Exclusive interview: Former Congressman slams deliberate plan to create dumbed down, obedient population
May 5, 2014
In this exclusive interview with Infowars, former congressman and presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul talks about the failure of and alternatives to public education, how politicians want an obedient population dependent on the government, the continuing rise of alternative media, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s statement calling supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy “domestic terrorists” and the expansion of government power at the expense of individual rights.
To counter the federal government’s takeover of public education through Common Core, Dr. Paul has introduced the Ron Paul Homeschooling Curriculum for students from kindergarten to 12th grade which features courses that are self-taught through daily lecture videos. To find out more and to enroll, please click here.
Infowars: Dr. Paul, could you explain the Common Core State Standards Initiative to those who may be unfamiliar with it?
Ron Paul: Well, the whole thing is that Common Core is an example of how the federal government wants to take over, totally and completely, the educational system. They’ve been doing this for a long time, I mean for more than 50 years they’ve encroached upon control of local schools with the federal government getting involved back even in the 50s with the Department of Education – HEW [Department of Health, Education, and Welfare] – being established.
Common Core is really the last straw and people are very upset about it because they [federal officials] want to set the standards for the curricula for every single school, which means control over the individual education of all the children. At the same time, we hear our president constantly saying, “well, we’ve got to get to these kids sooner.” So it’s not just grade school, high school and kindergarten: it’s pre-kindergarten down to three and four-years-old.
It’s once again establishing and sticking to the principle that the children belong to the government and not to the parents. Anyone who cares about truth in education and not a monolithic education by the central government, they have to be concerned about this and yet unfortunately it’s marching right along and too many schools are going along with it.
So it is one common feature that’s really upsetting a lot of people once they find out about it. Of course, the people already upset with education for many years who are in private schooling and homeschooling know about it. But there is a lot of people who either don’t have the opportunity or the knowledge of how to get out of the public school system, so they are going to get exposed to it and I think it’s going to be devastating. It’s the wrong way to go.
IW: And Dr. Paul, do you feel that politicians can use Common Core in order to prey on the ignorance of the public, as we see that Common Core is, in a way, dumbing down the population?
RP: Yeah, I think that’s a good description of just about everything the government does, whether its education, whether its to keep people from falling through the cracks or whether its medical care. With everything they do they are “all wise” and they “will take care of us” and “people are stupid and they don’t care and they are not responsible and that’s why you have to have government to take care of everybody and protect them from themselves” and in this case the government argues that we have to do this [Common Core] to protect the children against the parents because the parents are irresponsible.
So yes, I think it is [a good description,] I believe those who think they’re superior want the population, the populace, to be as obedient as possible in case they need to send them off to war, in case they want them to work and pay taxes. The whole thing is that “the state is sacred” and in order to have a state, the government, continue to grow, it’s always at the expense of liberty. So it is the big challenge and I think we’re seeing a conflict between these two movements.
Government’s been around for as long as history’s been around and I think they’ve exhausted their experimentation. We’ve had some experiments with individual liberty and one great experiment was here and I think right now we’re seeing the fruitions of how we left that experiment in the last 100 years and it continues yet there’s a spirit right now amongst the people and many parents who are starting to realize that.
The unfortunate thing is that we’re still in the minority and the majority still feel that government has to take care of them because there’s too many people out there that say “well, I have to vote for this person because he believes that government should take care of me. So if I have trouble the government is going to feed me, give me a job, they’re going to take care of my medical care and they’re going to educate me.”
So they have this total dependency but what we’re witnessing is the failure of that system too. You know, our American system of economics, of Keynesian economics and deficit financing, it’s coming to an end.
But yes, those in government would like to dumb down the population to be obedient and it’s been that way for a long, long time. Over the many centuries it’s usually by threats and intimidation but now they still do the threats and intimidations but they also try to bribe people to go along. As long as the people do what they’re told to do, then they believe they can get better treatment from the government.
IW: Sen. Harry Reid declared that [Nevada rancher] Cliven Bundy’s supporters were domestic terrorists and then a White House counter-terrorism chief suggested that if your child is confrontational, he could be a terrorist. Do you feel that these statements could tie into how [it seems that] as government gets more and more involved in education, we see more and more radical talking points from politicians [and bureaucrats?]
RP: Yes and they have certainly in the last 13 years, since 9/11, taken advantage of this whole thing of “terrorism.” All they have to announce is “terrorism, terrorism” and the people are supposed to roll over and sacrifice all of their liberties. Just think of how much liberties we have given up in the last 13 years because we’re always fighting terrorism.
Even with the recent history over in Ukraine, the western Ukrainians were going in with their military to suppress the “terrorists.” They will use that term any time they can. They went in and were surprised that there weren’t any terrorists there and they actually backed down and didn’t want to fight their fellow Ukrainians, so the whole thing sort of fizzled.
But this is way overworked. It has conditioned us, especially since the Bush administration, that we’re in a perpetual war and its always against terrorism, terrorists can be anyplace in the world, the war never ends and under war conditions you have to sacrifice your liberties. So what we’re doing is exactly what Bin Laden was fighting towards: to bankrupt our country and to destroy our Constitutional rights here at home.
So Bin Laden even from the grave is still winning this fight and like you said, they are now even suggesting that whether you support land owners, individuals who are ranching or people who are going to private schools and are challenging the government, “ah, you’re a terrorist!” They have to be called on this and the American people have to have a better understanding and a greater love for liberty.
Of course, this has been one of the goals of our homeschooling curricula [the Ron Paul Curriculum] is to teach what liberty really means and how to spread a message so that they [children] don’t call into this baloney about how “the government does good, the government will take care of us, everyone else is a potential terrorist, thank goodness the government can tax me and use the NSA and the military to suppress all threats of terrorism and we’ll have perfect safety.” That is deeply flawed but fortunately a lot of Americans are starting to wake up.
IW: Do you have a response to Sen. Reid for suggesting that political activism is terrorism or even common behavior, like what the White House chief suggested could be terrorism?
RP: Well, first off, people should probably just laugh at them because it’s so ridiculous and I would think that he is practicing a bit of terrorism himself by making these threats and intimidations. The best way to answer to people like that is to either refute them, ignore them, laugh at them or refute them with a better idea. I mean they just throw these things out and they have no meaning whatsoever and yet unfortunately the major media is always on their side and would never call them on this. But somebody has to and fortunately we have alternative media now and I think that’s the reason we’re making some headway with the Internet and other methods of spreading a message.
IW: Yes, and it’s interesting that you mention the Internet because back in the 1970s, Austrian economist Murray Rothbard pointed out the difference between formal schooling and education whereas education is a lifelong learning process. Now with the advent of the Internet and your homeschool curriculum, we see that education doesn’t necessarily evolve from government-run schools. Do you think that there’s going to be a mass awakening in the future in which a large degree of the population discovers the same thing?
RP: Well, let’s hope so and I think that’s the movement because government schools are the opposite of education. I felt at many times that after I got out of college, especially in the social studies, sort of a relief because I still had enough introduction to world events were that my curiosity really struck me.
But even when I got out of college we didn’t have the Internet but we did have a few foundations like the Foundation for Economic Education [FEE] where I was able to seek out information and that’s where I was able to get hold of [Friedrich] Hayek, [Ludwig] von Mises and later on I got to be good friends with Murray Rothbard. That is when I discovered what education was all about.
I think a lot more people are noticing this and not only is it the quality of education – that strikes some – but I think also it’s the violence in schools. It really frightens the parents when they put this together without getting an education [for their children.] But the one thing that is really neat about all this is that fact that our side of the argument is very appealing to a broad base. It isn’t appealing to the very wealthy – they’re sort of own their own and they preach all this government control of schools like all the politicians in Washington but where do their kids go to school? Their kids go to private schools!
But the middle class and many in the poorer class are recognizing this if they have any understanding for their kids to get ahead. They have to get a better education and the schools are not providing this. Right now you see a great transition: colleges are going bankrupt, people aren’t applying as much, degrees that don’t mean anything, they have all this debt but they can’t get a job.
It is a disaster because of government planning: government economic planning failed and government planning on education failed and this is why Common Core is going to be a total failure and make things so much worse. It is just trying to make people obedient to the state. It can’t work, there’s too much availability of information outside [of public schools.] So as bad as it is, we have reasons to be optimistic about some of the changes going on.
IW: I’ve noticed that in the past century, Keynesian economists and the Federal Reserve have avoided blame for the damage they have done to the economy. But now we’re seeing an explosion of interest in Austrian economics and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that students are going around formal schooling and are self-educating and are learning about Austrian economics in that way. So do you feel that parallel institutions [such as self-educating and homeschooling] could be a great way to break the hold that government has on society?
RP: There’s no doubt about it and there are two things going on. Alternative sources for education are there and we’ve talked about that, the Internet and different vehicles, but also something that we are witnessing is the failure of a system.
I thought the greatest event of the 20th century politically speaking was the failure of the Soviet system: the collapse, the breaking up and the secession of 12 republics from the domination of the Soviets because it failed, communism failed.
Although how many intellectuals in this country cheered it on? They cheered on communism and of course there were some that were cheering on fascism. Fascism, communism, and now welfare-ism and Keynesianism that preaches “spending is good, deficits don’t matter, print the money when you need it, have central economic planning, have the government control our education, take over medical care…”
It’s not the old-fashioned type of socialism but it’s an interventionism that pretends it’s a little bit freer than fascism but the failure always comes and that’s what we’re witnessing right now.
So we have the vehicle to get the information out and at the same time everyone knows that there is something seriously wrong and people are very frightened and concerned. The job of us who believe in the alternative are obligated to promote the alternative because this system is going to collapse and we’re witnessing that. What has to be done is that they have to be offered an alternative and fortunately it’s a wonderful alternative as is the concept of liberty which is progressing in understanding.
You mentioned the Federal Reserve and the monetary system, today we have a better understanding of how a gold standard would work than we did in our early history because back then they had things like bimetallism and they allowed states to expand credit so there’s things that we’re advancing on and even the concept of liberty has advanced.
You don’t need governments to preach to individuals on how they’re supposed to run their personal lives and what their habits should be. So we’re making these advancements but the conflict is there and the challenge is there and those individuals who weld the power will not give it up easily so it’s going to be a struggle for the next decade or two.
IW: And do you feel that the struggle between homeschoolers and proponents of government education is a microcosm of the struggle between individualism and collectivism?
RP: There’s no doubt about it because you have the collectivist notion about education and the individual notions about homeschooling. One goal that I had on the homeschooling proposals is the system that I [now] have that is designed [for students] to understand liberty. It’s not a homeschooling program which is evangelical and directed to one place, but I’m not opposed to any of that. If people understand what I am talking about, it legalizes and encourages all varieties of homeschooling. So you might have a very secular or you might have a religious one. But mine is designed to say that what we need is liberty and then the people would have more options.
But I think it’s a conflict between the two: the state versus the voluntaryism and I think the education is a perfect example. You can find that in medicine as well and despite what government has done, there are still private sources of medical care in this country that are delivering care very cheaply and with high-quality.
This is what’s happening in education too because it’s not like you have to be super wealthy to homeschool your kids. You need dedication, effort, encouragement and you don’t need a whole lot of money. The rich who take their kids to very, very wealthy, private schools and of course that doesn’t guarantee them a better education. I think the people that go into the right homeschooling program are going to get a better education [program] than the very wealthy do by sending their kids to very rich, private schools.
IW: Lastly, could you describe your homeschool curriculum and at what point did you decide to pursue your curriculum?
RP: Well, I thought about education as a goal for a long, long time. Even in the years I spent in government, I was never thinking [about it] first. I always thought of myself as a physician who took a break to talk about things that I thought were important. Education was most important to me.
I don’t believe the politicians have much control over anything. Ideas have control and that is why I have my own FREE [Foundation for Rational Economics and Education] foundation and that is why I support the Mises Institute and education.
Nixon once said “we’re all Keynesians now.” Well, I’d like to see the day where we say “we’re all Austrian economists now” and understand it in a different factor. So my motivation has always been there and of course in talking with Gary North and Tom Woods who are principles in the homeschooling curriculum, they helped me design this and devise the courses and the whole goal is to teach the freedom philosophy, which is not available anyplace else. Like I said earlier, it doesn’t negate what other people want to do, it just legalizes and permits people to have their own homeschooling.
Right now we have a curriculum set up that’s free from pre-k to the fifth grade that’s available at ronpaulcurriculum.com and every year we’re going to be adding more grades and classes. There’s going to be an opportunity first to study and understand what liberty is all about, where it comes from and the relationship of the individual to government, and also to help teach people how to defend it because we get a bad rap, conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians that we’re heartless and that we don’t care. Well, we have to learn how to show that if you really care about people, you don’t want to go with an authoritarian dictatorship, you want to go with more liberty because that’s when more people eat better, live better and are happier.
We start with those two things and then if people want to go to college, which we obviously encourage, if that’s what their goal is because you hardly get to be a doctor without going to college and to medical school, that it [the curriculum] is a preparation for college testing and getting into college.
Many homeschoolers, we haven’t had ours test yet, but others have been able to get into college at 15, 16, and 17 years of age. They get in sooner, they do well and also if people say “well, I want to go in a different direction, I want to go into business,” there’s going to be a lot of courses available to teach people how to do home businesses and we found that not only have we had young people interested in that, we’ve had their parents saying “hey, some of this stuff sounds pretty good so we better look at it.”
But it’s not for everybody. We’re hoping to direct it to those elites who are desirous of sowing this message that requires self-discipline and they have to be motivated. They won’t have to buy any textbooks that they don’t want to buy because everything is going to be available, like the lectures, on the Internet. Although it will be similar in some ways to others, it is going to be unique in that it’s designed to promote the understanding of liberty and how important it is for the future of this country.
The Ron Paul Curriculum
As Ron Paul explained in the interview, it is critical for the liberty movement to develop alternatives to government-run schools which provide real education to children. When government officials dictate school curriculum rather than the parents, the result is an educational system with a built-in bias towards large, unconstitutional government. Prosperity only comes from liberty but children taught under government programs such as Common Core may never fully understand this. Government-run education benefits politicians and bureaucrats at the expense of children and parents.
This is why last year Dr. Paul introduced his own homeschool curriculum consisting of a rigorous program of study in economics, mathematics, history and science while also teaching children the benefits of a free society.
Through the use of the Internet, students in the program are able to actively engage with each other and to work together on the subject matter. This combined with frequent written assignments allow them to develop excellent communication skills which are essential to many career paths.
And while the program addresses the significant role that religion played in the development of Western civilization, it is not biased towards any religion so that Christian, Jewish, Muslim, pagan, agnostic and atheist parents can feel comfortable using the curriculum for their children.
Students will also learn the basics of the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the free market and how liberty was won in America, how it’s been lost and how it will be restored.
The program’s first six years, from kindergarten to fifth grade, are free of charge and there are no textbooks or workbooks to buy. The Ron Paul Curriculum also offers daily lecture videos for each course and the courses are self-taught, meaning that parents won’t have to teach any of it, not even advanced courses such as chemistry or physics.
As of this writing, the courses from sixth grade to 12th grade cost $50 each and the tutorial forums cost $250 per family per year, an outstanding value for an education which rivals the most prestigious private schools. It also should be noted that a high-speed Internet connection is required for the courses.
To find out more and to sign up, please click here.