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Friedrich Diesterweg: "An Educator's Little Book of Crabs" (1856)
page 12 of 12

13. How to Prevent the Development of a Person of Character

1. At the head of each branch of the community, install a man who has the final word over all disputes and who is not responsible to the community.
2. Give this person power over all of the officials in his division, all the way down to the head of each individual community. Give the officials absolutely no say in the selection of this person and subordinate them to the discipline of this minister.
3. Supervise the behavior of the citizenry through a corps of police, the head of which should be a police commissioner who is in no way responsible to his subordinates.
4. Refuse the establishment of a national militia and, instead, deploy a standing army throughout the country.
5. Make the employment and promotion of the clergy dependent upon the secular authorities, entrust to them the oversight of education and support them in their struggle against the power of conscience.
6. Put the power to hire all teachers, from the university down to the village school, in the hands of a government minister and keep teachers in economic and intellectual poverty.
7. Give government ministers the power to dictate the sort of public education and lessons.
8. Make the threat of loss of license into a Damocles' sword over the heads of all press organs and their distributors, as well as anyone in business.
9. Discourage the formation of free associations. At the very least, have them observed by the police and give the police the power to dissolve any such association immediately. Make every free movement of people dependent upon police permission in every situation.
10. Permit no association to discuss political and general social affairs. Suppress every idea that communities can govern themselves.
11. Make the recognition of civil rights dependent upon membership in a church community officially recognized by the secular powers.
12. Make every sort of reward for a man's efforts dependent less upon his abilities on the job or for the sake of the general human condition than upon his participation in the promotion of the political direction of the moment.

With a combination of these and other elements one can achieve the aim of preventing the formation of a person of strong character, or if one doesn’t directly aim for this, achieve the result that men of this sort are a rare occurrence. History is proof of this.

Source: Pädagogisches Jahrbuch (1859)

Original German text reprinted in Friedrich Diesterweg, Wegweiser zur Bildung für deutsche Lehrer und andere didaktische Schriften, ed. Franz Hofmann. East Berlin: Volk und Wissen Volkseigener Verlag, 1962, pp. 314-23.

Translation: Jonathan Skolnik

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