This is part 1 of a lengthy, highly provovative article illustrating in explicit detail my thoughts on how America's inferior education system made the Great Recession not only a foregone conclusion of indoctrinated GroupThink, but prevents a true recovery from recovery due to the abject fear of price clearing. You may need to put your thinking caps on and exercise some patience and restraint with this one. I am going to follow it up with an explcit example of said groupthink by going against the conventional grain (yet again) and pointing out what many in the mainstream consider to be the most likely threat to economic prosperity in 2012 (and no, Iran is not even in the running on this one). I blame indoctrinated GroupThink for the inability of Wall Street to see the excessive coniferous expanse due to treebark blindness! Until the next post, though...
Dubois Speaks Through Me
The problem is plain before you. Here is a situation transplanted through the criminal foolishness of those gifted and/or empowered with the productive assets created and cultivated by our fathers. Whether you like it or not this country constitutes hundreds of millions of the diverse plethora that is America. They are already here, and here they will remain. If you do not enable the mechanisms that allow them to lift themselves up (versus the socialistic path of trying to lift all up), they will simply pull you down. Access to (and not the socialistic gifting of) productive assets (wealth) and knowledge, combined with the teaching of individuals to build strength of character are the means to which accomplish this.
Physical and/or mental labor (the staple of the working class) alone will not do it unless inspired by the right ideals and guided by intelligence and knowledge. Academic education alone will do little, for look at many of our brothers and sisters who are highly degreed, yet have a lower standard of living, lower general level of happiness and less inflation adjusted net wealth than their parents despite living in a age that fosters greater access to technology and resources. Successful education must not simply teach work, or instruct one on how to labor for the capitalist oligarchy — it must teach Life.
The Truly Talented of this country who are not extant members of the oligarchy must be made leaders of thought and missionaries of culture. No others can (or will honestly) do this work. We must train agents for in the education system – for the existing oligarchy not only benefits from the teaching of labor/work as the embodiment of success, but cannot truly exist without such for it is cheap labor that enables the oligarchy to amass disproportionate wealth at the expense of the working class - literally profiting off of the backs of others. To be honest, this is the way of capitalism. It is understandable and acceptable, but only to the point to which those laborers willingly accept their position. Once it comes to the point of attempting to force said laborers into their laborious positions through duplicity and guile, we not only foster the misallocation of valuable American resources (human, social and economic) but we squander what could be sown and fostered to make America a better and more competitive country, thus putting the great empire at risk of collapse for the betterment of the very few. America, like all great establishments, was created, and is going to be saved by its exceptional heroes – or collapsed due to the lack thereof!
W.E.B. Du Bois, 1903 channeled through Reggie Middleton 2012
The Challenge to Our Schools, Educators, and Parents
What America needs now is a system of education that does not simply teach academics and create a slave army of rule followers. We need to teach rule breakers and rule makers. We need to teach charisma. This is how leaders are made, while a focus on pure academics is how followers are groomed. We have to teach our children about life, and the world around us. We need to teach them how the world actually works, and test these teachings in the real world regularly in order to “mark our curriculum to market”. In this fashion, if any of our teachings are false or too theoretical, their failings in the world marketplace will allow us to correct course before our students are ruined by a pile of irrelevant academia, or even worse – flat out erroneous information and false knowledge.
Unfortunately, from pre-school to the higher echelons of ivory tower academia, I fear this is where we are right now - our students are being ruined by a pile of irrelevant academia, or even worse – flat out erroneous information and false knowledge.
These precepts may appear somewhat applicable to children of all socio-economic stratification levels (social classes), though they are particularly endemic to those in the lower rungs, which prevents the social mobility that is needed to keep this country fresh, alive, vibrant and competitive.
I envision an educational system that articulates a clear philosophy on the proper behavior of American children: "to teach them delicately a code of honor and action in their relation with other children and adults of different backgrounds; to turn their hurts and resentments into emulations, ambition and love of their own environments and companions; to point out the best amusements and joys and worth-while things of life; to inspire them to prepare for definite pursuits of wealth AND social accomplishment, not merely jobs, occupations, or careers, and to conduct these duties with a broad spirit of philanthropic sacrifice".
I pray you, tell me, is this what you were taught in school? Is this what your children are being taught in school?
At the very least, have as the base of every academic curriculum:
- The current application of popular and nascent technologies
- The definition, meaning, and pursuit of wealth
- Class consciousness
- Philanthropy – what it is, and how it furthers one’s cause
- Legacy building and the 100 Year Plan – the creation of immortality: perpetuating one’s family, family ideology, wealth, and knowledge through a minimum of 5 generations.
- Modern Politics and Power Structure – what is powerful, who is powerful, and why? How did they get their? How to replace them?
- Geo-political structures and power flows – What is the world, who’s in it, and where you stand in the grand scheme of things.
In DuBois’ missive claiming that the advancement of Blacks depended on the training of exceptional men who would lead the masses, (academic) education was prioritized. I’m confident that he erred in this assessment, although in his time it appeared as if he came to a logical, if erroneous conclusion. DuBois assumed that (academic) education was the primary cause of wealth and power in the US. I have found this to be less than accurate. There is a link between education and socio-economic success, but that link is less defined and more tenuous than DuBois realized. If academic education (as was and currently is consumed by the masses) was the primary goal to pursue, it is painfully obvious today that it is but a tertiary goal. Wealth, followed by motivated class consciousness are the two goals that, if achieved will uplift those captured in the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder of success.
So, What is the Single Biggest Failing of Today’s Education System Curriculum???
This article assumes that parents send their children to school to better themselves through education. If that is truly the case, then please heed what follows.
The Power Elite documented the social backgrounds and career trajectories of the people who occupied the highest posts in what the sociologist, C. Wright Mills saw as the institutional hubs of power in postwar America: the corporations, the executive branch of the federal government, and the military. While many of his contemporaries were busy singing the praises of pluralism in what they perceived to be a relatively classless society, Mills, less sanguine, dismissed as absurd the idea that there was no elite. Those who believed otherwise were uninformed or deluding themselves (and others) typically for self-serving reasons.
Having confirmed the existence of a “ruling stratum,” Mills proceeded to describe the characteristics of the people involved in decisions of national consequence.
He found the members of the power elite had strikingly similar social origins. They fruitfully used vast resources and insular social ties to move across the three institutional hierarchies in both formal and informal capacities (references to the alumni of the Great Vampire Squid are nigh impossible to avoid).
Once again, the giant financial firm lives up to its reputation as “the vampire squid.” The Muckety database includes 697 once-removed connections from Goldman to other Fortune 1000 firms. The map above shows links of Goldman Sachs directors. Click the graphic to access the Muckety DB.
The result was (and in my oh so humble opinion, still is) a robust web of entitlement. Mills concluded that the high and mighty at mid-century were almost all Christian white males who mostly came from the “upper third of the income and occupational pyramids.” Their fathers were “at least of the professional and business strata, and very frequently higher than that.”
The circle remained exclusive because real influence, for Mills, was located not in individuals (where it should be for that would release true creative and productive energies from said individual into greater society), but in their access to the “command of major institutions…the necessary bases of power, of wealth, and of prestige.”
Simply put, the powerful can and do make use of their resources to set favorable terms by which to safeguard their position at the top. C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (New York: Oxford University Press, 1956), 9.
On the uninformed: “In America today there are in fact tiers and ranges of wealth and power of which people in the middle and lower ranks know very little and may not even dream.” The Power Elite, 12. On the perspective of elites about their own motives: “American men of power tend, by convention, to deny that they are powerful. No American runs for office in order to rule or even govern, but only to serve….Nowadays, such postures have become standard features of the public-relations programs of all men of power.”
If you cannot wait for the rest to be published on ZH, you can preview parts two and three on my site now and part 4 and 5 will be published soon.