During the reign of Adolf Hitler, his regime formed the Nazi Youth. Besides indoctrinating them with his fascist ideas, Germany’s youth were taught to report anything and everything about their family, friends and neighbors. Many kids turned their parents, siblings and best friends in to the Gestapo. Families, friendships and neighborhoods were torn asunder due to the youth programs and using them to spy on the nation.
A recent report out of Great Britain reveals that school kids are being encouraged to turn in anyone that has not paid their taxes or who in general are not paying their way in society. If the children learned of anyone, including their own parents, who had not paid their taxes, they were to report it to their teacher who in turn would notify the authorities.
H.M. Revenue and Customs is the equivalent of our Internal Revenue Service. They have developed an educational module to be used in secondary schools. This just happens to be the same age group that Hitler’s Youth targeted. The modules include videos, facts, games and quizzes to “help make teaching financial capacity and citizenship issues relevant and engaging”.
In one particular module, geared for ages 14-16, it teaches the students to “Discuss whether it is good to pay the tax we do, considering the benefits we receive. If it is good, then why do people try not to pay?”
The teacher is then instructed to teach about tax evasion in which the students are asked if they know about any incidents of tax evasion in their neighborhoods.
HMRC officials claim that they are not using the program to collect information on possible tax evaders, but a number of people have questioned their denial. In the eyes of many, the module has similarities to how the Hitler Youth convinced teenagers to inform on those around them.
In some ways, America’s public school system already uses students to report on their families and friends in a number of areas. I recall hearing from one parent who had the police and child services show up at the door one day. Her son had told a friend that his mom beat him every day when he got home. Before the matter could be cleared up, her son and daughter were removed from her house and placed in a foster home. The mom was charged with child abuse.
After nearly a month, it turns out that her son and his friend were talking about playing basketball and the son told the friend that he and his mom played every day when he got home from school and she beats him every time. Another student overheard part of the conversation and then reported it to the teacher who in turn reported it to authorities.
Seventy years ago, the Americans were appalled when they learned about Hitler’s Youth and how they were used to spy on family, friends and neighbors. Seventy years later, the same principle is being taught in the schools of Great Britain and here in the United States. Why aren’t we appalled this time? Because as a society, we have fallen that far into moral decay.