Maria Montessori, a bright and in many ways a decent women, is also an icon to Sinisterists. The term “Sinisterist” includes not only the crazy Left, but those who are actually on the Left but pretend to be something different from the Left.
Maria Montessori, a bright and in many ways a decent women, is also an icon to Sinisterists. The term “Sinisterist” includes not only the crazy Left, but those who are actually on the Left but pretend to be something different from the Left. The life – or rather the politically correct and false life of Maria Montessori – illustrates this perfectly. Montessori introduced an educational system that embraced questioning, particularly questioning the value systems of the Judeo-Christian West. She ended her life as a pacifist committed to deconstruction of traditional values, but she was world famous by 1920. Surely the most interesting part of her life, however, are those years about which nothing is said (except in my new book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Life.) Why is more than a decade of her life utterly hidden? Because it demonstrates dramatically that there is no “Far Right,” but only a “Far Left” which includes Fascists, Marxists, Nazis, Baathists and all the other evil people of the world.
Here are the facts that Sinisterists hide. Benito Mussolini met with Montessori, provided her schools with state funds, joined the Montessori Society in Fascist Italy, became the leading advocate of the Montessori Method, and recommended it to other dictators. Benito Mussolini was one of the most prolific and expert writer among the political leaders of the Twentieth Century (his Fascism, and his earlier writing, Marxism, were, of course, full of bad ideas, but he wrote volumes and wrote them well.) At different times in his life up to his meeting with Montessori, he had simultaneously edited two different Marxist periodicals - Avanti! and Utopia - and he had founded and edited the Fascist periodical Il Popolo d’Italia.
Maria Montessori, like Benito Mussolini, was well read and had traveled around the world for decades before accepting Mussolini almost as soon as he came to power. She was in her early fifties when she chatted with Mussolini and she knew precisely what she was embracing. Montessori moved to Italy the year that Mussolini became Premier of Italy in 1922. Two years after taking power, when Mussolini had largely established his Fascist dictatorship, Mussolini asked to meet with Montessori. The results of the meeting were the first official recognition and widespread establishment of Montessori’s system by the Italian government.
The Fascist government incorporated the Montessori Society and provided it with funds to operate, so that by the summer of 1924 there were Montessori schools throughout Italy that completely applied the Montessori Method of teaching and by the spring of 1925, it was so officially supported by the Fascists that Mussolini said people who objected to the Montessori Method of education “display their own ignorance.” In February 1926, Maria Montessori was personally given control over the six month training course established in Milan for Italian teachers and Mussolini himself accepted the honorary presidency of the course and in June 1926, Mussolini donated 10,000 lire of his own money for the support of the Montessori Society in Italy.
The same year Montessori was made an honorary member of the Fascist Party and in March 1927 Montessori was given a private audience with Mussolini, who expressed continued support for her work and interest in her successes in other nations. A month after that meeting, the Fascist government requested that the City of Rome establish a Montessori training school and the Fascist Minister of Education publicly tied Fascism and the Montessori Method. In December 1927, Mussolini prepared for the establishment of a training college for teachers in the Montessori Method. By 1929, the Fascist government had not only the training college, the Montessori Society, the periodical L’Idea Montessori, but also over seventy government supported infant and elementary schools in Fascist Italy - all under the control of Montessori.
International periodicals noted the growth of the Montessori Method in Italy among Italian women in social service organizations. Montessori had been running the Italian public education system for five years at this point and living happily in Fascist Italy for seven years. Going into the year 1930, what was the relationship between Maria Montessori and Fascism? There was such enthusiasm that the Fascist government planned an international Montessori training course in Rome, and the Fascist government was making the Montessori Method something not only promulgated by the Ministry of Education, but the Foreign Ministry as well, and the Fascists were boasting that theirs was the first government to embrace and to support the Montessori Method in schools.
In June 1931, Maria Montessori in Rome gave her international Montessori course not only to students throughout Italy, but to students from all over Europe and Latin America and a first issue of Revista Montessori, a new Montessori review, was published in Rome. In spite of the fact that all teachers and professors were required to take an oath of loyalty to Fascism in 1931, Maria Montessori stayed on as the director of the Montessori Method, which was now essentially mandatory in Fascist Italy. She invited Austrian educators to Rome in 1932 to assist Montessori in her work. As late as 1934, the Fascists were supporting Maria Montessori, and Mussolini offered to appoint her as “Ambassador of Children.” The International Montessori Conference was being planning in Rome. The Montessori Method was practiced in neighboring Austria, where the Fascists were suppressing the Nazis, but it was largely through the support of Dr. Ernst Bushbeck, himself a Nazi, who toured Montessori schools sympathetically with a Swastika armband, that the Montessori schools in Austria were able to stay open from 1934 to 1938.
But in 1934, this world famous physician and educator, who was in her fifties and had been practical dictator of educational method in Fascist Italy for almost a decade and an intimate of Benito Mussolini since 1924, discovered that Fascism was a brutal totalitarian system not compatible with the Montessori Method. Surely these years were the most historically fascinating parts of her life, yet E.M. Standing, in his lengthy Mentor biography of Montessori, says virtually nothing about it at all. Fascinating. George Orwell, call your office.
Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a regular contributor to WebCommentary, Conservative Truth, American Daily, Enter Stage Right, Intellectual Conservative, NewsByUs and MenÕs News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.