Frederick Forsyth: schools should promote ‘quiet pride’ patriotism
It is reported that 75 per cent of teachers in Britain's schools believe they should warn pupils about the ‘dangers of patriotism’ - which some regard as a form of 'brainwashing'.
There is a sense in which all education is ‘brainwashing’: it is culturally and temporally bound, and anyone with a passing interesting in matters epistemological will know (to the extent that anyone may know) that knowledge is acquired by various means and that its nature is multi-faceted and dependent on individual ways of knowing and an individual’s ability to distinguish between such justifications as logic, sensory perception, faith, authority and intuition.
These teachers are right to that extent.
But they do not appear to object to pupils being ‘brainwashed’ with regard to secularism, sex, contraception, abortion, drugs, global warming, anti-capitalism, the glories of the EU, the wonders of the UN and a myriad of Marxist agendas. Teachers are already expounding Gaia spirituality and the New Labour Social Contract through ‘Citizenship’, but because it essentially accords with the Left-leaning instincts of the teaching profession, it is not in any sense considered ‘brainwashing’.
These teachers need, in any case, to learn the difference between patriotism and nationalism.
The nationwide study found the majority of teachers felt they should not be promoting patriotism at all in the classroom, with some preferring to instruct their pupils in the benefits of 'universal brotherhood'.
Why should the cult of ‘universal brotherhood’ be any less ‘dangerous’ than patriotism?
If teaching the UK’s Christian heritage and traditions of patriotism is ‘dangerous’, then a fortiori is any sense of a superstitious appeal to a New World Order of global unity overseen by the pantheon of gods which transcend the starry canopy. If history has taught us anything and made anything empirically known, it is that man is incapable of overcoming his inherently selfish nature.
One teacher said: “Praising patriotism excludes non-British pupils.”
Well, there’s a bright spark with the unqualified omnipotence to mould a generation of minds.
Another said: “Patriotism about being British divides groups along racial lines, when we aim to bring pupils to an understanding of what makes us the same.”
No ‘brainwashing’ there, is there?
No understanding of the distinction between ethnicity and nationality; no appreciation of the diversity of creation or the celebration of ‘difference’ which complements the academic, physical and spiritual development of pupils. Just a Marxist emphasis on ‘what makes us the same’.
Another teacher asserted: “I don't think you should be grooming children to be patriotic. That's as bad as telling everyone that they've got to be a certain religion.”
‘Grooming’ is an interesting word to use in this context. It purposely equates patriotism with paedophilia: it is inherently evil. And note the dogmatic assertion that the teaching of the uniqueness of the Christian faith has no place in the modern education system: the statutory obligations upon headteachers and governors with regard to religious education and the provision of a daily act of collective worship have long been considered antiquated, obsolete and otiose.
Perhaps most concerningly, half of the teachers interviewed said patriotism was never discussed in their school. Academics - historians, theologians, sociologists and politicians - would argue that much of the history of the world is incomprehensible without an understanding of the power of patriotic sentiment.
Frederick Forsyth said teachers should promote 'quiet pride' amongst students. He said: “I wish these teachers would see that patriotism in the sense of that quiet pride is nothing to be afraid of. It's not aggressive. It doesn't put down foreigners. It doesn't noisily wave flags and it certainly doesn't swerve towards the BNP.”
One cannot reform education without addressing the issue of teacher training and the ongoing need – if they are to ‘progress’ in their careers – to conform to Marxist assessment criteria. It is here that the most dangerous ‘brainwashing’ occurs, which stifles the spirit, extinguishes inspiration, discourages individual expression, and ensures that teachers embrace the bland uniformity of the state orthodoxy which they in turn pass on to their pupils.
The Conservative Party is pledged to the necessary reforms. But breaking this cycle will make the battles with Arthur Scargill and the chronic traumas of the miners’ strikes seem like a walk in the park.