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Separating school and state

Marshall Fritz

The death of Marshall Fritz on Nov. 4, 2008, reminds us not only of the fragility of human life but also of how much we owe to the energy and brains of a few inspired people to organize a truly strong defense of freedom.

While I have been advocating getting the government out of education for years, it was Marshall, a Christian libertarian, who created the Alliance for the Separation of School and State, thus launching the first organized attempt by concerned citizens to undo America’s addiction to government schooling. Marshall understood that the most important institution in a socialist society is government owned and controlled education of the young, and he understood how difficult it would be to cure Americans of this popular addiction.

But the enormous size of the problem never stood in his way. Marshall was huge, not only physically, but in feeling and conviction. He dominated any room of people, and his voice had the dramatic timbre of thunder. He was driven by the conviction that intelligent people would respond to rational argument. But he learned the hard way.

It all reminded me of the naiveté of many advocates of phonics who believed that all one had to do was convince the educational leaders that phonics worked better than the whole-world method and they would immediately reform reading instruction in the schools. What was not believed is that the educational leaders knew that phonics worked better and that’s the very reason why they didn’t want it. They wanted illiteracy! And because that is simply unbelievable, the reading problem in our schools persists to this day.

In my writings, I went to great lengths to prove the truth of what I was saying. And because most people prefer to believe a credible lie to an incredible truth, it was impossible to arouse a credulous public easily swayed by the arguments of the professional educators. Educators could not possibly be that diabolical! Thus, if children couldn’t learn to read, it was because there was something terribly wrong with the children. They were dyslexic! They were learning disabled! And, believe it or not, a whole educational industry has grown up around these assertions.

And so when Marshall Fritz came along, fired up to slay the socialist enemies of educational freedom, I welcomed his entry into the fray. He strongly believed in private education and even experimented with starting a private school in his hometown of Fresno, Calif. But running a private school was no walk in the park, and so he gave it up. Then he formed the Alliance for the Separation of School and State and mobilized a remarkable body of intelligent Americans who agreed with him.

He held several great conferences that drew true lovers of freedom. Among his guest speakers were always one or two professional defenders of government education. I think his real motive was to convince professional government educators that members of the Alliance were rational, intelligent people, with no malice in their hearts.

Marshall truly believed in an America where people could disagree agreeably. In that regard, he was a true representative of the American spirit and lived in accordance with its human demands. His utter honesty in everything he did had its benign influence on everyone around him. It was an enormous pleasure being around someone of his even temperament, with an unrehearsed kindness toward everyone, including those he knew were evil.

He was one of America’s strongest and ablest warriors for freedom, an inveterate optimist who knew that it was his duty and obligation as a human being to actively fight for the principles he believed in. No one will be able to replace his presence, his dedication, his wit and humor, and his absolute resolve to solve one of our greatest problems. Hopefully, Alan Schaeffer, the new president of the Alliance, will be able to carry on the fight to separate school and state.

So many of us know that the reason Obama won the election so handily is because of the job the government schools have done on the youth of America. They have been educated in our socialist schools to accept the socialism that Obama wants to impose on all of us. Until we get millions of Americans to abandon the government schools, we will not be able to undo the damage the leftists will inflict on our nation.

Marshall influenced thousands of people, and if you would like to read some of their remarks, go to his website and click on his guest book. You may want to add your own comments.