Malleable Minds Fit for an Affirmative State Designed to Meet Needs and Constrain the Ruled

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We actu­al­ly do not have to infer what kinds of minds and per­son­al­i­ties and beliefs are suit­able for these new visions of tomor­row. One advo­cate telling­ly used this quote from Napoleon that “There are but two pow­ers in the world, the sword, and the mind. In the long run the sword is always beat­en by the mind.” That real­i­ty is very galling for many pow­er­ful peo­ple so they now have nation­al­ized and glob­al­ized K-12 ‘reforms’ to extin­guish that very capac­i­ty. Since we would rebel if we actu­al­ly under­stood what was intend­ed, we keep get­ting a sales pitch about ‘human flour­ish­ing’ in so many of these blue­prints. As James Madi­son pre­scient­ly observed “a peo­ple who mean to be their own Gov­er­nors, must arm them­selves with the pow­er which knowl­edge gives.”

I want to detour for a minute back to the Deep­en­ing Democ­ra­cy paper from the Real Utopias Project because they kind­ly laid out new ” trans­for­ma­tive demo­c­ra­t­ic strate­gies” for the “Affir­ma­tive State” at all lev­els to use to qui­et­ly, but per­sis­tent­ly, “advance our tra­di­tion­al values–egalitarian social jus­tice, indi­vid­ual lib­er­ty [in the sense of hav­ing gov­ern­ments meet everyone’s basic needs] com­bined with pop­u­lar con­trol over col­lec­tive deci­sions, com­mu­ni­ty and sol­i­dar­i­ty, and the flour­ish­ing of indi­vid­u­als in ways that enable them to real­ize their poten­tials.”

Remem­ber Michael Ful­lan specif­i­cal­ly tied the exper­i­men­tal New Ped­a­go­gies and Deep Learn­ing in the Glob­al Part­ner­ship to the “broad­er idea of human flour­ish­ing?” What we have going on is the mar­ry­ing of the meth­ods of the Human Poten­tial psy­cho­log­i­cal focus to the polit­i­cal and social ends that track back to Uncle Karl with­out any­one want­i­ng to ‘fess up’ as we South­ern­ers would say.

All the K-12 edu­ca­tion reforms I have tracked, as well as high­er ed and increas­ing­ly grad schools, are all tied to stealth­ily pur­su­ing and “accom­plish­ing the cen­tral ideas of demo­c­ra­t­ic pol­i­tics: facil­i­tat­ing active polit­i­cal involve­ment of the cit­i­zen­ry, forg­ing polit­i­cal con­sen­sus through dia­logue, devis­ing and imple­ment­ing pub­lic poli­cies that ground a pro­duc­tive econ­o­my and healthy soci­ety, and in more rad­i­cal egal­i­tar­i­an ver­sions of the demo­c­ra­t­ic ide­al, assur­ing that all cit­i­zens ben­e­fit from the nation’s wealth.”

Hard not to remem­ber all those ‘You didn’t build that’ com­ments from the 2012 Pres­i­den­tial race, isn’t it? Harvard’s Kennedy School of Gov­ern­ment by the way calls this new mod­el Empow­ered Par­tic­i­pa­to­ry Gov­er­nance. I am not going to write about it in par­tic­u­lar except to point out it ties all the Met­ro­pol­i­tanism, Region­al Equi­ty, make the may­ors and the local the focus of gov­ern­ment. The Local is sup­posed to be the lay­er that meets the needs, who­ev­er pro­vides the financ­ing or specs on what those needs will be.

So when Lawrence K Gross­man and oth­ers keep hyp­ing self-gov­er­nance they are describ­ing a world where everyone’s needs have been met via the polit­i­cal process, not a person’s abil­i­ty to make their own way inde­pen­dent of gov­ern­men­tal inter­fer­ence with their deci­sions. ‘Self-gov­er­nance’ is again an Orwellian term tied to the kind of eco­nom­ic and social jus­tice and par­tic­i­pa­to­ry gov­er­nance view of democ­ra­cy that even its advo­cates above admit is quite rad­i­cal. I think that’s why its struc­tures and need­ed val­ues and beliefs frame­works are being qui­et­ly put in place through edu­ca­tion and the law with­out any desire for the typ­i­cal per­son to catch on in time. Remem­ber Gross­man was a prof at the Kennedy School while he worked on The Elec­tron­ic Repub­lic: Reshap­ing Democ­ra­cy in the Infor­ma­tion Age.

Whether we under­stood it in the 90s [remem­ber the Free­man Butts vision from the book?] or now, K-12 edu­ca­tion was and is being restruc­tured to fit with “cit­i­zens at large gain­ing the pow­er of self-gov­er­nance.” Every­one gets their basic needs met, “with the pub­lic at large play­ing a crit­i­cal role in the government’s deci­sion-mak­ing process” and few focus­ing on the pesky lit­tle detail about the cru­cial shift to a vision where “rulers are sub­ject to con­trol by the ruled.” Sim­i­lar to all those ref­er­ences to being Gov­erned, instead of the indi­vid­ual inde­pen­dent deci­sion-mak­ing pow­er Madi­son knew he had struc­tured, we are all sup­posed to set­tle for hav­ing a say, being ruled, but hav­ing our ‘needs’ met. Even then, we as indi­vid­u­als do not get to decide what our needs are. This shift we are not being told about unless we Fol­low the Doc­u­ments in the Oligarchy’s admit­ted paper trail, stems from:

the Unit­ed States is mov­ing toward a new mod­ern-day form of direct democ­ra­cy, made pos­si­ble by its com­mit­ment to uni­ver­sal polit­i­cal equal­i­ty and pro­pelled by new telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­o­gy.”

It is with­in these unap­pre­ci­at­ed dec­la­ra­tions of inten­tions to fun­da­men­tal­ly trans­form the social insti­tu­tions and func­tions of gov­ern­ment that K-12 is being rad­i­cal­ly altered to a Stu­dent-Cen­tered focus so that “the public’s abil­i­ty to receive, absorb, and under­stand infor­ma­tion no longer can be left to hap­pen­stance.” Prime the Mind and Per­son­al­i­ty to per­ceive expe­ri­ence as desired and then have the Michael Ful­lans and Michael Bar­bers of the world globe trot and insist that all edu­ca­tion now must be based on Learn­ing by Doing. All those delib­er­ate­ly cre­at­ed learn­ing expe­ri­ences to fos­ter emo­tion­al engage­ment around real-world prob­lems are just the tick­et to the Man­darins just ever so wor­ried that “today, the Amer­i­can pub­lic is going into polit­i­cal bat­tle armed with increas­ing­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed tools of elec­tron­ic deci­sion mak­ing but with­out the infor­ma­tion, polit­i­cal, orga­ni­za­tion, edu­ca­tion, or prepa­ra­tion to use these tools wise­ly.”

So we get Com­mon Core, Com­pe­ten­cy, Dig­i­tal Learn­ing, new def­i­n­i­tions of Stu­dent Achieve­ment, and Growth mea­sures that are ALL actu­al­ly the “con­scious and delib­er­ate effort to inform pub­lic judg­ment, to put the new telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nolo­gies to work on behalf of democ­ra­cy.” That would be the rad­i­cal Social and Eco­nom­ic Well­be­ing form of democ­ra­cy with its new reen­vi­sioned view of the roles and respon­si­bil­i­ties of cit­i­zen­ship. After all, as Gross­man told us: “With cit­i­zens an active branch of the gov­ern­ment in the elec­tron­ic repub­lic, they need to know enough to par­tic­i­pate in a respon­si­ble and intel­li­gent man­ner.” That’s a long way from Madison’s view of knowl­edge to be our own Gov­er­nors, but then Gross­man loves this con­cept of our being ruled. In fact, he either delib­er­ate­ly or obtuse­ly shows a dras­ti­cal­ly altered view of Amer­i­can his­to­ry and the Con­sti­tu­tion where:

the citizen’s role is not to gov­ern him­self, but at best elect those who would be most com­pe­tent to gov­ern on their behalf…The new Con­sti­tu­tion had put in place a mod­ern-day method of select­ing Plato’s Guardians.”

Can we all join in a cho­rus of No. No. No? How telling though is that mis­state­ment? I do snark­i­ly make repeat­ed ref­er­ences to yokes and serf’s col­lars and Mind Arson when it comes to describ­ing the real Com­mon Core imple­men­ta­tion. Yet here is an insid­er of insid­ers admit­ting to a desire to dic­tate what we all may do and think akin to what an ancient Greek philoso­pher saw as Benev­o­lent Despo­tism. For our own good as deter­mined by the Guardians with their tax­pay­er fund­ed salaries and pen­sions. This con­fes­sion remind­ed me a great deal of Achibu­gi also see­ing har­ness­ing pub­lic opin­ion as the mech­a­nism to get­ting to the Glob­al Com­mon­wealth of Cit­i­zens we met in the last post:

the more we learn about how to respond to and under­stand the pub­lic, the more we also increase the poten­tial to influ­ence, change, and even manip­u­late pub­lic opin­ion. In the elec­tron­ic repub­lic, polit­i­cal manip­u­la­tion is the oth­er side of the coin of effec­tive polit­i­cal per­sua­sion. What looks like manip­u­la­tive pro­pa­gan­da to one, invari­ably is seen as an hon­est edu­ca­tion­al effort to anoth­er.”

Well, hon­est if the pur­pose of edu­ca­tion is the chimera of ‘human flour­ish­ing for all’ brought to us by Rulers who see peo­ple as a bid­d­a­ble branch of gov­ern­ment in a new vision of what the future might be. Before I close this post with a quote Gross­man used from the Dean of Columbia’s School of Jour­nal­ism, that deserves a stat­ue in the Hubris Hall of Fame, I want to remind every­one that in 2010 UNESCO began using the term ‘media edu­ca­tion’ as two prongs of a sin­gle means to get to its hoped-for Marx­ist Human­ist glob­al future. They said it and wrote it and we do get to take insid­ers at their word on what they are up to when they declare nefar­i­ous inten­tions.

Now imag­ine these words not just from a Jour­nal­ism Dean but from politi­cians, think tank heads, edu­ca­tion admin­is­tra­tors, and uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sors, just to name a few:

This is the age of media pow­er. We set the agen­da. We are the car­ri­ers of the cul­ture and its values…We are the bro­kers of infor­ma­tion and ideas. Our deci­sions, our news judg­ments tell the peo­ple who they are, what they are doing, what’s impor­tant and what they need to know.”

Arro­gant, yes, but 100% con­sis­tent with the real K-12 edu­ca­tion ‘expe­ri­ence’ we are encoun­ter­ing. The vision that would be nec­es­sary to achieve these declared goals as well as the rad­i­cal glob­al democ­ra­cy vision. Plus all those ref­er­ences to being gov­erned and ruled and sov­er­eign­ty no longer being in the indi­vid­ual.

Those Aims or Goals all fit with the actu­al Com­mon Core imple­men­ta­tion described in detail in the book and the pur­pos­es, visions, and meth­ods we encounter dai­ly and week­ly now on this blog.

We can fight this, but not while we remain unaware or unwill­ing to stare down what we are indis­put­ed­ly deal­ing with in our schools and uni­ver­si­ties and vir­tu­al­ly every­where else when we look hard.