How "a good education" sustains and perpetuates social and political challenges in the US
I got on KBOO this morning with Scott Forster (spelling?) and got a minute or so to plug portland.indymedia and bring up the problem of propaganda and thought control in our educational system, reaching perhaps 50,000 listeners. I figured it might be good to provide a few links and excerpts from Noam Chomsky, whom I was able to mention as having a facetious attitude towards those with "a good education." There's also a link to an overview of "the propaganda model" and, last but not least, John Taylor Gatto's excelling distillation of institutional education itself in his online book on the history of u.s. education.
Hoo, boi, lots of problems trying to post this on indy this morning! All kinds of hurdles, from just getting into the indy publisher page to my web-browser saying it "can't connect to the server" while doing exactly that on other tabs at the same time! Well, persistence is fertile! (see bottom for detail)
I figured a bunch of quotes would do the job, so...
"...there is no design, no conspiracy. Through a complex and subtle process, certain ideas and ways of looking at the world are promoted and come to find their way into our heads. This is a sort of negative thought control - we are controlled as much by what is not there, as by what is. It is not that we are prevented from choosing business-unfriendly facts and ideas, we just never encounter them and so assume they do not exist. Children are not forced to choose from a wide range of careers within the one corporate system; they are not deliberately brainwashed into believing that this is freedom. They are convinced that they are making a free choice because society functions in such a way that they are unaware of alternatives. Moreover, they are unaware that they are unaware, so that the options confronting them seem to be 'just how life is'.
"Children are trained to defer to experts, to repeat what they are told by learned authorities, and to suppress their own doubts and independent conclusions. As children and adults rise up the educational and career ladder they are selected for obedience and subservience (such as the willingness, for example, to put aside reservations and do as they are told for the sake of career advancement). Winners are intelligent and free-thinking, but only within certain parameters."
"...the world that cannot make sense because it cannot address the real issues. Marr is not a liar and he is not a crude propagandist; he is the unwitting product of a system that selects for the ability to talk intelligently and convincingly about anything and everything, so long as it is not genuinely costly to [coercive] power. The crucial factor is that individuals are able to do this sincerely and with the firm conviction that what they are saying is the uncompromised, freely-expressed truth. This, in the end, is the real genius of the modern system of thought control-it is very subtle, invisible, and its greatest victims are often not the deceived but the deceivers themselves. (source: http://www.chomsky.info/onchomsky/1998----.htm (just as typed here) in "Where Egos Dare" by David Edwards --commenting on a mainline media interview by a distinguished BBC reporter with Noam Chomsky)
Noam Chomsky: "Throughout history it's been mostly the property holders or the educated classes who've tended to support power systems. And that's a large part of what I think education is—it's a form of indoctrination. You have to reconstruct a picture of the world in order to be conducive to the interests and concerns of the educated classes, and this involves a lot of self-deceit.
Robert Trivers: So you're talking about self-deception in at least two contexts. One is intellectuals who, in a sense, go through a process of education which results in a self-deceived organism who is really working to serve the interests of the privileged few without necessarily being conscious of it at all. The other thing is these massive industries of persuasion and deception, which, one can conceptualize, are also inducing a form of either ignorance or self-deception in listeners, where they come to believe that they know the truth when in fact they're just being manipulated.
So let me ask you, when you think about the leaders—let's say the present set of organisms that launched this dreadful Iraq misadventure—how important is their level of self-deception? We know they launched the whole thing in a swarm of lies, the evidence for which is too overwhelming to even need to be referred to now. My view is that their deception leads to self-deception very easily.
NC: I agree, though I'm not sure they launched it with lies, and it's perfectly possible they believed it.
NC: I mean, they had a goal—we don't have a detailed record, but from the record we have, it's as if they sort of cherry-picked and coerced intelligence to yield evidence that would contribute to that goal.
NC: And anything that conflicted with it was just tossed out. In fact people were tossed out—like the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."
Source: Discussion with Noam Chomsky and Robert Trivers
Salon Seed, September 6, 2006
"You and everybody else has read Animal Farm, I'm sure, but you and everybody else hasn't read the introduction to Animal Farm. There's a good reason for that: because it was suppressed. The introduction was found 30 years later in Orwell's own published papers. The introduction to Animal Farm says look this book is a satire on a totalitarian state but I'm going to talk about England, Free England. In Free England it's not that different. Without state coercion unpopular ideas can be suppressed and are. And then he described how. He didn't go in much details but he said partly it's because the press is owned by wealthy men who have every reason not to want certain ideas to be expressed. But the more important reason, he said, was because of a good education. By the time you've gone through, you know, Oxford and Cambridge and here you could say Harvard and Princeton and so on, and even less fancy places, you have instilled into you the understanding that there are certain things that just wouldn't do to say, and that's what a good deal of education is. So the people who come out of it - and there are many filters, if people go off and try to be too critical there are many ways of discouraging them or eliminating them one way or the other. Some get through, it's not a uniform story. There are plenty of journalists with integrity and honesty. And many of them, some personal friends, will give a much harsher picture of the media than I do, because they have to live with it. But the basic points that Orwell made are fundamentally correct. The more educated you are the more indoctrinated you are. And you believe you are being free and objective, whereas in fact you're just repeating state propaganda."
Source: On Fake News and Other Societal Woes
Noam Chomsky interviewed by Irene
NoOne's Listening, December 7, 2005
Info about "the propaganda model":
The Propaganda Model: An Overview
Excerpted from Private Planet, 2002
Another important source on "a good education":
John Taylor Gatto's online book on the history of education:
Detail of my web browser saying it can't connect:
[Web browser] can't open the page " link to portland.indymedia.org because it could not connect to the server "portland.indymedia.org".
Service Temporarily Unavailable
The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.
HTTP Status 500 -
type Exception report
description The server encountered an internal error () that prevented it from fulfilling this request.
note The full stack trace of the root cause is available in the Apache Tomcat/5.5 logs.
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