condemned the Modernist corruption of Western civilization, including the individualism that has eroded solidarity and obfuscated tradition.

Just as I advise consumers of pop culture to stop giving money to people who hate you, I urge parents to stop subjecting their kids to the devices of schools whose faculty and administrators hate them.

                                                                         -Joseph Moore


  1. My sister attended a Catholic grade school, and our parents had several complaints about it. They didn't believe me when I told them public school would be even worse.

    It's almost impossible for most people to comprehend what a ridiculous waste of time modern education is. What a kick to learn that the whole system was meant to be a propaganda factory from the very beginning!

    1. "It's almost impossible for most people to comprehend what a ridiculous waste of time modern education is."


      It's even worse than I waste of time. I contend that public school constitutes child abuse.

    2. "I contend that public school constitutes child abuse."

      Right there with you, Brian.

  2. Thanks for the link and comments. I've been talking about this for many years, and even the parents that show up at our little way-alternative school, people who are presumably looking for something different, are not willing to consider letting go. In the words of Morpheus: "You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it."

    Mere facts and history stand no chance. Once in a while, the misery of their children will inspire parents to consider something else. But almost without exception what people want is a kinder, gentler kid jail. To want something else is to deny your own carefully constructed self-image, an image schooling had a huge role in fashioning.

    John Gatto, who used to be an award-winning teacher, mentioned that the most unmanageable kid of all was one who was unconditionally loved at home.

    1. My pleasure. Thank you for all of your excellent work.

      Stefan Molyneux often points out that many of the worst problems that ail Western society can be traced to the sad fact that we don't love our kids enough.

      If we really loved our kids, public (and Catholic) education wouldn't be stultifying exercises in conformity.

      If we really loved our kids, single motherhood would be a rare, involuntary exception.

      If we really loved our kids, there would be no national debt.

      And so on.

    2. "But almost without exception what people want is a kinder, gentler kid jail."-Joseph Moore

      If you love someone, do you want to spend more time with them or less? Many parents embrace the system because it is free daycare, i.e. kid jail, so that they can have more time to themselves. It's selfish, but many parents don't want to admit that to themselves nor anyone else.

    3. Much of this attitude can be laid at the doorstep of the sexual revolution. With sex divorced from procreation, children are seen as burdensome side-effects. Just look at all the "women's health" propaganda classifying pregnancy as a disease.

    4. Agreed. It is why the Pro-Life movement will never win unless it also takes a negative stance on contraception. The divorce that contraception creates in the mind leads to many evils.

    5. *nods*

      Last week, a buddy was telling us about a new vasectomy method that's cheap and easily reversible. He was honestly puzzled as to why Leftists of the billionaire do-gooder type don't promote it as an alternative to abortion in 3rd world countries.

      The Pro-Life movement could win tomorrow if it adopted the following:
      1) Oppose contraception as fervently as abortion.
      2) Stop giving women who procure abortions a pass. Saying "Women who procure abortions should get counseling instead of jail time" undermines the position "Abortion is murder".
      3) Introduce amendments that will add the language "Abortion is murder" to state constitutions. Legislatively, this is the only step that ever needed to be taken, but 1 & 2 reinforce it morally and rhetorically.

    6. Amen! May it one day be so, God willing.

  3. Brian

    Unlike entertainment, the deep state will unleash its wrath on society if parents boycott the schools and demand the public school/teacher orders monopoly be broken. What to so?
    How do parents band together and kill the dragon?


    1. In some countries it's totally illegal like on Europe.
      But I get your point. I'm trying to think how to make it woek in a Romance speaking environment. There are no resources as historically the Catholic teaching orders did by and large a good job. Not perfect but satisfactory enough

  4. Average conversation with a normie:

    Me: School sucked.
    Them: Right.
    Me: It was a giant waste of time and I'm glad I never have to do it again.
    Them: Agree 100%.
    Me: When I have kids they will never step foot in one.
    Them: Whoa now don't go crazy.

    It's amazing.

    1. The conditioning runs deep.

      But there is hope. After years of horrible experiences with Catholic and public schools (and me repeatedly suggesting home schooling), a close relative started home schooling her son last year. Mom and son both love it and can't imagine going back.

  5. I remember what an eye-opener it was for me when I first learned about the Prussian Model of public schooling.

    People complain about school being used to indoctrinate kids these days. The thing that they don't realize is that school being used for indoctrination is nothing new. Indeed creating a tool to indoctrinate youngsters was the entire point of the Prussian Model in the first place.

    1. Indoctrination is an overused bugaboo though. The evil of the Prussian system is not that it indoctrinates...all transmission of previous knowledge, be it education, transmission of faith, transmission of culture and history, is indoctrination. The evil lies in what it indoctrinates kids to become: dependent on the State citizens who cannot critically think and will follow orders from their so-declared "betters."

      My parents didn't indoctrinate me in anything. They just tossed me into the public education system and assumed I figure it all out on my own. And what I figured out was that I was cheated out of what was owed to me, my patrimony, the culture, faith, knowledge and history of my people. It was given away for 30 pieces of silver to the globalist socialists because my mother needed space from us kids.

      Needless to say, I'm not on the greatest of speaking terms with my folks. So don't think ending all indoctrination will solve everything. End indoctrination, and in 3-4 generations you'll have feral pagans who can only muster a civilization of mud huts.

    2. Right. Knee-jerk aversion to doctrine and dogma is itself a result of Modernist propaganda. The problem isn't just a matter of structure, but of content.

      I don't much care for Jordan Peterson's shtick, but I'll give him this: He can sell out a Bible lecture on a week night to men that pastors can't draw to Sunday Mass for free (h/t Rollo Tomassi).

    3. That's mostly because pastors are still lecturing on the dogma of being nice and praising just much of a feminist Jesus was instead of anything that matters. And then there's the whole "I love Jesus but I'm not religious" idiocy to capitulate anti-theists.

      Christians have their own doctrine to sort out before they can even compare with Peterson's lectures. Dumping (post)modernism would definitely help.

    4. Much of the Church's hierarchy is either ignorant, cowardly, or outright complicit with modernism/postmodernism.

      Renewal, as it often has in the past, must come from the laity.