What young people learn from teachers, adults, and generals

Regarding youths clashing with the police at political protests, on 17 August, General Prayut Chan-o-cha said:

“เรียนมายังไง ใช้แต่ความรุนแรง ท้าตีท้าต่อยตำรวจ พอใช้กฎหมายก็โวยวาย”

“Is this what you learn in school? You use only violence. Challenge the police to fights. When the law is used, you complain.”

The general is correct. This is exactly what young people learn in school. It’s absolutely what they learn from adults. It’s definitely what they learn from the general.

In school, teachers solve conflicts by whipping the hands and buttocks with a stick. When teachers see hair lengths that are too long, they make students sit in a chair and force a haircut on them against their will. They tell students who have questions or criticisms to shut up and only obey authority. They allow the police on school grounds to monitor and question students who express contrary political thoughts. They threaten to deduct points or expel if students do not conform.

In society, adults teach children to use physical force to obstruct an election. Adults teach children that if things don’t go their way, the solution is to riot and commit arson and violence against persons and properties. To stalk, blow whistles, and harass all those who don’t agree with you. To call in people with guns and use force to make others conform.

From General Prayut, young people learn to use deadly weapons to seize power. They learn that those who disagree should be forced into detention camps for an attitude adjustment. They learn to cheat the system by having 250 friends taking the exam for you. They learn to abuse those who disagree with Section 112, Article 116, Computer Crime Act, and even Cleanliness Act and Loud Noise Act.

They express their anger through slingshots and firecrackers because they have learned that these are the things “good people” do:

Triumph is using weapons for power.
Victory is abusing the law for personal gains.
Winning is doing away with justice, liberty, free speech, and a fair election.

They learn the beautiful ugliness of authoritarianism.

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