“Little boxes on the hillside. Little boxes made of ticky tack.” “Boxed in.” “Think outside the box”.
When young we go from our box in our house to another box. It is usually an even more boring box with boring rows of brown boxy things called desks. Every 40 minutes we were marched down the halls to our next box. We got a couple breaks during the day called recess where, if we were lucky, we could make up our own games as opposed to being forced to play group games with more rules that boxed us in. At lunch we ate in a large box with rows of tables. It looked very much like what we saw on TV when we watched shows like “Dragnet” or “Perry Mason”. We saw prison inmates shuffling past vats of slop and sitting at long tables. Like the prisons, there were places and people you could sit with and those who would shove you away or flip your tray over. Did you notice that both kids and prisoners liked to stick their foot out and trip you?
When you arrived in high school with its promise of more freedom because sometimes you could get there in a car, you saw the same boxes. And worse, you now began to connect the dots. You were being trained to shuffle down halls to an even smaller box to spend the rest of your adult life. If you were lucky, you graduated to a bigger box, maybe one with windows, a door and a sofa.
And every four years you were told that if you enter a very small box and scratched something on a square piece of paper called a ballot, you were an equal partner is some sort of decision making process. You could “vote” for more freedom because that’s what one side promised that they knew how to do better than the other side.
I call bull***!! And so does a book I’m reading called “The Underground History of American Education” by John Taylor Gatto.
So does David Graeber in his “Revolutions in Reverse.”
They are both available on line and I recommend reading something a little different. You know, outside the box.
Note: The Gatto book was suggested by a commenter over at The Exiled Online on Yasha Levine’s article “Recovered Economic History” on Michael Perelman’s book “The Invention of Capitalism”. That deserves its own essay.