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Why Bedford New Hampshire School Superintendent Chip McGee hates America.

February 5, 2015

Patrick Non-White recently posted an article about Chip McGee’s decision to suspend four students for uncomplimentary posts about him.  First of all, I cannot be as confident as he is that a court would, if it came to a lawsuit, uphold those four student’s constitutional rights.  Sadly, Much of the 1990s and 2000s were taken up by a steady rollback of student free speech rights as they were originally articulated in Tinker.  If anything, student free speech may be in worse shape than ever before simply because schools have so many tools to observe students, not simply on campus but when they interact via social media.

But that’s not why Mr. McGee has demonstrated a horrible disdain for American values.  No, the reason is that he is, knowingly or unknowingly, educating his students in the habits of obedience praised by every dictatorship to ever disgrace this planet.  Not nation has enough secret police, enough prisons, enough firing squads to truly maintain control over its people— unless it has already taken control of their social and mental existence.  And the first step in that is to inculcate the people with an acceptance of authority— authority wielded in an inconsistent and arbitrary manner.  The lesson taught is that the law is what the ruler states it is— what is written on the page is merely for show and can be ignored at will.  That the safe thing to do is to anticipate what authority wants, to the best of your ability and to carry out those actions— and nothing but those actions.  Rather than risk that the superintendent might disagree with your statements, you make none— or make only complimentary statements.

Why should we care?  The reason is that our school years are some of the most formative years in our lives.  Habits learned in school, especially high school where a child makes that difficult transition to an adult and free citizen, often remain with us for the rest of our lives.  We may not even recognize that fact, but if will often influence, to a greater or lesser degree, our voting patterns, political stances, even our personal friendships.

I know right now someone is pointing to a friend who rejected everything school taught him…but that in of itself is a sign of how important school can be.  We do not dedicate our lives to rejecting non-essentials.  For that matter, if school wasn’t important, dictatorships the world over wouldn’t spend so much time and effort ensuring they control their schools.

When a school leader casually intrudes upon his student’s rights, when he uses the power of the state to punish speech, he is doing his part to normalize the idea that the state has a right to be capricious.  That rights are not rights, but privileges, that can be revoked whenever authority demands it.

Knowingly or not, Mr. McGee has aligned himself with the forces that disdain our freedoms.  Suspending students over posts may seem a small thing in a world that includes monsters who burn prisoners alive— but great injustices almost always have as their foundation a collection of small injustices that were allowed to go unchallenged.

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