Updated: Apr 14
In the run-up to the 2020 election, and in the midst of an impeachment campaign to unseat its President, it’s no secret that much of the civilized world is laughing at the United States of America.
So, what’s wrong with that?
Nothing if your business is being a clown; but everything if you purport to be the leading nation and role model for the Free World while wielding the most fearsome war machine that history has ever experienced.
In fact, it has everything to do with role models. The official role model for women and girls in the USA today is Melania Trump (see www.francescorizzuto.com/post/first-lady-of-porn). The role model for young men is Donald ‘Grab-em-by-the-pussy’ Trump. I won’t go into the whys and wherefores of this deplorable situation, but it’s pretty clear that the country has finally gotten the government it deserves. After all, America is a democracy. A significant percentage of its voters, as well as the venerable old Electoral College, has selected these two individuals – let’s call them Individual 1 and Individual 1.1 – as their best and brightest.
Individual 1 boasts a BS degree in economics with a major in Real Estate. Bachelor of Real Estate? In most honest folks’ minds, the semi-profession of real estate equates with uncontrolled development, sleazy business practices, political corruption, a complete and total absence of concern for the civil, cultural or natural environments, and lack of ethics or even morals, a more or less accurate description of America itself: a society predicated on racism, bigotry and greed. Trump's real education, like that of many of the country's major figures, came on the knee of his KKK-enamoured, tax-evading billionaire father, Fred Trump, and the despicable, disbarred mob lawyer Roy Cohen. Nonetheless, the American people elevated Individual 1 to the highest office in the land without his having had any education or previous experience whatsoever in government, except for suing that same government. The rest, of course, is current history.
But let's get back on topic. In today’s business environment, a bachelor’s degree won’t even get you through the front door. You need at least a master’s or even a double master’s in, say, real estate, tourism, or any other of the ridiculous areas of study having nothing whatever to do with knowledge or wisdom. In past centuries, universities were repositories of knowledge and culture, temples as it were. But like everything else in the USA, almost all educational institutions have become engines for generating profit, money spinners chaired and run by MBA’s who couldn’t care less about philosophy or the course of history even as we make it.
There is an explanation for how these despicable people got elected to high office, as well as a reason why the USA is in such an overwhelmingly sorry state. Decades of poor-quality education have resulted in a people who understand the price of everything but recognize the value of nothing, which is exactly what our institutions teach and what our government wants. As Adolph Hitler observed back in the 1930’s: “How lucky for governments that people don’t think.” How lucky for the Trump Gang that Americans have lost (or maybe never had) the ability to think. Malicious ignorance is far more attractive from a political standpoint than an educated and informed populace. To date, the President has spewed out over 12 thousand lies and his base has swallowed every last one.
Practically everything the concerned reader needs to know is contained in an excellent article on the subject by John Stanton (https://www.globalresearch.ca/america-education-system-teaching-price-everything-value-nothing/5694054). While I don’t agree with all the points raised in the article, I do subscribe to the theme that America’s education system is fatally flawed and urgently needs an overhaul if the country is to recover its leadership role in the modern world. Then maybe the rest of the world will stop laughing.
It's not that America doesn't have a taxpayer-funded, mandatory education system for its children, as well as an established pay-as-you-go, for-profit university network available to both rich and poor (if you're up for years of student loan debt). Nonetheless, its main instrument of public education is not the schools; it's the mass media. Again, referring back to the 1930's, Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, observed: "It would not have been possible for us to take power or to use it in the ways we have without the radio...". Not only do Americans have the radio, they have television and the internet disseminating misinformation and hatred at a volume and flow rate that objectivist reason can never match. Why? Because money buys media coverage.
Americans across the political spectrum get their information not from reading books or scanning the editorial pages of major newspapers but from the electronic media. Much of the current generation of voters spent more time playing violent video games than they did poring over their homework during the years they did attend classes. To these folks - what Trump calls his 'base' - news is equated with entertainment, emphasizing what the Roman poet Juvenal cynically quipped for posterity way back in the 1st century: "Panem et circuses...Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses."
What the poet meant by bread and circuses is an entertainment industry preserving the status quo of Roman society by distracting a poorly educated common people.
So let's go to the mass media - Juvenal's entertainment industry - for insight on America's crisis in education and the sorry political situation in which the country finds itself.
"...An asymmetric relationship with knowledge producing institutions." Caroline Orr (medium.com/@RVAwonk) neatly places the entire argument into a nutshell. Juvenal would have smiled.
Back in the 1990’s, during an emotion-charged meeting with a high school principal, I argued that we didn’t send our children to school to be bullied or defend themselves with fists and weapons. We expected - indeed, demanded - a non-threatening environment that was conducive to learning. At the time, my oldest son was in hospital with a stab wound 3 inches deep and 1 inch from his heart. It was the month before graduation; nonetheless and despite a long surgery and hospital stay, he graduated on the high achievement list. Now in his thirties, the boy is a successful businessman, while the younger brother he was defending at the time of the attack has become a prominent criminal defence lawyer.
My expectation, as I further explained to the principal, was that children would learn to be critical, analytical, and make their own decisions, preparing them to accept the consequences of those decisions. To my mind, this was the whole thrust and purpose of education.
It is, and has always been, my view that the negative impact on the world by this increasingly renegade Administration can only be mitigated by first recognizing that education is the driver behind our decisions and everything we do, both individually and collectively. In a politically charged environment where quality education is available only to the rich in whose interest it is to maintain the status quo, there can be no alternative to Individual 1 and Individual 1.1.
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