Three Guys Walk Into the DOE

September 1, 2008

by Tammy Drennan


The school situation just keeps getting worse. We’ve tried government and more government and more government.


What we really need, say three intrepid innovators, is more government. According to a mayor, a venture capitalist and a board of education president, we need something like the National Institutes of Health, which tracked down the source of AIDS.


Surely a National Institute of Education could track down the source of ignorance. And then… just as the NIH cured AIDS, the NIE would cure ignorance.


Oh wait, the NIH didn’t cure AIDS. Everyone’s still working on that. Drugs, vaccine research, prevention. Some are experiencing more success than others. The private personal methods still work best – monogamy, abstinence, morality. There’s a lot of evidence they always will. More people should try them.


While there’s plenty of disagreement over the definition and cause/s of ignorance, there’s general agreement that education is the best remedy, and many people are working on ways to administer the vaccine, some with more success than others. The private methods have always and still do work best here, too. More people should try them.


Of course, the most important distinction between the NIH and a potential NIE is that it’s one thing to experiment with and manipulate viruses and diseases and quite another to do so with human minds.


We may be willing to fund government agencies to study and learn more about health because we feel the most insidious side effect is monetary waste – and we’ve decided we can live with that. Of course, it’s more complex than that, but that’s it in a bite-sized serving.


What is the most insidious side effect of government control over shaping how we think and what we believe, over how we view our fellow human beings and the world and our leaders? Is that something we can live with?


Of all the things we don’t want in the hands of the state, it’s education. There’s a big difference in the danger level between the government befriending your body and the government befriending your mind.