Monday, 29 October 2012


The central message in this blog is that we are trending in the Western World towards a more authoritarian or controlled society. I am not suggesting that there is any kind of overt conspiracy to create this new authoritarian society. It is not being directed by any particular political party or group or corporate entity or other central force. It is almost non-ideological or to the extent it is ideological, it is unrecognised as such as it is a consequence of many things coming together from different political directions - the left the right and the center. But relentless step by step by often unaware step we are heading in an authoritarian direction.
Fascists and communists in the 1930's and 1940's had a common notion. If you are going to create a whole new kind of society you start with the children. Hitler viewed the children of Germany as the building blocks for his One Thousand Year Reich. Children were more naturally teachable and could be much more easily moulded than older adults. Our much nicer contemporary authoritarians who consciously or unconsciously are working towards developing a more controlled society, are also starting with the children.
Children are being controlled in ways that they were never controlled in the past - by parents, by the school system and by the law. 
How is our society controlling children? Firstly, it is using fear. Fear, of course, is always a prime psychological tool of the authoritarians. There is no better way to get people to accept authority than to inject fear in them. The fear used in connection with children is fear of harm from strangers and from paedophiles. Our children will be kidnapped, subjected to horrible assaults, murdered, etc. This fear has been broadly inculcated into parents by the media. There is a potential child rapist on every corner.
This fear of paedophiles and kidnappers has resulted in our children spending the first thirteen or fourteen years of their lives imprisoned in buildings whether it is the home or the school. They are only allowed out for the purpose of the passage from home to school and from school to home and to participate in organized recreational activities - and often for those brief periods in the outdoors they will be securely locked in a seatbelt in their parent’s vehicle or at best under watchful adult supervision.
How extreme can this "protective custody" get. Watford Council (England) recently excluded parents from two fenced-off adventure playgrounds unless they first undergo criminal record checks. Mothers and fathers are being forced to watch their children from outside perimeter fences because of fears they could be paedophiles.
Our children are no longer allowed any opportunity to walk freely unsupervised on the streets or play freely outside without supervision. Their every waking moment will be supervised by adults.
But that is not enough. It is now necessary to supervise and regulate the totality of children’s social relationships. How is this done? Through the use of more fear – this time it is fear of so-called bullying. Bullying has been defined so broadly that it encompasses pretty much the entirety of social interaction between children. If one child says something nasty to another child that is bullying and subject to adult interference. One child ignores another child and that too is classified as bullying and subject to more adult interference. 
New legislation in Ontario in Canada and New Jersey in the U.S. has imposed enormous requirements on school administrators to monitor bullying. It basically commands school authorities to be ever watchful over playing children. Realistically this is going to be done through surveillance cameras and other such technology.
So it was not surprising that when a school district in Pennsylvania gave laptops to all 1,800 students at its two high school district, the devices included a webcam that could be remotely activated. Images were taken with the webcam included anything going on in a room at home where the laptop was placed. One set of parents discovered this when their son was told off by teachers for "engaging in improper behaviour in his home" and that the evidence was an image from his webcam. The school subsequently claimed that the webcam was only intended as tracking device to prevent the loss of the laptops. They disabled the security-tracking program.
Some of the interesting examples of controlling children come from United Kingdom, which is famous for CCTV’s and is a leader in social policing. It recently emerged that three East Yorkshire schools have cameras filming in changing rooms or toilets. It was subsequently revealed there were at least 206 schools nationally filming in those areas.
Parents at St John's Church of England School, in Stanmore, north-west London can spy on their children's lunch choices thanks to a new school computer system which logs everything on a pupil's tray. Children use a photo ID card when they buy their lunch. A list of the main course, side dishes and pudding they have chosen is then sent to a website, which their parents can check.
It is not only school authorities that are spying on children. Parents and students are being encouraged to report incidents of bullying as soon as they happen. This can often be done through anonymous hotlines - often to a local police detachment. Here is what one school very typically instructs: "We recognize that bullying affects a student’’s sense of safety and security, and some people may not feel comfortable reporting bullying. To help ease this anxiety, students and parents are welcome to use the Report Bullying Form below. The information provided will be forwarded to the appropriate school principal for action. You may report a bullying incident anonymously if you wish, but we do need to know where and when the incident took place, in order for the principal to respond to the situation."
There are two other "initiatives" to control children which should be mentioned. The first one arises out of concerns that the World’s children are rapidly getting fatter. A couple of Harvard academics recently suggested that severe, life-threatening obesity in children warranted protective custody. According to the good professors "State intervention may serve the best interests of many children with life-threatening obesity, comprising the only realistic way to control harmful behaviours." While the Harvard professors faced a fair measure of ridicule, in totalitarian loving England the notion that fat kids should be removed from their families has a fair measure of respectability. Dr Matt Capehorn, Clinical Manager of the National Obesity Forum, and some of his colleagues argue that child obesity in under-12s should be regarded as neglect and as a child protection issue. He says that social services should then take the necessary steps to protect obese children and if necessary remove them from that environment. Will they be sent to Youth Camps with rigorous eating and exercise regimes. Will forceful incarceration of fat adults follow?
On the other side of the political spectrum - particularly in the U.S. - are parental rights advocates. These people believe that parents should have the unbridled right to indoctrinate their kids with their own beliefs free from any contrary outside influences in the school system or elsewhere. Again we find our way back to the model of child rearing presented by Hitler Youth.
Altogether the emerging model for child rearing is not an attractive one. For our children it means that they are to be restricted in their physical freedom, regimented in their daily activities, heavily supervised in their social activities, closely monitored in their food consumption and subjected to ideological indoctrination.

1 comment:

  1. we need to control our children specially if they are being spoiled..we are not always with our children so they should learn from what is necessary or not..