He thought of all the living species that train their young in the art of survival, the cats who teach their kitten to hunt, the birds who spend such strident effort on teaching their fledglings to fly—yet man, whose tool of survival is the mind, does not merely fail to teach a child to think, but devotes the child’s education to the purpose of destroying his brain, of  convincing him that thought is futile and evil, before he has started to think.

From the first catch-phrases flung at a child to the last, it is like a series of shocks to freeze his motor, to undercut the power of his consciousness. “Don’t ask so many questions, children should be seen and not heard!”—“Who are you to think? It’s so, because I say so!”—“Don’t argue, obey!”—“Don’t try to understand, believe!”—“Don’t struggle, compromise!”—“Your heart is more important than your mind!”—“Who are you to know? Your parents know best!”—“Who are you to know? The bureaucrats know best!”—“Who are you to object? All values are relative!”—“Who are you to want to escape a thug’s bullet? That’s only a personal prejudice!”

Men would shudder, he thought, if they saw a mother bird plucking the feathers from the wings of her young, then pushing him out of the nest to struggle for survival—yet that was what they did to their children. [Atlas Shrugged. Part 3. Chapter VI: The Concerto of Deliverance. Ayn Rand. 1957]

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