breeds violence: the German school shooting
reasons for school shooting'
(Headline in Financial Times, 4 May 2002)
have to look far, do you? The 19-year old gunman had been refused
permission by the school to take the exam which would qualify
him to go to university.
society breeds violence; an oppressive educational system breeds
violent pupils. In this country, shoppers are terrorised by gangs
of ever-younger children who regard going home for tea as an opportunity
to express themselves with a bit of creative mugging.
But the socially-approved
solution to oppression is further oppression. Blame parents for
not forcing their children to attend the state schools where they
are being turned into criminals by boredom and frustration. Force
parents to spend their time at parenting classes. Encourage teachers
to 'monitor' the oddities of behaviour of their pupils and classify
them as potential criminals at ever earlier ages - as if they
were not keen enough on that already, especially if the pupils
have IQs higher than their own.
are making noises about the 'pressures' placed on vulnerable pupils
by being allowed to do something like take an exam! If there is
a possibility of getting a high grade, how worrying for them that
they might fail to get it! Some German authority expresses concern
at pupils who 'turn in poor performances' - well, why not let
them take the exam again until they do well enough, free to prepare
without the interference of a supervisory school or university?
But of course
modern society would prefer to take this an excuse for stopping
exams altogether, so there will be nothing left in the educational
system except being exposed to the ministrations of teachers in
a group environment and no qualifications that can be obtained
except a report at the end. This report, unconstrained by anything
so bloodlessly objective as an exam result, will express your
teacher's opinions and interpretations of your success or otherwise
in jumping over the pointless hurdles in the obstacle race which
the school or university has set up to prevent the clever, conscientious
and ambitious from being successful and getting above themselves.
I would propose
(although no-one else is likely to) an exam system completely
decoupled from compulsory systems of preparation and the permission
of supervisory enemies. This would be a pathway of opportunity
leading to freedom from oppression, similar to that which existed
before the Welfare State. But that is the last thing that an egalitarian
society wants. The greatest good of the greatest number can best
be achieved by ensuring that nobody can get anything worth having.
Then nobody will have to suffer the pangs of envy; they will happily
tolerate having nothing worth having themselves.
of oppression provide an excuse for more oppression. Modern society
leaps at the idea of more gun control so that there is no risk
of bourgeois individualists defending themselves. An efficient
black market will soon arise to meet the needs of demoralised
criminals who want to express their contempt for old-fashioned
'Boy Scout morality'.