"If children see that their teachers despise what their parents desire, there is and must be a conflict of authorities. And there is, and must be, in the modern State, a monstrous discovery; that it is the more new and unnatural authority that has the power."
-G.K. Chesterton (New Witness, Dec. 27. 1918)
I just read this quote the other day in Gilbert Magazine and it made me stop and think. I couldn't find the article from which this quote is from unfortunately. When reading Chesterton it's important to not just extrapolate from a quote completely because sometimes Chesterton throws a random quote or connection into an article without really dealing with the subject of the quote at all throughout the rest of the article. Of course this is part of his brilliance, the ability to make connections between things that seem completely unrelated, and it makes his writing so Catholic and thus universal. But I am curious to see if this particular quote is part of a larger idea or issue he was dealing with.
I like this point which at first seems obvious but has pretty strong ramifications. A child who's being raised Catholic, especially today where our schools are an even stronger propaganda tool of the government or just the politically correct culture, will learn that there is indeed a huge gap or disconnect between what their teachers, or at the very least what the teacher teaches, and that which the parent is trying to instill in their child at home. Obviously, the politically correct ideals are way more powerful than our Catholic ones in society right now. Its also completely natural for a child to make the connections between the authorities in their life. If what the teachers teach is opposite of their parents try to teach at home, mostly on a philosophical and moral level, then the child will realize this head-butting of attitudes. The next step is simply to understand that the natural authority over the child, his parents, is pretty much made irrelevant by what he's hearing at school since its so supported by society at large.
I think this just goes to support one of the most important ideals of homeschooling which is to preserve the family as the place of moral learning especially as the gap between Catholic morals and ideals and those of society becomes greater and greater. It becomes so difficult to fight against a school and education system that so blatantly goes against what the child is being brought up with. I think the argument for many of our "catholic" schools to be an even worse example of this happening as the child is being told he's receiving a "catholic" education when most teachers and curriculum is anything but. Or at least is the case with the Catholic system in Canada. The consequences in the child being deprived of the proper authority of their parent is pretty staggering. It exposes the child to view the culture as more of a moral authority than the parents, which in turn damages the dependence and bond between parent and child. I think just the effects of this concept could garner its own post, or article, or book.
(Also: I've been remiss in not letting everyone know about this great Chesterton reading list to help you start reading Chesterton without being completely overwhelmed! Its a good one!)
(Annndd, I found a wonderful 1906 edition of Heretics on Ebay yesterday! Sooo happy!)