Abstract: This is one in a series of articles on school subjects.
This article looks at the way school teaches geography to indoctrinate children with the 'virtues' of nationalism and awe for capital cities and national borders.
One sentence captures what is taught in geography lessons at school: Goofies live in Goofyland.
A. Geography in the past
In the old days of school, geography was a subject of importance.
The names of all the countries in the world combined with the names of their capital cities were drilled into children with rigid discipline.
Indeed, geography itself was merely a method to discipline children.
The philosophy was that children were to be taught discipline at school, i.e. to obey commands like soldiers and to repeat instructions like taperecorders.
Children have to be kept busy with something, so they might as well be taught some useful facts, was the idea.
So, children were taught geography;
they were expected to recite what commodities could be found in each country, e.g. coal, oil, gold, coconuts or pineapples.
Colonization was taught as the way to get a hand on such items.
Geography had strong racial undertones when describing the 'ethnic population' that 'belonged' in each country.
Geography was an instrument used by the Government to make children think in terms of national borders, in terms of 'we' and 'them', to teach children where they 'belonged', what their values should be and, above all, that the Government as an institution was in charge in each and every country of the world.
Geography did not teach any facts of substance.
The emphasis was on products of the primary sector, as part of this disgusting, old-fashioned colonial thinking.
What is the need for children to know that chocolate or coffee comes from Africa or Brazil?
Does it matter where it comes from?
Is such information essential for any of the children's future careers?
No; it is simply indoctrination, it expresses the attitude of If you like your chocolate, you have to be prepared to go to these colonies and fight for their possession as a man (i.e. in the army)!
B. What is taught today
Today, schools no longer teach children that the blacks live in Africa, the yellow people in China and the redskins in the American reservations.
Schools think they have become politically correct by speaking of African-Americans.
But they are just using geographical terms, when they are in fact speaking of the color of one's skin.
Geographical names themselves have little meaning.
The Blippies live in Blippyland, the Boopies live in Boopyland and the Goofies live in Goofyland.
And where in the world is Goofytown? Excellent answer, it is the capital of Goofyland.
Very well, you deserve to get a nice job when you grow up!
As geography has become an empty subject, schools turn to social science, cultural and civil values, studies of society and the environment, life-skills, human relationships, etc.
Children are now taught that there are different cultures in the world, each of which deserves some respect, but that civil values are higher than any value that an individual culture may have.
Civil values include multi-culturalism, democracy and an adoration for the law and courts as the solution to any problem in society.
Children are now taught that each nation's right to independence is defended by the United Nations.
Children are taught that their mission is to lecture their parents on how to fill in tax forms correctly, perform jury and other civil duties, in short on how to be a good citizen by obeying the law and the Government.
C. Tools of the Government
The problem is that school, being so rigidly controlled by the Government, inevitably is an instrument of indoctrination out to transform children into gullible tools in the hands of the Government.
The Government is territorially oriented;
it's power is based on control over what is within its borders.
While the real world is getting increasingly global and borderless, children at school are taught that borders between nations are of utmost importance and that the main difference between nations is a difference in law.
Goofylaw is quite different, after all, there are Goofies living in Goofyland!
Goofy geography still is the rule at school.