More On The Morality Of Permission: School and Social Skills

I’ve been reading about unschooling the last few days. It’s a vein of homeschooling where you just let your kids do whatever.

Also, if you need me to tell you why public schools are child abuse, then this is the wrong blog for you. I’m assuming my readers already know. If the statement that public schools are child abuse offends you because “my wife is a teacher and she devotes her whole life to enriching young minds and is the backbone of this country”, then leave a comment in the comments section telling me how evil and ungrateful I am, because your opinion matters.

The big argument against homeschooling is that kids don’t get the right social development. While I have definitely met homeschoolers like that, it’s become less and less common as homeschooling becomes more common and co-ops flourish.

But even if it were true, that your homeschooled child will grow up to be a total social retard, is that any worse than what public schools will do to him?


Without going into a sob story about my childhood, I skipped over the social-emotional development phase from five to fifteen. This effectively made me autistic, and I would often say very offensive things with no awareness of it.

I had to spend high school and college learning social skills through observation and analysis. It was the greatest accomplishment in human history, and the world didn’t even notice. This experience has given me some unique insights.

1) Social skills are not an internally consistent set of rules. They are more like patterns. And different people will differ wildly on them. So you can’t really trust people to tell you when you’re being appropriate or not.

2) Most people have terrible social skills. They are only concerned with how others annoy them. They do not care how they annoy others. This is why most individuals in America would describe themselves as misanthropic, because most people you encounter are truly self-centered.

3) Most people value you solely for your entertainment value. They don’t see you as an end in yourself, and they would prefer that you see them as mere entertainment too. People are deathly afraid of vulnerability.

4) Being blunt and being tactless often look the same but are polar opposites. Most people confuse them.

4.5) People will forgive all kinds of flaws as long as you admit to them and try to be internally consistent. You don’t even have to apologize or say you’re wrong. If you’re always brutally honest (ie, blunt), eventually people will respect you for it.

5) People really resent kindness, gentleness, and politeness. They would rather you be gruff and rude so they can feel justified in hating you. If you are patient and forgiving with people, it will be met with resentment instead of gratitude.

All that may sound like common sense, but it’s really not.


In our society, we have a comic book narrative of history and society. We need a simple bad guy to overthrow.

It would be nice to say that the Morality of Permission comes from 13 years of being treated like a felon convict during what should be your most developmental years and that all this was planned out in a CEO’s office to make good worker drones in the 1920s.

But that’s too simple. Perhaps the origins of modern schooling has roots in that, but it’s not like every district superintendent in the country is on General Motors’s payroll.

Does the system create the psychopath or does the psychopath create the system? Perhaps both. A circle has no beginning.

People send their kids to school because it’s free daycare. The reality is that parents like the Morality of Permission that schools teach. It certainly makes parenting easier. And the parents themselves follow this morality. All of Western Christianity, at least today, is based on the Morality of Permission.

The Morality of Permission removes accountability. It’s the perfect marriage of Calvinism and Catholic indulgences. You’re told exactly what you have to do, and beyond that you’re free to do what you want. The authority has told them exactly what the rules are. Show up on time, and if you behave then you can watch television.

So it’s not just that kids spend 13 years in an artificial social environment with a karmic morality of carrot and stick. It’s that they exist in an entire society of carrot-stick morality. They learn it from their parents and churches. They learn it on television. They are told America is all about doing what you want.

Blaring your music outside the apartment building is a sacred right, because the landlord never told you you can’t. And anyone who asks you to turn it down is a blasphemer.


A lot of this stems with some extreme frustrations I have with my job, especially people blasting their music and even walking off and leaving it going and then telling on you to the manager when you turn it down, but I try not to talk about work here. I work four days of 12 hour shifts in a warehouse that has been well-described as a glorified fifth grade lunchroom.

My advice, both with work and life in general, is that you just have to tune out the world. Most people will be terrible. Most people are cowards who act tough. Most people love the Morality of Permission. A job is just a means of getting a paycheck, and getting angry at the people there is a sign that you’re trying to find meaning in the meaningless. If your boss wasn’t devoid of integrity on some level, then he wouldn’t have become your boss. So don’t take any of it too seriously or too personally.

And before you judge the psychos around you, take a look at yourself and figure out the ways in which you are a psycho to others. If we were all a little more considerate of others — that is to say, if we filtered the world through Jesus’s words to “treat others as you would want to be treated”, and as a general attitude instead of an absolute law — then the earth would truly be paradise.

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