Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Tuesday, October 05, 2004  

Inculcation vs. Indoctrination

In a post called America the unBeautiful, I wrote about the loss of inculcation of the Bible in our people and the devastating effect that has on society.

It occurs to me, though, that some may insist that inculcation is indoctrination of children and people. That being a bad thing, it is supposed, smacking of Nazi and Soviet style eduction systems and propaganda machines.

The difference, though subtle, is serious.

I was taught in grade school and in daily life a set of principles, historic facts, and ideas which I absorbed easily, and were convinced by without a great deal of thought.

I learned of the American Revolution and Founding Fathers and other heroes like Nathan Hale, whose last words stirred my soul -- "I regret that I have but one life to give to my country."

I was moved by the courage and heroism of John Paul Jones -- "Don't give up the ship. I have yet begun to fight!"

Even as a child the concept of Freedom moved me deeply, and having the antithesis illustrated by the Soviet Union made it that much more poignant. I shuddered at the thought of the kind of mental and physical slavery that existed in Russia. It was viscerally repugnant to me.

But does that mean I was cleverly indoctrinated to think and feel certain ways?

We are, no doubt, conditioned by our societies, but Freedom and desire for it seems to transcend it. It is natural to want Freedom. It is unnatural to deprive others of it or be deprived of it. Every animal knows this for the most part.

Inculcating children in the Bible has one real object in mind (and intentions are important). It is to make us familiar with thoughts, ideas, morals, beauty, and wisdom. The goal is not to impose severe restrictions, but to improve the mind and its furniture. The profound and the great have influence.

You could do this with Communism, I suppose, and even use the Bible for that purpose, but no one taught me that I had to love America; that I had to love the Patriots who made it possible; that I had to love God, and so forth.

But indoctrination makes that demand. One must not only know of but love Lenin and Marx. One must love the System. One must love one's restrictions.

Inculcation tells the child (or adult immigrant) here is what we admire, respect, and love about ourselves (or others). This is what we believe is good. It's up to you to decide if it matters or not. We will not force a response.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 1:09 PM |