The School Board Sickness

Government schools are an atrocity. Not all government schoolteachers are evil, any more than all police officers are. But the system itself, funded through theft in the form of taxation, populated through kidnapping in the form of mandatory attendance, and serving the interests of state propaganda and social engineering, is an abomination constituting one of the very worst programs of American domestic policy.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the school board. Last night I watched the local Berkeley school board on public access television, and saw the administrators reconsidering a fundraiser that has schoolchildren going door-to-door selling chocolates. You know the kind.

Now, I can see some particular problems with such a fundraising activity. How dare the school system, which spends thousands of dollars per student per year to strip them of their individuality and teach them blind obedience, send them off to raise even more money on its behalf! Here we have the government education system profiting off child labor ' which government partisans never tire telling us that the government schools protect students against. If children are to be selling merchandise, they should get a cut of the cash and be learning valuable work experience, not participating in a state-corporate mini-mercantilist 'fundraising' venture that attacks the very foundations of free enterprise while leaching off the efforts of children, all under the guise of promoting education.

Of course, this was not the point of contention raised at the school board meeting. One of the administrators said something along the lines of: 'It disturbs me that in a country where thousands of children are dying of obesity, the schools are promoting chocolates and other sweets.'

How many absurd ideas can you pack into a sentence? Only the school board, or perhaps the Pentagon, could be so ludicrous.

The administrator then indicated that, far from simply halting such a fundraiser, perhaps the schools should begin cracking down on junk food.

Now, don't get me wrong. Eating too much chocolate is probably not good for you. There are probably too many children eating too much crap. But since when has there been an epidemic of children dying of over-nutrition in this country? It might happen, from time to time, but is it so widespread a problem to warrant the attention of the school board?

The way I see it, the only possible benefit of the ugly collusion between the candy merchants and the school fundraising apparatus is that some people end up receiving chocolates that they voluntarily purchased. Even if you hate chocolate, this is at least basically a market exchange on the buyer's end. People get what they want, even if they are paying more than they would if they weren't partly doing it 'for the children.'

But to the omnipotent school board, this is something the schools need to 'alert the community' about ' Americans are too fat, damn it, and someone needs to put their foot down to put a stop to this national crisis of mass-glucose ingestion.

There was a more moderate member on the board who timidly argued that we shouldn't go too far with this. She said that, although she has nothing against restricting what children eat at school, the board should not pass rules that affect what they eat at the end of the school day.

A victory for common sense! Tyranny in moderation is always the way to go. Where do they even get the nerve to think that after-school candy consumption is their business at all whatsoever?

The student representative at the meeting asked how this would all be implemented, and the rapid anti-chocolate killjoy sitting in the middle of the conference said we don't know. Other school districts aren't doing this yet, so there's no model to emulate.

Now if you're still reading this, you might wonder, 'Why am I reading this? Why should I care what the hell goes on at the school board in Berkeley ?'

Well, many people don't know this, but Berkeley was one of the first towns in the country, back in the first decade of the 20th century, to introduce patrolling police units and fingerprint databases. I hear that these police state tactics have caught on in other towns.

So don't be surprised if, one day, government schools across America are sugar-free zones and possession of a Butterfinger can land a child expulsion.

Obviously, candy and candy prohibition are not the fundamental problems with our Prussian school system. This issue is illustrative of some essentials, however.

First off, the school boards see nothing wrong with controlling what children do at school, or even, in some cases, after school. This new absurdity just goes to show why government, which pretends it knows all the answers to every problem, can't be trusted with taking care of children.

Secondly, government officials see nothing wrong with telling children what to consume. This is the drug war and anti-smoking laws taken to their logical extreme.

Thirdly, we shall probably see the War on Fat explode over the next decade or two. What begins in the schools ' places where young Americans learn to accept despotic authority so as not to question the political class when they grow up ' often eventually extends to the general population. And what begins in California often extends to the rest of the country.

This still might seem an insignificant matter to many. But make no mistake: the schools will still direct their youthful inmates to go door-to-door to sell something. They want as much revenue and reach into children's after-school activities as they can muster. The proposed chocolate ban is just an experiment, one of many thousands that the school board sickeningly employs on the children it rules, one of many millions that the government inflicts on the human lab rats that live in its empire.

When the total state comes, all of these school board experiments will have been worth their while, so far as the bureaucrats and rulers are concerned. They're softening up the children now so in the future the imposition of the total state will prove as easy as taking candy from a child.

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Anthony Gregory's picture
Columns on STR: 37

Anthony Gregory is a Research Analyst at The Independent Institute, a Policy Advisor at the Future of Freedom Foundation, and a columnist at His website is