The Complication Between State Education and a Young Anarchist: A Short Narrative

Column by new Root Striker Vaughn Bateman.
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If anything can sum together my emotions pertaining to the relationship I share with anarchism, it would be a well-deserved expression of welcome and regret – the two being contradictory when used together. And aside from the thrilling sense of expressing righteous angst against the status quo society (preferably by the methodology of impaling a 100- foot thorn into the side of statism), I suspect the formerly stated conscious emotional response is a common one, one you may have when finally accepting adulthood, or when finally rejecting a superstition you hold dear to your heart. Regardless of what similarities I can find, it’d be best to elaborate on my assertions.
A couple years back, during the years of public high school, I always felt a strong sense of unease, deep down in one’s gut, whenever I took a course in modern history or U.S. government. The pose the teacher kept, the unscathed persona of irrefutable knowledge, while lecturing on the necessity for U.S. imperialism (although it was never called this – even though I drew undisputable parallels between the actions of the U.S. and that of accepted “empires”), made one cringe, deep to the bone. Upon every rebuttal I dished out, totally negating every syllable delivered by the hour-long lecture, I was lavishly scorned in front of my peers by gestures of dismissal by the head teacher. It was always by means of clever trickery, or a precise evasion of my remarks, that left my voice unheard. Eventually it came to a point where I began to fail exams, when I decided to make a vow to myself saying that I’d only reply with only historically accurate answers. This led to a great plummet in my grades, and an even greater distaste from my teachers. I continued along this path for quite some time before I stumbled upon one of my life’s biggest decisions to date.
When I really began to dig deep into the morality behind the philosophy, the argument from morality, I saw my public school institution in a quite different light. Although I now regret and dismiss the following decision, I dropped out of high school due primarily to the nature of public schooling and because of the petty back-and-forth battles I had with my teachers. I continued to support myself during the process by repeating over and over again, “I just don’t want to support my neighbors being in the crosshairs of a well-oiled gun.” It was a basic and uncompromising premise I upheld, all the way through completion of my GED.
I now reflect back on the situation and compare it under the same light I would examine my sometimes overzealous use of public roads and libraries. The conclusion I arrive at is a simple one: You cannot apply morality when you are bare of choice and free-will. I believe we all would accept that if you are physically coerced into doing something, even if it may be for good or evil, you cannot be held morally responsible for the outcome. If I was coerced into donating a large chunk of my savings to charity, you could not call me a morally noble man. On the flipside, if my family or I am coerced under the stipulation of my attendance to public schooling, I cannot be called immoral for attending, or using a service or institution, by the result of blood money stemmed from taxation.  Since I did not have the choice of being free of state school directly, or state regulation indirectly (though private schools), I did not act in the realm of morality.  
This was an unquestionably stressful time during my life; It was actually the first time I was required to make a decision, not based from pragmatism, but from morality alone. Bear in mind that virtually all decisions I made prior to stumbling upon the thousand-pound anvil of anarchism (and the underlying philosophy which entails), were decisions made directly from pragmatic thinking. Before then, I never looked at the given variables in a situation and asked, “What is the moral thing to do?,” I always deciphered my way directly to the most utilitarian approach.
The aftermath of my dropping out of high school and attaining my GED in a less “bloody of a fashion” resulted in some obviously negative consequences. The first and foremost is that a large percentage of employers are extremely biased when comparing an application of a high school graduate to one of a GED possessor. This has caused me a great deal of hardship when in search of employment – for it is hard enough to attain employment within the current confines of the U.S. economy. When the economy reaches its current point, the point of job scarcity, I would suspect that any and every so-called “flaw” in the employer’s eyes would be the ultimate decider dictating who gets selected for hire and who doesn’t. The second problematic aftermath result of my decision could rightfully be called a continuation of my initial decision to quit high school. I am again at debating amongst myself whether or not to attend college – and I already know in advance that my prior decision to quit high school will directly affect my selection of colleges that I am able to attend. These are both the sum of my decision. I now sometimes regret the choosing of it and despise the outcome.  
It is without question that there are many others who have or are going through what I experienced, and they too will come to the inevitable forked road between chasing the fantasy of purity, or accepting the world that the state has created for what it is.

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Vaughn Bateman's picture
Columns on STR: 2

is extremly thankful for an audience.


Michael Kleen's picture

I would say, by the good quality of your writing, that dropping out of public school was probably the best thing you could do. Nothing beats self-education - You should try to get a scholarship and go to college. Even if having a GED means you'll be rejected from the top colleges, any college at all is better than none. We need more people like you in the academic world..

Mark Davis's picture

Well done Vaughn. Your obvious ability to identify, analyze and articulate such moral questions prove that intelligence is not measured by regurgitating rote answers to ignorant gatekeepers. IMHO learning a marketable skill is more important than getting a degree, high school or college.

"The conclusion I arrive at is a simple one: You cannot apply morality when you are bare of choice and free-will."

That is when you have no good choice then it is okay to compromise your principles? That can be a slippery slope, but we all do it to some degree. Balancing our quest for virtue with survival in a mean world defines what it is to be human. The utilitarian in us all must be weighed against our desire to be moral creatures. Survival is the primary driving force in all animals and a powerful force. Futile gestures (like not driving on government roads) that come to no appreciable end in the name of morality do seem foolish, even counterproductive as sometimes we must retreat in order to fight another day. The human challenge is to identify those principles and seek to be virtuous while recognizing our limitations. That we are all sinners does not justify sin, but a moral person strives for perfection even while knowing that it can never be achieved.

So I agree that we must choose our battles judiciously or suffer the consequences.

You're a good man, keep your chin up.

Suverans2's picture

They are not "government roads", they are "free and public roadway(s), or street(s)".

Highway. A free and public roadway, or street; one which every person has the right to use. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 728

"The right to travel is a well-established common right that does not owe its existence to the federal government. It is recognized by the courts as a natural right." ~ Schactman v. Dulles 96 App DC 287, 225 F2d 938, at 941

11 Am Jur (1st) Const. L. Sec. 329, 1135: "Personal liberty largely consists of the right of locomotion - to go where and when one pleases…The right of the citizen to travel upon the public highway and transport his property thereon, by horse-drawn carriage, wagon, or automobile is not a mere privilege which may be permitted or prohibited at will, but a common right, which he has under the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Suverans2's picture

Off the subject of this essay, I realize, but perhaps some of you will find some value in this.

Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” ~ Frederick Douglass, born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey

Title 18 USC 31 Chapter 2
Sec. 31.6
: Motor Vehicle means every description or other contrivance propelled or drawn by mechanical power and used for commercial purposes1 on the highways in the transportation of passengers2, or passenger and property, or property or cargo.

Sec. 31.10 The term “used for commercial purposes” means the carriage of persons or property for any fare, fee, rate, charge or other consideration3 with any business, or other undertaking intended for a profit.

By their own legal definition of Motor Vehicle, my Conveyance is Not a MOTOR VEHICLE, and therefore, Not subject to the MOTOR VEHICLE CODE, since I am Not using this mechanical contrivance “for commercial purposes”.

Driver -- One employed4 in conducting a coach, carriage, wagon, or other vehicle... ~ Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1914 ed., Pg. 940 [Emphasis and footnote added]

Further, I am Not a "Driver" since this Sovereign man is Not employed and is Not using the highway5 for traffic6, for business, or for profit.

Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991)
1 Commercial use. Term implies use in connection with or for furtherance of a profit making enterprise.
2 Passenger. In general, a person who gives compensation to another for transportation. The word passenger has however various meanings, depending upon the circumstances under which and the context in which the word is used; sometimes it is construed in a restricted legal sense as referring to one who is being carried by another for hire; on other occasions, the word is interpreted as meaning any occupant of a vehicle other than the person operating it.
The essential elements of “passenger” as opposed to “guest” under guest statute are that driver must receive some benefit sufficiently real, tangible, and substantial to serve as the inducing cause of the transportation so as to completely overshadow mere hospitality or friendship; it may be easier to find compensation where the trip has commercial or business flavor.
A person whom a common carrier has contracted to carry from one place to another, and has, in the course of the performance of that contract, received under his care either upon the means of conveyance, or at the point of departure of that means of conveyance.
Guest statute. …A “guest,” under provisions of guest statute, is a recipient of the voluntary hospitality of the [driver] owner, that is, one who is invited or permitted by owner or possessor of automobile to ride with owner-possessor as a gratuity.
Gratuity. Something acquired or otherwise received without bargain or inducement. Something given freely or without recompense; a gift.
3 Consideration. The inducement to a contract. The cause, motive, price, or impelling influence which induces a contracting party to enter into a contract. Some right, interest, profit or benefit accruing to one party, or some forbearance, detriment, loss, or responsibility, given, suffered, or undertaken by the other. Restatement, Second, Contracts §§ 17(1), 71. It is a basic, necessary element for the existence of a valid contract that is legally binding. [Emphasis added.]
4 Employed. Performing work under an employer-employee relationship. Term signifies both the act of doing a thing and the being under contract or orders to do it.
Highway. A free and public roadway, or street; one which every person has the right to use.
Note: The word “person”, as it is used in this Non-Statutory Notice, is to be strictly confined to mean, “Natural Man”, and Not “juristic personality”.
5 Free. Not subject to legal constraint of another. [Emphasis added]
6 Traffic. Commerce; trade; sale or exchange of merchandise, bills, money, and the like. The passing or exchange of goods or commodities from one person to another for an equivalent in goods or money. ...See Commerce.

Must Read!

Suverans2's picture

Anyone else here curious as to why and how Vaughn Bateman's user profile says, "Access denied"?

Must Read!

Paul's picture

"The conclusion I arrive at is a simple one: You cannot apply morality when you are bare of choice and free-will."

Sometimes we are bare of choice. Sometimes there are other choices, that just happen to be a bit inconvenient. I'd say, don't spend too much effort beating yourself up when the first is the case, but don't try to throw everything into that category either, as a way of excusing bad choices when better ones were available.

There are choices in schooling. Homeschooling is available everywhere in the US. Of course as a child, rather than a parent, your choice may be limited. If so you are "bare of choice" so don't beat yourself up!

As to HR departments, yeah, they are a problem. But work opportunities depend a hell of a lot more on work history and ability and willingness to work than they do on something as worthless as a high school diploma. Getting started is the problem, and the solution is to start with small companies (with no HR departments) or use personal contacts (that can bypass HR departments). Lower your expectations, start small, and work your way up. In a couple of years, HR departments won't matter to you.

I spent an entire life working for small companies. The one time I ended up in a big one (that purchased the company I was working for), it was pure torture for me, like working for government I suppose. Ugh! I got out fast.

College? A pure waste of your time. Go read what Gary North has to say about them over on

Also, I'd suggest trying to look forward, and not questioning past choices you made. You can't rewind and try them over. We don't have time travel yet.

Suverans2's picture

"Sometimes we are bare of choice. Sometimes there are other choices, that just happen to be a bit inconvenient. I'd say, don't spend too much effort beating yourself up when the first is the case, but don't try to throw everything into that category either, as a way of excusing bad choices when better ones were available." ~ Paul

Sound advice, IMO, Paul. But, I was "coerced" into saying that; I was afraid someone was going to "put a gun to my head" if I didn't. ;)