A Disease called Uniformity

Abstract: This article describes how uniformity is imposed upon society due to the Government's lust to make people conform to rules and to make people obedient to its authority. The appendix discusses two of the arguments that are often used to defend school uniforms, i.e. cost and equity.

A.Nature of Uniformity

Communism is a uniform that pretends to make all people equal, but uniformity is not restricted to this kind of dictatorship, as all dictators like to see the people conform to their decrees uniformly. Uniformity is behind the 'tall poppy syndrom' as well as behind racism, in both cases people are attacked for being different.

Uniformity is imposed on us from early childhood, e.g. when school insist that pupils wear school uniforms. Apart from dress codes, school makes children conform to time tables and imposes uniform behavior such as simultaneous sitting down during class, then standing up to go to the playgrounds, as if children have to become robots that are programmed by the same code, the same uniform instructions. In the classroom, the children have to write down the answers to the same exercises at the same time. School pretends to teach knowledge, but above all it teaches uniformity.

Conforming to school affects not merely the children's attitude. When they leave school, they have become the robots school wanted them to become, without individuality, creativity and personality. They rise at fixed hours in the morning, have their cereal and go to work. At work, they wait for instructions, as if the teacher is still there to discipline them if they step out of line. They have no motivation, not even financial rewards can act as incentives, as they all expect to earn the same wages.

B. Uniformity everywhere!

Uniformity is most visible in the way people dress, but it is everywhere around us, in architecture, language, behavior, etc. Uniformity is imposed by zoning codes in town planning schemes, by restrictions on trade such as prohibition of shopping on specific days, by technical standards and by all kinds of regulations enforced by the government.

The government imposes uniformity on every aspect of life. We have to recognize that such uniformity is imposed on society through a deliberate plot of the government. People conspiring in this plot typically wear uniforms. They include the military, police officers, judges, persons delivering mail, prison wardens, etc. Wearing uniforms means conforming to authority. People are dressed in uniforms at schools, in the army, in prison and in hospitals to emphasize that individual rights are denied to them. At work, even when no specific uniform is prescribed, men in particular tend to dress in colar and tie. People typically dress in boring clothes, so that they do not stand out from the uniform rest, the overall style expresses a deliberate depressing attitude.

Through, there are times when people dress up in a more spectecular fashion. When people marry and when people graduate at universities, they celebrate the way the government imposes its authority on society, they glorify this by wearing formal dresses that range from eye-catching to downward silly. Note that they typically all dress the same! Compare this with Carnival in Rio, in which individuality is much more acceptable. No wonder that governments try to outlaw such pagan festivals.

C. How to avoid uniformity

People are infected with the uniformity disease at a very early age. School can have an enormous impact on one's overall life. If we want our children to develop personality, the last thing we should do is dress them in a uniform. One way to avoid the uniformity imposed by school, is by not sending children to school at all. Homeschooling is a topic often discussed in this magazine.

Nevertheless, we cannot trust activities simply because they are not part of the school regime. There are styles of homeschooling that are even more disciplinary than school, in which the children rarely leave the family home. The problem is that uniformity is so entrenched in society that it is hard to go anywhere without encountering the symptoms of this disease. Many sports, courses and other activities for children are not much better than school. So-called 'social' activities such as tapdancing, ballet, scouts, sport and marching are full of uniformity! Children are made to all stand in line, make the same movements, all dressed up in uniforms. Such activities interpret socialization as conforming to uniformity, to discipline and to the rule of authority.

That does not mean that our children should not participate in any physical activities at all. Just look at how children play after school, when they are not forced into pre-programmed role models. They often throw the ball in the basket just for the fun of it, not for the points. They can play soccer without rules, without arbiter and without a goal. Surprising to some, the likelyhood of accidents is typically lower than at formal sports or at physical exercise at school. And during such spontaneous physical activity, children can achieve moments of excellence that can hardly be witnessed elsewehere. Such excellence results from creativity, rather than from fanatism. Fanatism is something that is put into people's heads by the way the government likes to see such activities organized, complete with uniform rules, ranking and selection, time-pressure and the perception that there can be only one winner. Fanatism is just another one of the symptoms of the uniformity disease. To avoid being affected by this disease, just respect optionality.

Appendix Those disgusting School Uniforms - A

People trying to justify antiquated school uniforms often use the following argument: If children wear uniforms, they do not notice differences between children from rich and from poor families. This is of course a purely socialist argument and may be rejected for this reason alone.

But even as a socialist argument, it does not make sense either. School itself creates class differences, class is an invention of school. Children are grouped together in classes according to age and often accdoring to gender and to perceived academic performance. Because parents want their children to mix with children of their 'own class', they carefully select the neighborhood where they are going to live. Houses close to private schools are often substantially more expensive than similar houses close to state schools. On the street, children are identified by their uniform. 'Oh, you come from that poor school, do you?' is an example of what children say to each other when they look at each other's uniform. And even in the classroom, uniforms only accentuate differences in length, hair color and other physical characteristics. Children consequently judge each other by their physical appearances. One can argue whether it were better if children judged each other by their clothes instead.

From a financial point of view, the socialist argument does not make sense either. School uniforms are expensive. They are made of polycotton, because if they were made of pure cotton, they would fade after a few washings and there would be color differences between pupils. School uniforms are far more expensive than the cheap cotton clothing people normally like to wear. One pays the price for not being able to choose the often cheap imports from countries such as China and India. Furthermore, polycotton may keep its color better, but it is very hot, which is a problem in the Queensland climate. Special sun-protective clothing is either too expensive, or cannot stand the frequent washing necessary as the kids have to wear the same clothing every day.

School uniforms do not make sense from a socialist point of view, nor from any other point of view. They are made to make children look silly, as symbols of humiliation. They act as prison uniform, so that children who walk away from school can be immediately identified by the collaborating public, apprehended and handed over to their school for punishment. The idea that children can be disciplined by uniforms is disgusting. The way school children bully each other and act silly are symptoms of oppression. School uniforms are symbols of that oppression and, as such, only make the situation worse.

[Editor's note: The appendix was updated in the article Those disgusting School Uniforms - B]

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