Sunday, April 6, 2008

Join the dots...

By Tracy

It's a scary picture. To some, the next generation is just so much cannon-wielding cannon fodder. This weekend's Guardian carries the headline: “Brown backs army cadet corps plan for schools”, a plan that looks to me like a desperate attempt by the State to widen the net of its killing machine.

The Guardian tells us that a "government-commissioned review of civil and military relations, led by Quentin Davies, the Labour MP, was 'alarmed' at the number of schoolchildren who had no idea of military life. Davies wants secondary school pupils to receive basic military training as a means of developing greater affiliation with the armed forces."

No prizes then for guessing they need a troop top-up. (How these people must love children...)

It comes hot on the heels of a rancid debate (rancid because actually not that new, and because it stinks) about letting boys play with toy guns in school, a debate which should be insulting to the moral intelligence of all males, and which certainly offends me as the mother of a boy. (Not to mention the wife of a pacifist husband.)

As if boys' needs can only be met and their abilities fostered by even deeper indoctrination into aggression, over and above what the adults around them already practise.

People who encourage this sort of play can't seem to hear the absurdities in what they say. Someone quoted in the article, for instance, claimed that banning toy guns was “unnecessary as long as staff helped boys understand and respect the rights of other children”.

What about the rights of other children not to have to witness that sort of play? Do not guns by their very existence compromise "the rights of others"? It's astonishing how desensitised people have become to what a gun actually is, what it is for.

I am sick of the opposition to toy guns being blamed on "feminisation" and "feminism" too, as if only some sort of feminist p.c. puritanism would wish to see children grow up free from violence.

Such ideas are far more derogatory in their view of boys and men than I, as a feminist, ever would be. They assume that being male automatically means a certain model of aggression, one that would be rejected by plenty of males I know. They assume that moral "softening", as they perceive it, pertains to the female (still "the angel in the house"?)


Anonymous said...

So children have a lack of awareness of military life? They also have a lack of awareness of living in an low impact eco-community, being a city trader, or any real undertsanding of how democracy works (or doesn't depending on your perspective), or the deeper context of the insidious process of mainstream 'education'. In short children know every little about ways of life they may choose and the moral choices they invoke.

You assessment is spot on: this is about indoctrination of kids and we should nto allow it anywhere near our schools. Although, most of what passes for education in Britain is indoctrination. I ended up as a boy soldier and then spent ten years working out that I had been conned.

The school system should be about educating children in the broadest sense to become full and wise human beings, not training and indoctrinating them with an ' appropriate to the community they live in' as is the current premise. This approach narrows their focus in life so they become sheep.

I suppose this means that we will have to get out there at our children's parents evening countering this with leaflets explaining what indoctrination is and what military life (and death and maiming) is really about.

Mutually Said: Poets Vegan Anarchist Pacifist said...

Thanks for this comment -- it's interesting to hear of your experience, and to hear from others concerned about this kind of military inculcation.