Attention those who support or oppose a non dual teacher strike. I empathize with all of those who are involved or affected by this event. While blame is cast back and forth on individuals and groups, the root cause remains hidden. The root cause is neither a human being nor a group of people. It’s something that has existed throughout human history. An accepted aspect of our culture that we inherited and now must abandon if we want to meet the needs of teachers and students more effectively.

The Trigger

It may seem overly simple, but simple things can lead to large complex problems. Consider the butterfly effect. If you travel far back in time and accidentally wound a butterfly, you could hypothetically change the course of evolution. So don’t underestimate a simple trigger. The trigger that caused this conflict and animosity between teachers and their opponents is simply “aggression.”

Aggression Defined

By “aggression” I mean the initiation of force, threat of force or fraud.

By “force” I mean imposing physical force against someone else or against their justly acquired property. Example: I make a painting. A criminal then attacks me, kicks a whole through my painting or rips it out of my hands.

By “threat of force” I mean intentionally communicating to others that you will use force against them if they don’t comply. Example: “Hand over your painting, or I’ll hurt you, I’ll hurt those you love, or I’ll damage or steal your property.”

By “fraud” I mean fooling someone into giving something up. Example: telling an artist, “If you paint a portrait for me, I’ll pay you $200.” Then once they deliver the portrait, you tell them to go jump in a lake.

By “initiating” I mean starting or escalating the conflict. Example: if a woman is walking down the street minding her own business, I don’t have the right to start a conflict by punching her in the kidneys. If my friend pokes me for fun, I don’t have the right to escalate the conflict by swinging an axe at his head.

Hopefully we can agree that aggression (according to these definitions) is bad behavior. Unfortunately there are job descriptions that instruct people to use aggression against others. These job descriptions include those for the police, IRS, your local Department of Revenue, FBI, CIA, secret service, military, etc. Once again, I’m not attacking the people involved in these professions. I’m simply making observations about the system of institutionalized aggression that they and all of us were born into.

What does all this have to do with teachers strikes? Well let’s consider how aggression affects the teachers’ students and their families.

Aggression Against Families

Those who collect taxes use aggression to force families to pay for the public school system. If families don’t comply, they are compelled to pay more money in the form of fees, if they still don’t comply, their homes may be taken from them. If they resist, they may be arrested and locked in prison, if they resist imprisonment, they may be killed.

Of course it’s rare to hear of such violence because most families cave under the initial threat. But this threat, “pay for the public school system or face fines and imprisonment,” is the aggression that plants the seeds of animosity and triggers the chain of events that ultimately lead to the conflicts we see today between teachers and their opponents.

Aggression Against Poor Families

Poor families are also forced to pay for public school whether they realize it or not. Even if some of them don’t pay personal income tax or property tax directly, they still pay. Public services are funded by local and federal taxation and by creating new money. These costs are passed to consumers which include poor families.

For example, sales tax is paid by consumers (including poor families) when they purchase products. The cost of business taxes on products, services, licenses, property, etc. are passed to consumers (including poor families) via higher prices. When the Fed and federal government create new money and spend it, the resulting inflation increases prices for consumers (including poor families), lowers the value of money in the pockets of poor people, and greatly increases their cost of living. In fact, this ever-increasing cost of living is one major reason many of them are still poor.

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