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The Political Indoctrination Of Children

History is littered with the indoctrination of children by totalitarian regimes. Nazi Germany had the Hitler Youth. The Soviet Union, North Korea, China and others all moved to control their societies by indoctrinating children at an early age. Children as young as kindergarten age were educated in the ideology of the state with heavy emphasis on the state’s view of history, it’s enemies and physical training. In virtually every case, there is a strong militarism nature to the training which in many cases included weapons and unarmed combat.
The following video shows how the Nazis understood that the foundation of the ongoing success of their regime was dependent on raising a generation to believe what the state required them to believe. The indoctrination was all the more insidious in that it was often intermixed with physical and other fun activities.

We now live in the 21st century, an era when we are more reasoned, more democratic than ever before. Unfortunately, the political indoctrination and militarization of children continues. As the following video shows, there is a direct comparison between what happened in countries like The Third Reich and what is happening today in places like the Middle East, as well as, Africa and some Asian countries.
Unfortunately, this misuse of children is not limited to totalitarian regimes. The indoctrination of children is rising in some democracies where the political leadership sees its country as under constant threat by defined and sometimes undefined or constantly changing enemies of the state.
It starts with the belief that the state should control thinking and that the state is better served when people see things the way the state thinks they should. Sometimes, as in North Korea, the indoctrination is personality-cult oriented, in other places it is based more on hatred of an external enemy. 
Sometimes it is started by those who believe so deeply in a cause, like global warming or sex education or a political party, they blend their beliefs into teaching children what to think rather than teaching them how to think.
No democracy is immune to the misguided idea that there is only one way to think and that is as true in North America as it is in the Middle East.
It doesn’t matter if you support President Obama or the Republicans, Stephen Harper or the NDP, the political indoctrination of children is not just wrong, it is just one more form of child abuse. Children should be encouraged to explore the world around them, taught to be curious and to learn from that curiosity. From that should come their own, individual formulation of ideas and understanding. No state, no individual should take it upon themselves to try and indoctrinate children to one set of beliefs, especially beliefs founded on hatred or fear.
In the end, the nation is not well-served by raising children who have been robbed of their right to think for themselves. It is no different than raising a generation to believe that blacks are not equal to whites, that only The Third Reich is righteous, that Jews are evil or all followers of Islam are murderous suicide bombers.
The indoctrination of children is the continuation of extremist intolerance and it takes from them the very thing most of us thought we were fighting to protect….. the right to live our individual lives and to think for ourselves.
© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
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  • priscilla

    Who would you suggest determine the boundary between parental guidance and indoctrination? Shall we assume that common sense will prevail? Although we would agree that these extreme forms of political and religious influences inspire hatred and fear, what about social or cultural etiquette, or basic moral intolerances?

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      I would suggest that raising children is best left in the hands of their parents. The state has no business in teaching children what they should think and only a limited role to play in teaching them how to think.

      I take it from your comment that you think that there are only a few who are qualified to best decide how children should be raised and the majority are incapable of instilling values and morality in their children. I’m afraid we don’t agree. I don’t believe that the state or an elite has a monopoly or a right on making those determinations. It is more state control than any of the current online regulation so many seem to be in such a tizzy over.

    • priscilla

      Yes I agree – raising children is best left in the hands of their parents.

      My point is that what some may deem parental guidance, others may define as indoctrination.

      These differences do not stem from obvious examples like the videos you have posted, rather from seemingly small social-cultural experiences and convictions. (i.e.. medical choices, nutritional choices, educational choices, etc…)

      Ultimately each of these influences are represented by a political or religious stance, which if expressed by the kids, may leave some folks shrieking “indoctrination!!”.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      I take your point but I believe that the essence of tolerance is for a society to come to understand those cultural, religious and political stances rather than have the state or one group or individual try to determine the ‘right’ way to think.

      I think it starts with fundamental values and respect for the law and each other.

  • http://www.dpnlive.com ellen neumann

    I watched the videos closely, first from bottom to top, then started at top to bottom. Very cleverly placed on page. I don’t buy this sort of propaganda for but if it is what someone is looking for, they will see in it what they want to. Job well done for what it is. I am not an Obama supporter but don’t buy into the Nazi BS either. Those kids in the bottom looked like cheerleaders to me, no guns

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      There was no attempt to place them cleverly on the page to prove a point. The videos are presented in a chronological historical context. They are also only four of hundreds of videos easily available on the Internet.

      There are two things that bother me about the bottom video. The first is the chanting rather than a discussion approach. This is too often a form used to indoctrinate people. The second thing is the subtle change in what is being chanted. In the beginning it is about the fact that because of President Obama, each person announces they now believe they can be an engineer or architect or whatever. I have no issue with that but then the chant changes and becomes a political statement about the president’s health care package and that crosses the line to political indoctrination.