EDUCATION: The Comprachicos
Victor Hugo The Man Who Laughs 1869
"The comprachicos (child buyers) were strange and hideous nomads in the 17th century. They made children into sideshow freaks. To succeed in producing a freak one must get hold of him early; a dwarf must be started when he is small. They stunted growth, they mangled features. It was an art/science of inverted orthopedics. Where nature had put a straight glance, this art put a squint. Where nature had put harmony, they put deformity and imperfection. The child was not aware of the mutilation he had suffered. This horrible surgery left traces on his face, not in his mind. During the operation the little patient was unconscious by means of a stupefying magic powder.
In China since time immemorial, they have achieved refinement in a special art and industry: the molding of living man. One takes a child two or three years old and puts them into a grotesquely shaped porcelain vase. It is without cover or bottom, so the head and feet protrude. In the daytime the vase is upright, at night it is laid down so the child can sleep. Thus the child slowly fills the contours of the vase with compressed flesh and twisted bones. This bottled development continues for several years. At a certain point, it becomes an irreparable monster. Then the vase is broken and one has a man in the shape of a pot."
Ayn Rand The New Left 1971
"The production of monsters--helpless, twisted monsters whose normal development has been stunted--goes on all around us. But the modern heirs of the comprachicos are smarter and subtler. They do not hide, they practice their trade in the open, the results are invisible. In the past this horrible surgery left traces on a child's face, not in his mind. Today it leaves traces in his mind, not on his face. In both cases the child is not aware of the mutilation he has suffered. Today's comprachicos do not use narcotic powders. They take a child before he is fully aware of reality and never let him develop that awareness. Where nature put a normal brain, they put mental retardation. To make you unconscious for life by means of your own brain, nothing could be more ingenious. They are the comprachicos of the mind. They do not place a child into a vase to adjust his body to its contours. They place him into a school to adjust him to society."
Plato The Republic Greece 370 BC Johann Gottlieb Fichte Address to the German Nation 1808
"Resistance to the full-scale institution of government compulsory schooling will only last for one generation. The first generation affected will accept it as a natural part of growing up."
Contents | Next