Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Same old

To continue a theme for this week…

Those who expected Barack Obama to be the anti-war candidate he (kind of) ran as, have to be disappointed with the news leak that Bush’s Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, will continue in that position for at least a year. When you add that info to the news that his National Security Adviser will be a Marine general, and his National Intelligence Director will be another Navy admiral, it’s difficult to conclude anything other than that the military industrial complex remains in charge.

The permanent government doesn’t change.

Of course, it’s always possible that, as some progressive observers have postulated, Obama is just smarter than the rest of us, and that what he’s pulling here is some kind of political aikido, using his opponents’ strength against them and working for change from the inside (he is, after all, the first African American to get himself elected president—possibly an impossible task for an unabashed progressive). But I doubt it. It’s the system that rules. Politics is the art of the possible, and what is possible in this system of corporate democracy is very narrow indeed.

Maybe a shift of a few yards across the fifty-yard line is the only “change” we can really believe in—nothing else is possible.

Along these lines, my recommendation for today’s reading is Frida Berrigan’s article at www.tomdispatch.com, “Who rules the Pentagon?” Unfortunately, I think the headline is misleading, because she doesn’t really answer the question directly. But she does provide a sickening overview of how much control the military industrial complex actually exercises over our nominal “democracy,” not to mention our national budget priorities (an important element, under the present economic circumstances).

She also confirms that, under an Obama presidency, it’s very unlikely that there will be any kind of a “peace dividend.”

Meet the new boss.

1 comment:

Jim D said...

Can ignorance be taught? “You betcha!” We paint historic figures in bold images of red, white and blue, then gloss over ignoble acts with noble causes. When we strip away the layers of varnish the luster fades. Columbus becomes a thief and murderer, Jamestown an assortment of lazy opportunists who resorted to cannibalism then succumbed to starvation. Our founding fathers belonged to an elitist class that owned slaves (cheap labor). They were more concerned with the disruption of commerce and high taxes than human rights. When it came down to the fighting they deferred the dying to the poor through paid conscription.

Education took an ominous direction when corporate America took charge by setting up a public education system in the 19th Century. The beginning of the de-education of America. It took root in 1859 with a desire of mill owners in the town of Lowell, Massachusetts to create a factory-like system of education, to manipulate and manage the malleable masses, creating a more compliant and easily controlled work force. The Board of Education explained it this way: “The owners of factories are more concerned than other classes and interested in the intelligence of our laborers. When the latter are well-educated and the former are disposed to deal justly, controversies and strikes can never occur, nor can the minds of the masses be prejudiced by demagogues and controlled by temporary and factious considerations.” In Joel Spring’s book "Education and the Rise of the Corporate State", he reasons, “The development of a factory-like system in the Nineteenth Century schoolroom was not accidental.” In the Twentieth Century William Bagley’s "Classroom Management" became the standard teacher’s training text reprinted thirty times. Bagley stated, “One who studies educational theory aright can see in the mechanical routine of the classroom the educative forces that are slowly transforming the child from a little savage into a creature of law and order, fit for the life of civilized society.” This is a system that promotes ignorance through education in an attempt to produce a never questioning society only fit to be the drones of a capitalistic system. “Just another brick in the wall.” The mind must be freed from dogmatic principles to escape the trinity of church, state and capitalistic control.