Thought Police

Aussie Friends of Treehorn





 Penalty for Thoughtcrime: Confinement to Room 101 with your friends, the children from Years 3,5,7,9, until Thursday May 15, 2014; where you will do what they have to do.

This is NAPLAN control. There is no worse punishment than this.

In the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, thoughtcrime is the criminal act of holding unspoken beliefs or doubts that oppose or question the ruling party. In the book, the government attempts to control not only the speech and actions, but also the thoughts of its subjects. To entertain unacceptable thought is known as crimethink in Newspeak, the ideologically purified dialect of the party.

In the book, Winston Smith, the main character, writes in his diary: “Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death.” There is also a “ministry of love” which is actually the place of torture for people who commit any type of crime, including thoughtcrime. [Wikipedia]


 THOUGHT POLICE controlled not only the speech and actions, but also the thoughts of the constituency of the Inner Party in 1984. Revived in 2008 it’s modus operandi is much more effective.

 Refined, better-trained latter-day officers of the Thought Police are now used by media moguls, publishers, miners and bilky politicians to control those of easy moral gullibility to adopt the tenets of their bullying possessive culture….make money, assault kids, contaminate water and profit from their ‘per diem’ allowances They operate in many devious ways…..through party members, paid lobbyists, politicians’ personal staff, professional groups, special-focus journalists. They are adept at using canards and hoaxes to decorate their officialese. They are many. They work very hard to maintain the “smelly orthodoxies” of the ruling class. Don’t pretend they aren’t around you. Look around. The comments that aren’t printed, the TV comments left off the airways, the unlisted policies of political parties are testimony to their presence.

Their task is to quell media comment and public utterances, derail those who might be tempted to make them; and hide positive comment by opponents who hold democratic ideals, support ethical behaviour, genuinely love their country and are concerned about its welfare.

While Rupert Murdoch and Joel Klein clearly control the minds of Australians, their immediate Big Apple coterie are working on the rest of the world. They all know a gold mine when they see one. Close NY billionaire friend, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been very busy, for instance. This week’s TIME magazine [21-10-13] says,

 “Without billionaires like Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Eli Broad and Jim Walton, the revolution now taking place in K-12 education – charter schools, standardized tests, Common Core, merit pay, the end of tenure – would be years behind schedule. 

 Not since the early 20th century have individuals had so much power to unilaterally shape our lives and shift our ideas. Never in history have they been able to exert their will so easily on such a global scale. “

 [You might like to think about this kind of comment, if you are allowed.]

 The TIME article also discusses [P.37] the widely held conviction that big money should operate independently of public opinion.

[What would you think about this if you were allowed to think?]



I’ve been influenced by thought police. All of us in the schooling business have. Few of us realise the extent that the efforts of goody-goody Thought Police and baddy-baddy Thought Police have had over professional wisdom, although each of us can identify those folk whose influence on our beliefs have been life changing. Orwell was prefacing the work of 2013 Thought Police that act as agents of totalitarian fascist-type controllers and willingly undertake the dirty work of dominant corporate tycoons. The damage that they do is endless. But then, the welfare of the country is not their concern. The profit god must be served. In the absence of free discussion and freedom to innovate, following the totalitarian groove is the easiest thing to do. It’s a comfortable groove.

In the field of schooling, Messrs. Pyne, Garrett, Gillard, Nelson, Rudd and their cohort have been easy push-overs for the Interpol section of Thought Police; easily controlled by the Orwellian brand of Thought Interpol Commissioners:- Klein, Murdoch, Pearson, Bloomberg, Gates and Co. . How else did Australia end up with Kleinist schooling? Think back five years. The round-ups.

What a shame Ravitch, Sir Ken, Brady, Glass, Alexander, Sahlberg, Hammonds, Alach, Hornsby, Wilson, Cambourne, Gurr aren’t billionaires.

I’m saying that the Thought Police, like those just mentioned, can control us in positive ways. Learning ways. I willingly confess to being manipulated by their kind of thought police….. good guys, I reckon….of the pre-competency-testing era, pre-testucaton, pre- managerial, pre-political eras…..the learning era. Great educators. Great teachers. It was feel-good manipulation of thoughts and practices in a wonderful child-centred era.. Let me tell it this way….

My impulsive cancellation of all blanket testing in my school, my complete volte- face, the day I realised the damage that I was doing, was a result of my mindlessness. That Quo Vadis moment made me feel very pleased with myself. I’d broken free. Until that day, I had been obediently and mindlessly following the established pattern of schooling….teach/test, teach/test, teach/test. The tears of the Year 2 test contestants, on that day, were telling me that I was really mutilating their joy of learning, their spontaneity, their pride of achievement, their pleasure of creating, their sense of self. Such beautiful keen little learners did not deserve to be treated this way. I later figured that I had been inwardly toying with the ‘revolutionary’ views of a set of identifiable thought provocateurs – my next-door thinking principal who kept asking me, “Why are you doing that??”, John Goodlad, Bill Bassett [‘Each One is Different’], Lady Plowden, Rosenthall & Jacobsen, John Holt [‘How Children Learn’ & ‘How Children Fail’], Sylvia Ashton-Warner, Nuffield Foundation [‘I Do & I Understand’] and others, whose arresting thoughts I had resisted for too long. I was a dyed-in-the-wool testucator. I needed a cerebral rebore, a reality check.

It was sheer bloody mindlessness that had made me what I was….a crazy, test-focussed principal, more conscious of scaling hierarchical ladders and pleasing superiors than of child welfare. I had become a sadistic, routinised clod deliberately avoiding self-examination. I did as I was bid. I felt so ashamed when I started to think how damaging test-based processes of schooling can be to the well-springs of learning. More personally damaging was the thoughtlessness that had invaded my professional attitude.

It was Erik Erikson who said, “The most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child’s spirit.” Until May, 1968, I had been acting like the present-day NAPLAN test-crazy ogres, mutilating the spirit of positive learning.

The amount of damage now being perpetrated on young school pupils is disgusting….and more permanent, because the baddy-baddy Thought Police are better at their job than we are at ours.

“To ignore the effort to understand is to resign from the human race,” [Wayne Booth]

I believe that Australian School Principals, presently questioning their role, will resuscitate the Duty of Care that society expects of them. It will happen. School principals are the guardians of our children’s learning processes and of our nation’s future, after all….not the Billionaires Club. The thoughtless inanities of the past 5 years are coming to an end. Keeping secrets from parents, children vomiting, not sleeping and crying, extra-coaching, performance enhancing medications are not part of a true learning environment.

Sadly, those addicted to the Murdoch spell, the NAPLAN freaks, will want to modify tests; and help him to maintain the on-line program and test material – the for-profit publishing components of testing. The floggings will still continue. Kids will still cry .

The supply of gas to the ovens cannot be adjusted. It still kills. It has to be turned OFF if healthy progress is to be returned to the victims and their families.

Hang in there, good teacher buddies. Grit will replace easy compliance. It won’t be long before we can stop the mutilation of the learning spirit of our wonderful kids. We’ve done enough damage for five looong years.


Think about it.

Phil Cullen, 41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point 2486 07 5524 6443


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