Back in 1973 there was a popular Paul Simon song called Kodachrome, the first few lines of which are:
"When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It's a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of education
Hasn't hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall"
It really is a wonder that anyone subjected to public schooling can think at all since the purpose of public indoctrination seems to be to fill the students' heads with error and carefully filtered information. It isn't so much a lack of education that hurts anyone, it's the errors that are taught as fact that do almost irremediable harm.
I don't recall learning anything useful in high school about how our system of government works. Even politically active people seem to believe the malarkey that was taught them in civics class. Some examples would be that we are a nation of laws, popular rule, a "democracy", inalienable rights, etcetera, etc.
If anyone were to publish a textbook explaining how government really works, no school system would adopt it. If it did adopt it, it would probably lose its accreditation. In the interest of assisting some would-be writer/publisher I offer the following observations on how the system works.
The first rule is that the government is not bound by the moral law. It can lie, steal, murder, blackmail, torture (as long as you don't call it torture), imprison, extort or do anything else that seems expedient for achieving its ends. It's as Rod Serling said, "... it has one iron rule: Logic is an enemy, and truth is a menace."
The importance of these principles is emphasized by the assertion of their opposites. Truth, honor, prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, respect for the individual are all fine until they get in the way of some State objective. Initially, the student is taught by means of ritual. Parades, patriotic music, military displays, the pledge of allegiance, wreath layings and so on form a sort of liturgy of the State. Later the student will be taught about how the State has made all good things possible by means of the sacrifices of our forefathers.
Lying is the first tool in the State's tool kit, but it is important to convey the idea that everything the government says is true. If the agents of the state were forced to tell the truth, the whole system would break down. Some countries, such as the Soviet Union had official news agencies to propagate their lies. Everybody everywhere knew that nothing reported by TASS or Pravda could be believed, but in the U.S. the private news organizations usually report uncritically what the government tells them in its press releases.
One of the things the government does over and over is to get some kind of measure - many times a tax - passed by claiming that it is going to be temporary. These things are temporary in the same way that the pyramids in Egypt are temporary. The income tax withholding during WW II was a temporary measure.
Emotional engineering is another important technique used by the State to direct the populace to identify with its goals. Osama bin Laden was a good guy when he was on our side in fighting the Russians, but then he became a bad guy. Saddam Hussein was also both a good guy and a bad guy, but Muammar Gaddafi was a bad guy who became a good guy and then a bad guy again.
If it were decided that the U.S. needed Canadian oil fields and the Canadians wouldn't agree to our terms, we would suddenly find that they were killing babies and old people, and exporting drugs to our youth. Pretty soon there would be an incident where they attacked one of our border checkpoints or illegally seized a U.S. fishing boat. By this means a friendly people would be transformed into "the enemy."
Blackmail is also useful to keep members of the government in line. It is a good idea to never appoint someone to a high position - such as a Supreme Court Justice - who can't be blackmailed into doing the "right thing" when the need arises. It's also useful when the government wants a private entity to do something it isn't required by law to do, such as turn over phone records. The officials of the intransigent company might find that they are being audited by the IRS or that they are being investigated for SEC violations or that their bank account is being seized for wire fraud or money laundering or any number of things.
Stealing of course is the bedrock of the State. Without the ability to steal, the state could not exist. According to our system of income taxation, the State has a prior claim on all income and it will decide how much the rightful owner is allowed to keep. If the State decides it wants your property it can seize it under its power of eminent domain and pay you the supposed fair market value of it, which obviously is less than you would have sold it for or you would have already sold it. Maybe you wouldn't have sold it for 10 times fair market value, if at all.
The State likes to invoke the name of God in support of whatever it is it's doing, but God should know his place. God cannot be allowed to countermand the dictates of the State, whether it be forcing Jews to eat pork under Antiochus IV Epiphanes, compelling Christians to sacrifice to the Emperor under Domitian, Diocletian, et al., suppressing the Church under Calles, executing dissenters like Jagerstatter under Hitler, or requiring the violation of conscience under Obama. The State is God - the only true God - and will have no strange gods before it.
The government has made itself the interpreter and arbiter of its own powers, so it should surprise no one that it usually finds for itself. It has answered the question of "who will guard the guards themselves?" that it will guard them. You might as well appeal to the protection racket to adjudicate a complaint you have against it.
Murder isn't mentioned much in the context of civics lessons, but it is a time-honored way of dealing with troublesome or meddlesome people. It's amazing how many annoying - to politicians - people end up killing themselves or dying in plane crashes. During the Clinton administration the term "Arkancide" briefly came into the lexicon. Most Americans think that our public officials are different from the way they have been throughout recorded history. I previously wrote about this public delusion here. As a wise man once said, "There is nothing new under the sun." and we certainly have not developed a new kind of government official. They are all concerned with the acquisition and retention of power and will do anything to realize that end.
Anyone who believed that our "representatives" actually represent the people should have been enlightened by the bailout of the banks against overwhelming popular opposition to it, or the passage of Obama's socialized medicine bill against popular opposition. Sometimes writing your Congressman or Senator just doesn't seem to do any good.