The paradox of education is precisely this — that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. (James Baldwin)
The above quote came to me via Joseph McBride, and reminded me of something George Carlin use to say in his act. He, like me and McBride, was a product of Catholic schools, but Carlin’s education was progressive. He was not taught to be a Catholic. The assumption was that he would come around on his own by his own internal light as he grew in ability.
…somehow we got lucky, y’know. Got into a school where the pastor was kinda into John Dewey and progressive education and he talked the parish…talked the diocese, rather, into experimenting in our parish with progressive education and whipping the religion on us anyway and see what would happen with the two of them there. And [it] worked out kinda nice; there was a lot of classroom freedom. There was no…for instance, there were no grades or marks, … no report cards to sweat out or any of that. There were no uniforms. …there was no sexual segregation; boy and girls together. And the desks weren’t all nailed down in a row, y’know. There were movable desks and you had new friends every month. It was nice; like I say, a lot of classroom freedom…in fact there was so much freedom that by eighth grade, many of us had lost the faith. ‘Cause they made questioners out of us and … they really didn’t have any answers …
While the world is crawling with ex-Catholics like Carlin, McBride and myself, Catholic education these days does not mess around. They go for the mind, take ownership, and leave no doubt that Catholic is the righteous path.
I am reading McBride’s Into the Nightmare. It is about his growing up and coming of age after the Kennedy assassination. He and I have much in common, being about the same age, taking the same publications in our homes as youths, twelve years of Catholic schooling, and having the assassination as the lever by which were launched into the grown-up world.
JFK was just a man who tripped over real power. I seriously doubt he could have changed very much, as the office of president, while powerful, is not the center of power in this land. But the assassination is a focal point. If we examine it closely, we can come to grips with that power, educate ourselves, and free our minds of the deep indoctrination that is American education. It is a lever by which we learn to view the world with unfiltered eyes. It can help us grow up.
If was often said over the years that Europeans were not surprised at how JFK was murdered, that such intrigue is common and accepted over there. Americans still cling to childish beliefs about leaders and countries and systems of government. I know I did, so that finally coming to realize that JFK was murdered by Americans, and that the whole of our collective institutional structures formed a circle around the murderers was deeply shocking. I had to throw out my education and beliefs and start over from scratch. I realized that I had grown up in a whore house. (This is, I suspect, the underlying message of the TV series Mad Men, as Don Draper comes to grips with his life and real identity. The TV series is smuggling some truth to to us.)
The Saker wrote a nice short piece on this country called “Hillary, Jeb, Rand – does it make a difference anyway?”
[I] see the USA as run by a tiny elite which is good at “pretend democracy” but which makes darn sure that the people vote the “correct” way. I consider the primaries, conventions, caucuses, and elections themselves as a mix between a farce, a form of entertainment, a re-legitimization of a system and a secular liturgical act (a form of public self-worship). There is no “democracy” in the US and there probably never was. However, if the regime does not change, the specific clans within the 1% do fight each other and struggle for control of the regime.
Second, there are different clans, interest groups, factions who fight *within* the top 1% and they can, and do, make use of the electoral process not as a means of popular expression, but as a way to impose their agenda and interests. I often speak of the “old Anglo guard” (best represented by the Bush clan before Dubya) and the “Neocons”, but there are many more interest group[s] (oil, banking, military, drug warriors, big pharma, etc.) who all participate in the internal struggle for power.
Thus, there is no real difference between the Republicrats and the Demoblicans, they are all part of the same elite, but there are differences between different political figures who are more, or less, aligned with any specific interest group. Thus Greenwald is correct when he identifies the various groups who would support a Hillary Presidency. This has nothing to do with democracy, the political parties or even her own views and everything to do with which interest groups she sold out to.
The Saker, as a legal alien educated elsewhere, came to this country with a fully formed cerebral cortex. Unlike products of our own education system, he is a grown-up. Later in his short essay he says that given a choice we might be better off “having a generally mentally sane Jeb Bush (and his staff) … than a clearly rabid Hillary (and her staff).” This feeds my own sensibilities, affirms my own judgment to a degree.
My impressions of people that we only know via media and print is flawed, of course. Over the years I have come to view George H.W. Bush as a dangerous psychopath, for example, and Ronald Reagan as a dunce and the mere vehicle by which (the unelectable) Bush was handed the presidency (on March 30,1981). George’s son George W. is a ninny. Richard Nixon was a complex and intelligent man who, like JFK, thought the power of the office of president could be exercised roughshod over the other factions within the 1% who have different objectives. He failed to grasp the nature of the makeup of our oligarchical structure. Fortunately for him, his removal from office was bloodless.
And yes, Hillary, like George H.W. Bush, scares the crap out of me. She’s unprincipled and ruthless, and smart only to the degree that she can see up to, but not around the bend. Having no emotions or concerns about human suffering, she might indeed think war with Russia is a smart move, for example.
Why do only the good ones get taken down? Where are those damned hidden gunmen when we really need them?