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Friedrich Diesterweg: "An Educator's Little Book of Crabs" (1856)

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3. Schoolhouse Rules for the Upholding, Reconstitution, and Security of Superstition

1. Teach everything according to the fundamental principle that the content of the Old Testament as well as the New Testament must be taken literally and that every deviation from the letter of the Bible will provoke God's anger!
2. Discuss the tales of miracles in both testaments – all the way down to the witch of Endor, Jonah in the belly of the whale, and Balaam's ass – in the most exacting detail and treat them as if they are to be strictly believed!
3. Entertain the pupils with readings and tales from the world of spirits and ghosts of all sorts, including the newest revelations from this world through séances and spirit-magnetism!
4. Fill them with belief in the devil and hell and in the trickery of all the evil demons that float through the air! (As Wangemann does in Pomerania.)
5. Keep the pupils away from all knowledge of the natural sciences, and raise children on the sort of readings that present nature only in the form of "pious chatter."
6. This, however, is not enough. You must also revive the belief that the earth is the center of the universe and that the stars are not heavenly bodies but heavenly lights. The laws of nature do not exist. So-called knowledge must be corrected by faith. (See Die Prätensionen der exakten Naturwissenschaften, usw. By Dr. Frantz, Oberpfarrer, Superintendent in Sangerhausen; Nordhausen, 1857.)
7. Show them that the fear of comets and flibbertigibbets and the teachings of the old astrologists were not entirely unfounded!
8. Tell the students stories which "factually" demonstrate that the prayers of the faithful can end damaging rains or drought and can bring about other effects "outside the order of nature," that is to say, miracles.
9. Guard yourself from the mad notion that the so-called Enlightenment – this poison of the enlightened eighteenth century – is the duty of your office! Your job is not to enlighten but to raise obedient, believing subjects for the church and the state!
10. Do not fall prey to the illusion that it is the goal of grade school to shape the understanding of the youth. This was a trick played by last century's revolutionaries. For peasants and common citizens, a pious cast of mind is sufficient. In general, a human being cannot comprehend very much. Therefore, it is not his duty to unmask the secrets of nature which contain more than even our philosophers could dream of.
11. Practice certain skills with your pupils according to rules, without ever giving them the reasons for these, which you don't need to know yourself. Thinking according to reason promotes bumptiousness and is certainly one of the sad symptoms of the eccentricity of our younger school teachers. A pious generation grew up in the days of the old-style teachers. We must return to their wise, modest, but sufficient measure of education. (Wolfgang Menzel, Geschichte der letzten 40 Jahre; Nathusius, Volksblatt für Stadt und Land; also Riehl, Naturgeschichte des Volkes, Band II: Die bürgerliche Gesellschaft, der Schullehrer als Geistesproletarier.)
12. If you would like to achieve exceptional results, impart to your students a special love for everything supernatural, unnatural, and incomprehensible, in that you always behave according to the maxim credo, quia absurdum est ["believe what is absurd"], a maxim which has been recently revived in the valley of the idiots and then warmly recommended to teachers by the Brandenburg Schulblatte (a publication almost privileged by the regime in Potsdam)! –

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