Educational System Prepares Children for Serfdom

by John Kozy
Global Research
February  1, 2012

Educational systems now train workers to fulfill the needs of companies. A society in which people exist for the sake of companies is a society enslaved. But there’s a deep problem with the notion that education should equal vocational training. To paraphrase a very famous and renowned person, man does not live by work alone. Indeed, the knowledge and skills needed to earn a living in a capitalist industrial economy are of little use in human relationships, and human relationships are the core of everyone’s life. Schools devoted to vocational training provide no venue for teaching cultural differences, for trying to understand the person who lives next door or in another country. Value systems are never evaluated; alternatives are never considered. As a result, although we all live on the same planet, we do not live together. At best, we only live side by side. At worst, we live to kill each other. Education as vocational training reduces everything to ideology, our devotion to which causes us to reject the stark reality that stares us in the face, because our ideologies color the realities we see and people never get wiser than those of previous generations. People have become nothing but the monkeys of hurdy gurdy grinders, tethered to grinders’ organs with tin cups in hands to be filled for the benefit of the grinders. And this is the species we refer to as sapient. What a delusion!

For many years, I have been troubled by what I saw as the results of what passes for education in America and perhaps elsewhere too. Why is it, do you suppose, that one generation does not seem to get any smarter than the previous one? Oh, it may know more of this or that, but what it “knows” does not translate into smarts. In other words, why don’t people ever seem to get wiser? Why do they repeat the same mistakes over and over?

For centuries, an education was thought to be comprised of considerably more than one providing the skills and requirements needed to carry on a trade or profession. For instance, consider this passage:

“Education is not the same as training. Plato made the distinction between techne (skill) and episteme (knowledge). Becoming an educated person goes beyond the acquisition of a technical skill. It requires an understanding of one’s place in the world—cultural as well as natural—in pursuit of a productive and meaningful life. And it requires historical perspective so that one does not just live, as Edmund Burke said, like ‘the flies of a summer,’ born one day and gone the next, but as part of that ‘social contract’ that binds our generation to those who have come before and to those who are yet to be born.

An education that achieves those goals must include the study of what Matthew Arnold called ‘the best that has been known and said.’ It must comprehend the whole—the human world and its history, our own culture and those very different from ours. . . .”

This idea of an educated person was often summarized in the phrases, a Renaissance man, and un homme du monde. But these expressions are hardly heard any more. Educated people no longer exist. We are nothing but the monkeys of hurdy gurdy grinders, tethered to grinders’ organs with tin cups in hands to be filled for the benefit of the grinders.

“Governor Rick Snyder wants to tie retraining programs to companies’ needs . . . and encourage more Michigan residents to earn math and science degrees under an initiative aimed at making workers more competitive in the global marketplace.”

The hurdy gurdy grinder’s monkey exists for the sake of the organ grinder; Governor Snyder wants Michigan’s residents to educate themselves for the sake of companies. Workers are to fulfill companies’ needs rather than vice versa. President Obama has said similar things.

But there’s something wrong, something terribly wrong, with this picture. A society in which people exist for the sake of some non-human entity is a society enslaved. And this picture gets even more horrid with the realization that workers are expected to pay to acquire the required skills. Students are being asked to pay for the privilege of becoming serfs.

Living things in the natural world exist as ends in themselves. Everything they do is done for their own benefit or the benefit of their offspring. Horses in the wild do not acquire skills in order to perform tasks that benefit other horses. When a human being acquires a horse and trains it to perform a skill for the person’s benefit, the person provides for all the natural needs of his horse. Horses don’t come begging to be trained to be ridden. What kind of perversion is the requirement that people should beg to be trained to be serfs?

But neither a hurdy gurdy grinder’s monkey or a riding horse are educated; they are trained. There is no such thing as a Renaissance monkey!

Education in America, and perhaps other places too, is as fractured as shattered glass. The federal agency called the Department of Education’s only power is the ability to cajole schools mainly by offering them money. There are public and private schools, and the public ones are governed by local school boards, the members of which are not even required to be able to read or write. State school boards exist to have some influence over local boards, but again, the power of the states is limited. Education in America is a local affair. The people on these school boards are the ones that control what is and how it is taught. For instance, creationism is often given equal standing with evolution. Students are often required to engage in practices that are clearly unconstitutional. All of this is done to suit the views of school board members, not society or even students.

Teachers are certified by subject matter. Perfectly good mathematics teachers may not be able to write literate essays. English teachers are not required to understand even elementary algebra. The schools do not employ hommes de monde. And what is true in the primary and secondary schools is also true in colleges and universities. Les spécialistes rule the classroom. Trained monkeys all!

Now vocational training works, of course, if people know what industries need workers and if workers want those jobs. But often, especially in times of crisis, this knowledge doesn’t exist. Yet there’s a deeper problem with the notion that education should equal vocational training. To paraphrase a very famous and renowned person, man does not live by work alone. Indeed, the knowledge and skills needed to earn a living in a capitalist industrial economy are of little use in human relationships, and human relationships are the core of everyone’s life.

Although the United States is often referred to as a multicultural melting pot, most highly developed nations today have multicultural populations. Different cultures embody different values. Those values often clash and erupt in violent behavior. If people understood these cultural differences, these clashes could be ameliorated. But schools devoted to vocational training provide no venue for teaching cultural differences, for trying to understand the person who lives next door or in another country. Various value systems are never evaluated, and alternatives are never considered. As a result, although we all live on the same planet, we do not live together. At best, we only live side by side. At worst, we live to kill each other.

Education as vocational training reduces everything to ideology. Religion is an ideology and no one ever questions a person’s right to her/his own. Economics, although often touted as a science, is an ideology. Part of free marked economic theory is the belief that when an established industry falters and declines, some new industry will come forth and employ the newly unemployed. But nothing in economics can compel that to happen. This belief is akin to the belief in a Second Coming. It is purely ideological. Even science has become an ideology. People believe, for instance, that science will discover solutions to all of our problems. But again, there is nothing in science that compels that. It is perfectly possible that, as human beings destroy their environment, science will be unable to correct the damage and that life on this planet will perish. Worse, ideologies contribute to human stupidity; our devotion to them causes us to reject the stark realities that stare us in the face. (See here and here.)

So what is required if we are to make one generation smarter than the previous one? We need to educate Renaissance men who comprehend the whole human world, its history, our own culture, and those very different from ours. Vocational training will never produce such people.

John F. Kennedy was glorified when he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” Shouldn’t he have been vilified? Do countries exist to benefit their peoples or do their peoples exist to benefit their countries? What good is a country that requires the sacrifice of its people?

Since the Enlightenment, it is generally agreed that legitimate governments are those that govern with the consent of their peoples. Does anyone really believe that people would consent to living in a nation that made it clear that the lives of most citizens would be fated to live for the benefit of the few who control the nation’s institutions? Isn’t that exactly what slavery is?

Analytical thinking, even when valid, can lead people down invalid roads, because analysis alone tends to overly simplify questions. When used to answer the question, What must be done to put unemployed people to work?, it leads to attempts to make education equivalent to vocational training. But when put into practice, it results in people who lack the ability to understand their value systems and evaluate them properly. They end up being hurdy gurdy monkeys or, as Arnold put it, the flies of a summer, born one day and gone the next. If a nation’s institutions do not exist to benefit its citizens, the institutions, not the people, are faulty.

In Classical Greece it was known that the unexamined human life is not worth living. Vocational training never presents people with opportunities to examine one’s life; so people end up relying entirely on ideologies which have no intellectual basis and are often absurdly false, but “falsehoods are not only evil in themselves, they infect the soul with evil.”

If human beings wish to endure, their ideologies must be subjected to serious criticism; otherwise, no generation will ever be smarter than its predecessors and continuing to refer to ourselves as sapient is a sheer delusion.

John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage.

Pentagon to Use Genetic Code to Identify Perfect Soldier?

by Joe Wolverton, II
The New American
January 24, 2011

Old soldiers never die, they just pass on their genetic code?

A report issued by a defense science advisory panel suggests that the Pentagon may begin collecting DNA from military personnel to identify the genome sequence that defines a good soldier. Findings reported by JASON, an independent group of scientists which advises the U.S. government on matters of science and technology, recommends that the Pentagon take advantage of “the rapidly falling cost of gene sequencing by preparing to engage in the mass sequencing of the genomes” of the men and women of the armed forces.

From the movie Captain America

The physicists, biologists, chemists, oceanographers, mathematicians, and computer scientists that comprise the JASON project, point out that the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have access to an untapped source of valuable genetic information and are “uniquely positioned to make great advances” in the science of genetic research in this crucial field. Specifically mentioned are the decades of archived medical records and DNA samples already on file at the VA.

A commentary on the report published by the ACLU claims:

Specifically, the report recommends that the Pentagon begin collecting [and] sequencing soldiers’ DNA for “diagnostic and predictive applications.” It recommends that the military begin seeking correlations between soldiers’ genotypes and phenotypes (outward characteristics) “of relevance to the military” in order to correlate the two. And the report says — without offering details — that both “offensive and defensive military operations” could be affected.

The privacy concerns of such a program are obvious. The threshold question that the Pentagon would have to answer would be whether the collection of such samples (whether archival, contemporary, or future) presents a thorny legal problem in that the blood or other substances derived from the body of subjects is the property of that subject and therefore protected by the Constitution’s prohibition on the deprivation of life, liberty, or property without the due process of law.

Congress has legislated in this general area. In 2008, Congress passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which prohibits group health plans and health insurers from denying coverage to a healthy individual or charging that person higher premiums based solely on a person’s genetic predisposition to the possible of development of disease. The law also bars employers from using individuals’ genetic information when making personnel decisions.

While GINA does not apply to the military, it is certainly an indication of the opposition any similar use of genome sequences would face in Congress were the Defense Department to attempt such a project.

Regardless of whether the DoD makes such use of the DNA of soldiers, airmen, and marines, there is no doubt as to the surprising amount of such data already under the control of the Pentagon.

As reported in an article published in the American Journal of Human Genetics:

Currently, DoD collects and uses the genetic information of service members in several ways. All U.S. service members, including active duty and reserve military personnel, must provide a DNA sample that may be used to identify their remains should they die in battle (see Armed Forces Institute of Pathology database online). These samples are housed in the Armed Forces Repository of Specimen Samples for the Identification of Remains. As of 2002, the United States military’s DNA repository contained 3.2 million samples.

Inarguably, the accurate identification of battlefield casualties is an appropriate use of DNA material; however, the use of that very personal data as a sample for compiling the specific genetic code of the perfect soldier is much more controversial for a few reasons.

First, there is the question of how the Pentagon would use the identification of the sequence. Would this or that recruit be placed in the infantry rather than in a support billet based solely on his genetic code?

Second, there is the irrefutable scientific fact that a person’s genetic code is only one factor is his behavior. Apart from DNA, there are cultural, education, and other influences that also affect the way a person reacts to his surroundings and to the challenges he faces.

The ACLU article makes a good point regarding the potential abuses latent in such a controversial project:

If the Pentagon has strong, nonspeculative reasons to believe that genetic research could help military effectiveness, or if it wants to make use of genetics to help with medical care just like the rest of the medical world, then let it operate in exactly the same way that civilian scientists would, under accepted scientific protocols, including meaningful informed consent, Institutional Review Boards, and other accepted standards of human-subject research.

Soldiers, having signed away many of their rights upon enlistment, should not be used for research that would not otherwise comport with our values, just because they are conveniently available.

Perhaps the most alarming aspect of this report and the suggestions made therein is the uses to which this data could be put by a government intent on singling out a particular group from among its citizens. As has been chronicled many times by The New American, the government of the United Kingdom has amassed a database that is the most extensive in any developed nation. The database was established in 1995 and is the world’s largest. It contains the DNA material of over five million Britons, a figure that represents 8 percent of the population of England and Wales. The recording system was initially developed ostensibly to aid the police in the investigation of crime scenes and function as a “vital crime-fighting tool” in tracking down elusive offenders.

Should the government of the United States or any agency thereof begin cataloging the DNA of military servicemen, the balkanization of Americans may be accomplished not just by ethnicity, but also by one’s genetic predisposition to accept the tyrannical abolition of freedom.

Al Gore promoting fewer children to curb pollution

The Daily Caller
June 22, 2011

The global warming debate has always been a touchy one for both sides, and when the world’s top global warming activist is talking about the size of population and how that contributes to the choices societies make, it might be worth taking note.

In an appearance Monday in New York City, former Vice President Al Gore, prominently known for his climate change activism, took on the subject of population size and the role of society in controlling it to reduce pollution.

He offered some ideas about what might be done for females in the name of stabilizing population growth. (h/t Chris Horner via wattsupwiththat.com)

“One of the things we could do about it is to change the technologies, to put out less of this pollution, to stabilize the population, and one of the principle ways of doing that is to empower and educate girls and women,” Gore said. “You have to have ubiquitous availability of fertility management so women can choose how many children have, the spacing of the children.

“You have to lift child survival rates so that parents feel comfortable having small families and most important — you have to educate girls and empower women,” he said. “And that’s the most powerful leveraging factor, and when that happens, then the population begins to stabilize and societies begin to make better choices and more balanced choices.”

College Conspiracy

College Education is a Scam Says New Documentary

NIA
May 16, 2011

NIA today officially released the most comprehensive documentary ever produced about higher education in the U.S. NIA’s hour-long documentary called ‘College Conspiracy‘ exposes the facts and truth about America’s college education system. ‘College Conspiracy’ was produced over a six-month period by NIA’s team of expert Austrian economists with the help of thousands of NIA members who contributed their ideas and personal stories for the film. NIA believes the U.S. college education system is a scam that turns vulnerable young Americans into debt slaves for life.

NIA tracks price inflation in all U.S. industries and there is no industry that has seen more consistent price inflation this decade than college education. After the burst of the Real Estate bubble, student loans are now the easiest loan to receive in the U.S., and total student loan debts now exceed credit card debts. The government gives out easy student loans to anybody, regardless of grades, credit history, what they are majoring in, and what their job prospects are. NIA believes it is illegal for the U.S. government to be in the student loan business because the U.S. constitution doesn’t authorize it. Just like how the U.S. government created Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make housing affordable, but instead drove housing prices through the roof; the U.S. government, by trying to make college more affordable, is accomplishing the exact opposite and driving tuition prices to astronomical levels that provide a negative return on investment.

The U.S. has been experiencing 5.15% annual college tuition inflation this decade. Despite this, 70.1% of high school graduates are now enrolling into college, a new all time record. 2/3 of college students are now graduating with an average of $24,000 in debt. There is nothing special about getting a college degree if everyone else has one, and it is certainly not worth getting $24,000 into debt to camouflage yourself into the crowd. NIA’s President is friends with hundreds of CEOs of mid-sized corporations who tell him that someone who skipped college is a lot more likely to stand out amongst the hundreds of applicants who apply for each job available.

The real unemployment rate in America is now 22% and 60% of college graduates who are lucky enough to find a job, are receiving low skilled jobs where a college degree isn’t even required. In fact, 70% of high school graduates who didn’t go to college, were able to get these very same jobs as the average college graduate. The main difference is, by the time Americans who went to college get their degree, those who went straight into the work force after high school will already have 4 to 6 years of valuable workplace experience. Instead of having $24,000 in debt, these experienced Americans will be working their way up to a higher paid position or a better job at a different company.

All across America, colleges are deceiving prospective students with misleading and often fraudulent tactics and statistics. The fact is, law schools are handing out 43,000 law degrees each year, when there are 15,000 less attorney and legal staff jobs in the U.S. than three years ago. Many law schools are advertising a 90% job placement rate within one year of graduating. However, weeks before job placement surveys are conducted, some law schools will hire unemployed graduates to work in their admissions department. They are let go as soon as these surveys are completed, but count as being part of the 90% employed.

‘College Conspiracy’ also exposes how three years ago when 15 new pharmacist schools were getting ready to open in the U.S., the college cartel created a pharmacist shortage hoax to scam Americans into investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to attend pharmacist school. NIA has uncovered how economists were bribed to produce phony studies that forecast the need for 150,000 new pharmacists in America by 2020. Today, NIA is hearing from many young Americans who were deceived into getting pharmacist degrees and can’t find any pharmacist jobs no matter how many they apply for. These Americans are now deeply in debt and admit that they would have been better off getting minimum wage jobs stocking shelves somewhere.

NIA is very pro-education and dedicated to educating its members to the truth about the U.S. economy and inflation for free. Americans who read NIA’s articles and watch NIA’s documentaries for one year are guaranteed to learn more about the U.S. economy than they would have learned studying economics at an ivy league college for 4 years. NIA believes that in today’s world, any young American who is motivated to become well educated and have a successful career, can become self-educated by simply reading college textbooks and using the Internet.

Americans today need to change their mindsets. Instead of worrying about getting a job, they need to focus on making a job. Not only is it possible to become educated online at a low cost, but it is also possible to start an online business with almost no overhead expenses. The current system in America that everybody follows of studying useless information to get good grades in high school, taking out a student loan, going to college, taking out a mortgage, buying a house, and getting married, is setup to transfer wealth through inflation from the middle-class to bankers and lawyers who produce nothing for society. Americans need to stop being sheep and learn how to think for themselves.

Watch the documentary here:

U.S. Will Be the World’s Third Largest Economy

NBC

Image: CNBC.com

The world is going to become richer and richer as developing economies play catch up over the coming years, according to Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citigroup.

“We expect strong growth in the world economy until 2050, with average real GDP growth rates of 4.6 percent per annum until 2030 and 3.8 percent per annum between 2030 and 2050,” Buiter wrote in a market research.

“As a result, world GDP should rise in real PPP-adjusted terms from $72 trillion in 2010 to $380 trillion dollars in 2050,” he wrote.

As the world watches oil prices rise sharply amid unrest in the Middle East, Buiter’s analysis of the world’s long-term prospects offer some hope that better times are ahead but if he is right power will shift from the West to the East very quickly.

“China should overtake the US to become the largest economy in the world by 2020, then be overtaken by India by 2050,” he predicted.

One Way Bet on Emerging Markets?

Growth will not be smooth, according to Buiter. “Expect booms and busts. Occasionally, there will be growth disasters, driven by poor policy, conflicts, or natural disasters. When it comes to that, don’t believe that ‘this time it’s different’.”

“Developing Asia and Africa will be the fastest growing regions, in our view, driven by population and income per capita growth, followed in terms of growth by the Middle East, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the CIS, and finally the advanced nations of today,” he wrote.

“For poor countries with large young populations, growing fast should be easy: open up, create some form of market economy, invest in human and physical capital, don’t be unlucky and don’t blow it. Catch-up and convergence should do the rest,” Buiter added.

Buiter has constructed a “3G index” to measure economic progress; 3G stands for “Global Growth Generators”  and is a weighted average of six growth drivers that the Citigroup economists consider important:

  1. A measure of domestic saving/ investment
  2. A measure of demographic prospects
  3. A measure of health
  4. A measure of education
  5. A measure of the quality of institutions and policies
  6. A measure of trade openness

Using that index the nations to watch over the coming years are Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Mongolia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

“They are our 3G countries,” Buiter said.