While discussing on the underlying attitudes developed through Non Formal Education, often appears the questioning about the use of NFE in promoting as well values completely opposed to the ones we defend.
Is then possible to use Non Formal Education as a tool for the Totalitarian Regimes?
My answer will be… probably not.
Why do I believe so?
Despite the common belief, NFE is not only about using a set of methods, but it is defined as a junction of methods, methodologies, setting, structural and methodological features. Moreover NFE develops attitudes (does not “teach” values).
Analysing some examples of Totalitarian regimes, we will put the best known cases from the 30’s in Europe, a related feature of these totalitarian regimes (Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, Fascist Italy and Spain… you can contribute with many other cases) was its anti-intellectualism.
The Nazis carried the revolt against reason to the most extreme point when they shouted, “We think with our blood.” Stalin also took delight in humiliating intellectuals, and Mussolini exiled many of Italy’s best minds (the famous sentence “Mussolini is always right!”… ultimatelly proved wrong). In Spain a fascist general even proclaimed “Death to the intelligence!”
In these regimes, such virtues as conformity, belief, obedience, loyalty, and the merging of the self in the system were considered more important than the ability to think – the leader and the party would do that. No one was supposed to question the direction of public policy or its underlying ideology.
The underlying NFE values are intrinsically based on the development of the personal attitudes such as autonomy, critical thinking, responsibility… social attitudes and Ethical values.
Apparently these are specially contraindicated for manipulation of masses…