Once Again Being Grateful for What We Know and Appreciating Why It Matters

And immediately recognizing what we are dealing with and its actual antecedents throughout history is what I am once again grateful for this day before Thanksgiving. Because as outlandish and unexpected as some of what I write about may initially be to you, it is true and I can prove it. If I had not pulled all of these facts together, 2014 would be the year in which so many political and social institutions and their leaders globally decided to go for broke. With our lives, children, future, and tax money. And no one on the outside of these schemes without a lucrative grant or rich employment contract would know how all these pieces fit. Before I let the remainder of the post be the popular philosophical essay from last year, let me add a few updates that I am thankful for.

I am thankful my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon is now available on Amazon and for kindle and that I let it simmer on a shelf for more than a year while as I started this blog. The events that left me so alarmed and the unexpected intensity of the psychological focus of the real implementation helped me properly frame what I was dealing with when I went back early last summer. Those of you waiting for the sequel or for me to tell the story through the blog will need the foundation I lay out in the book to appreciate what the blog encounters weekly and what I now know but have not written up yet.

Another thing I am immensely grateful for is the unbelievably confessional nature of certain used books I have obtained in the last year. And that various people had the wisdom to get those still relevant plans and intentions off of library shelves but left them still available for sale for an enterprising, not so young, lawyer trying to piece together the why of what she had located. I hope each of you get much of what you cherish over the next few days and avoids as much as possible that which drives you crazy. No, please do not take  that as an indication I will try to hide from any of my children. I can’t anyway. I am cooking the main meal.

One more update to the previous post. I can promise that together we will be able to piece together and properly interpret every machination and theory and intended policy change anybody comes up with in 2014. Game on, ears open, eyes observant, and mind fully engaged. Typing still hunt and peck but speedier. Here we go…..

I had actually outlined another barnburner story but the day before Thanksgiving is no time to serve up indigestion. So I thought I would write a tale of appreciating why individual liberty has mattered in the past and why Freed Markets resulted in mass prosperity would be a nice tribute. And I do not mean that in a Pollyanish sense. One of the books I am tackling this holiday week is Robert P Moses’ radical equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project. I want every child to learn to the best of their ability. I want to really appreciate the desperation that is driving this Equality for All even if it guts the economy philosophy. It is why I read what attracted Van Jones to the Green Growth Economy as a manifestation of his self-confessed preference for Communism.

I think the history lessons of the Predator State declaring its Goals for People and then using its powers to coerce are too easy to forget. It’s not an ideological preference. It’s a factual story. A repeated pattern once government reaches a certain size of the economy. I think history consistently bears out the truth of what Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek said in his 1945 lecture Individualism: True and False. I give extra credit for people who have first hand experience in what led to most of the great tragedies of the 20th Century. It’s called Walking the Walk and there is great validity to the hard-earned wisdom it imparts.

“There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal. While the first is a condition of a free society, the second means, as De Tocqueville described it, ‘a new form of servitude.”

There is just no getting around the fact that government officials and their Business Allies deciding they get to fine tune personalities and reset Values, Attitudes, and Beliefs to guide an Individual’s Future Behavior is a 21st Century form of servitude. Especially when the inappropriately named Positive School Climate is now a tool to retrain each student’s filtering Mindset. The worldview they will use from now on as they encounter daily reality. With their preferred non-Axemaker Mind and habits grounded in emotion. All quite consciously cultivated and monitored.

But we now know all this up front and that really is something to be Thankful for. As an active pursuer of these plans and blueprints this is decidedly unauthorized knowledge that was not supposed to become available. A 2012 Deerstalker Gold Star Award for Me. The most common question I get from frustrated parents especially is Why? What I am saying simply rings too true with their daily reality to discount it. But why the Deliberate Operant Conditioning towards a Future that’s not really about prosperity?

Like I have said, I take great comfort in putting all this in its Historical Context and its real Self-Dealing Context. Because honestly that is where it belongs. So I am going to quote you a passage from Hayek’s 1944 book The Road to Serfdom (page 176 in my 2007 copy). He really nails the drivers behind making education miseducation. Notice he also nails down the frequent unholy alliance between government and the media. Simply refusing to report or cover accurately anything that might caste a poor light on desired government policies. My bolding and snark is in the brackets.

“Facts and theories [Sustainability, Man-made Catastrophic Global Warming, Diversity, Social Justice] must thus become no less the object of an official doctrine than views about values. And the whole apparatus for spreading knowledge–the schools and the press, radio and motion picture–will be used exclusively to spread those views which, whether true or false, will strengthen the belief in the rightness of the decisions taken by the authority; and all information that might cast doubt or hesitation will be withheld. The probable effect on the people’s loyalty to the system [Peter Senge just swooned that we so understand the essence of Systems Thinking and Why It Must Be Pushed] becomes the only criterion for deciding whether a particular piece of information is to be published or suppressed. [Benghazi; Actual Employment Numbers] The situation in a totalitarian state is permanently and in all fields the same that it is elsewhere in some fields in wartime. Everything which might cause doubt about the wisdom of the government or create discontent will be kept from the people. [Hard not to think of Candy Crowley and that 2nd Presidential Debate]. The basis of unfavorable comparisons with conditions elsewhere, the knowledge of possible alternatives to the course actually taken, information which might suggest failure on the part of the government to live up to its promises or to take advantage of opportunities to improve conditions–all will be suppressed. There is consequently no field where the systematic control of information will not be practiced and uniformity of views not enforced.”

There you have the incentive of Government officials for using education for merely Competent, Mentally Hobbled Citizens. Especially ones who are being bred to see a Duty to the State. And the Business Angle. They are politically connected and want special privileges and protections from their Cronies. That’s not Capitalism though. It’s Mercantilism where there is no mass prosperity. It is what Adam Smith rejected as he accounted for Britain’s phenomenal 18th century economic growth.

So enjoy your friends and loved ones on this cherished American holiday. Whatever happens in education in 2013, we WILL understand what is really going on and what the likely consequences are actually going to be.

And that really is something to be Thankful for.

 

Being Grateful for What We Know and Appreciating Why It Matters

I had actually outlined another barnburner story but the day before Thanksgiving is no time to serve up indigestion. So I thought I would write a tale of appreciating why individual liberty has mattered in the past and why Freed Markets resulted in mass prosperity would be a nice tribute. And I do not mean that in a Pollyanish sense. One of the books I am tackling this holiday week is Robert P Moses’ radical equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project. I want every child to learn to the best of their ability. I want to really appreciate the desperation that is driving this Equality for All even if it guts the economy philosophy. It is why I read what attracted Van Jones to the Green Growth Economy as a manifestation of his self-confessed preference for Communism.

I think the history lessons of the Predator State declaring its Goals for People and then using its powers to coerce are too easy to forget. It’s not an ideological preference. It’s a factual story. A repeated pattern once government reaches a certain size of the economy. I think history consistently bears out the truth of what Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek said in his 1945 lecture “Individualism: True and False.” I give extra credit for people who have first hand experience in what led to most of the great tragedies of the 20th Century. It’s called Walking the Walk and there is great validity to the hard-earned wisdom it imparts.

“There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal. While the first is a condition of a free society, the second means, as De Tocqueville described it, ‘a new form of servitude.”

There is just no getting around the fact that government officials and their Business Allies deciding they get to fine tune personalities and reset Values, Attitudes, and Beliefs to guide an Individual’s Future Behavior is a 21st Century form of servitude. Especially when the inappropriately named Positive School Climate is now a tool to retrain each student’s filtering Mindset. The worldview they will use from now on as they encounter daily reality. With their preferred non-Axemaker Mind and habits grounded in emotion. All quite consciously cultivated and monitored.

But we now know all this up front and that really is something to be Thankful for. As an active pursuer of these plans and blueprints this is decidedly unauthorized knowledge that was not supposed to become available. A 2012 Deerstalker Gold Star Award for Me. The most common question I get from frustrated parents especially is Why? What I am saying simply rings too true with their daily reality to discount it. But why the Deliberate Operant Conditioning towards a Future that’s not really about prosperity?

Like I have said, I take great comfort in putting all this in its Historical Context and its real Self-Dealing Context. Because honestly that is where it belongs. So I am going to quote you a passage from Hayek’s 1944 book The Road to Serfdom (page 176 in my 2007 copy). He really nails the drivers behind making education miseducation. Notice he also nails down the frequent unholy alliance between government and the media. Simply refusing to report or cover accurately anything that might caste a poor light on desired government policies. My bolding and snark is in the brackets.

“Facts and theories [Sustainability, Man-made Catastrophic Global Warming, Diversity, Social Justice] must thus become no less the object of an official doctrine than views about values. And the whole apparatus for spreading knowledge–the schools and the press, radio and motion picture–will be used exclusively to spread those views which, whether true or false, will strengthen the belief in the rightness of the decisions taken by the authority; and all information that might cast doubt or hesitation will be withheld. The probable effect on the people’s loyalty to the system [Peter Senge just swooned that we so understand the essence of Systems Thinking and Why It Must Be Pushed] becomes the only criterion for deciding whether a particular piece of information is to be published or suppressed. [Benghazi; Actual Employment Numbers] The situation in a totalitarian state is permanently and in all fields the same that it is elsewhere in some fields in wartime. Everything which might cause doubt about the wisdom of the government or create discontent will be kept from the people. [Hard not to think of Candy Crowley and that 2nd Debate]. The basis of unfavorable comparisons with conditions elsewhere, the knowledge of possible alternatives to the course actually taken, information which might suggest failure on the part of the government to live up to its promises or to take advantage of opportunities to improve conditions–all will be suppressed. There is consequently no field where the systematic control of information will not be practiced and uniformity of views not enforced.”

There you have the incentive of Government officials for using education for merely Competent, Mentally Hobbled Citizens. Especially ones who are being bred to see a Duty to the State. And the Business Angle. They are politically connected and want special privileges and protections from their Cronies. That’s not Capitalism though. It’s Mercantilism where there is no mass prosperity. It is what Adam Smith rejected as he accounted for Britain’s phenomenal 18th century economic growth.

So enjoy your friends and loved ones on this cherished American holiday. Whatever happens in education in 2013, we WILL understand what is really going on and what the likely consequences are actually going to be.

And that really is something to be Thankful for.

 

 

Ridiculing the 1860s Mind as Unsuitable for the 21st Century: Cui Bono?

Sometimes these days my life feels a bit like that Broadway farce A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Yet another official power grabbing, crony rewarding, and individual subjugating report will come out that I catch and know I need to tell you about.  Then as I continue my snooping into what is going on out in the real world, I get the perfect illustration of why this all matters. Even if you don’t currently have a child in K-12 or in higher ed.

I was going to explain this week’s release of the troubling “Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy” from our politicized National Academy of Sciences (again! John Holdren is VERY busy) where the “Science” is the Social Sciences, not Chemistry or Physics. Shades of what we detailed here.http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-reality-is-ignored-or-disregarded-when-do-we-become-a-state-against-its-people/ And Evidence is Needed because of the official belief and desire that our economy and society, an Ecosystem according to the Planners, needs to be managed by decisionmakers with the proper credentials instead of people themselves.

So I attended an “Innovation in Education Conference” on October 24 put on by the State Chamber of Commerce with official support from businesses likely to benefit from the new emphasis on digital literacy and technology and  Sustainability and Soft Skills and a new Culture as the focus of the classroom. In the sought Mercantile post-Consumer 21st Century Communitarian world we have discussed numerous times http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-adam-smith-write-a-book-explaining-why-this-is-a-bad-idea-back-in-1776/ this is not a shocking concept anymore. I do wish though these vendors seeking government contracts and political protection from competition for their current products would quit pretending their education advocacy efforts were all “for the children.” Philanthropic endeavors where they just wanted to give a heads up for future workforce hiring purposes.

But I am a tough, old, experienced corporate negotiator who has seen a great deal of what makes a business work and recommended walking away from deals that do not. When your audience is politicians and public and private sector bureaucrats, they can be fine, well-intentioned people. But you get a bobbing heads agreement to social policy talking points where the individual with his or her own money on the line in a free market would say ” Wait a minute. What are you really urging?”

The dangers of the herd and trying to manage and rearrange an economy at the political level are even more acute when the policies sought go to changing personality traits of children and limiting their ability to think rationally at all. While locking in the policies as a taxpayer paid contract with a district Super or School Principal or even the state. As a Student of History, let me just say that Benito in the 20s and 30s had a name for that kind of Corporatism trying to squelch the individual in favor of the collective while profiting from the lucrative connections. And no it was not a movement of the Right. It was collectivist socialism with the revenues of the economy being split among political favorites in addition to government officials. Jonah Goldberg wrote an excellent book about it.

Back to the Luncheon. The talking point was the supposed need for a new kind of education for the 21st century centered around the student (let’s all chime in snarkily “to actually change their values, attitudes, and beliefs”) through making school about using computers and digital technology. Missing was the fact that Soviet Psychologist Lev Vygotsky recognized that these external cognitive tools would change  people mentally once you made use of the device the focus. The known and desired hobbling effects on the human mind were conveniently left out of the presentation.

So whatever the convenience of the computer as a tool,  Totalitarian governments have also rejoiced that it can become an Individualism Extraction Device. The repeated rhetoric about lecturing by the best prof or teacher you ever met is mostly an illusion to sell the devices and broadband and get it to the classroom. And education conferences in the US were giddily calling this digital tech initiative a Trojan Horse and a subversion technique to finally get John Dewey’s vision of democracy by 1990. Yes, I do have a copy of the book. And rereading it yesterday did delay this post.

So politically connected Joel Klein who is now heading up the company Amplify  http://www.newscorp.com/news/news_536.html was the Keynote Luncheon Speaker. A state politician did the introduction and emphasized the constantly pitched need to change education for the 21st century economy. The intro made a reference to not needing the kind of education suitable for the 1960s. That was an odd decade to use since that is when the onslaught via federal government money coercing changes via behavioral and social sciences really began in earnest. It was also when SAT scores stopped advancing. Plus economists have noted it is when real per capita growth in the economy began to slow down dramatically.

So I am thinking a 1960s mind would probably be darn useful for a genuinely innovative 21st Century economy that really was about mass prosperity. And here is where I believe Joel Klein went off his prepared normal presentation based on quotes I recognized and reports I have actually read celebrating education that is visual and Tablet-based instead of intellectual. He got up and said, probably to emphasize the need for dramatic change, that traditional education was actually promoting an 1860s mind. Horrors was the desired reaction Joel wanted from his audience and nodding and bobbing heads in agreement is what he got. Not surprising as every experienced trial lawyer I know can play an audience.

But let’s think about this for a minute as I think this is an important herd lesson on precisely why you do not want the government using education to monitor and plan people’s personalities so they develop a communitarian mindset. Selling contracts with taxpayer funds to put devices in place that consciously seek to shut down the ability to think abstractly and independently. Manipulating emotions of 5 Year Olds via chosen vendors in the name of Soft Skills and Positive School Culture.

The 1860s mind being belittled and scorned was the Age of the Individual with almost universal genuine literacy. Did you know coal mining camps in the 1870s put on Shakespeare plays with widespread participation from the miners? The 1860s Mind fought the bloodiest war in US history because it so valued the individual that slavery became unacceptable. The 1860s Mind hatched the Industrial Revolution and the great inventions of the 20th century. And the greatest mass prosperity the world has ever known. And if bad things happened in the 20th century, they were never launched in a society or a culture that cherished the individual. They were always launched in societies that pushed the collective.

There is a mention in that Amplify press release above about Digital Learning leading to an “equitable society” which sounds like John Dewey’s little “d” democracy to me.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/why-quality-learning-may-be-the-last-thing-you-want-for-your-child/ . I think taxpayers have a right to know that is what is being sought and what the likely costs are even if they have already stupidly approved the revenues to be delivered up in an ESPLOST referendum. Taxpayers and parents should know that the real assault is on Axemaker Minds  in suburban schools created at home by attentive parents. Now to be under organized assault at school. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/blending-sustainability-and-education-to-gain-arational-nonlinear-minds-and-new-behaviors/

I am going to close with a point from the Computers as Cognitive Tools book  I mentioned above coupled with a point from a book on Ecological Literacy to get to a new Postmodern World that came out about the same time. The 1990 conference focused on the ability of the computer to be a pedagogical tool that would reshape the student’s mental processing. The computer can also be used to instruct and transmit knowledge but that is expressly not the function educators want. Recognizing that reality lurking behind the lovely videos or Powerpoint speeches, lets go back to  Professor David Orr who we have met before.

As always the whole point of Ecology Policy Making has to do with “changing the way we think and what we think about” to shift away from the Modern World’s emphasis on the “I’, the interiorized ego” capable of rational thought.

“I think it is time to ask about the software of sustainability as well, and thus about the qualities people will need to build and maintain a durable civilization. . . [One with] people motivated by a sense that their wellbeing is linked to that of others and to other life forms.”

We have nodding heads about matters with unappreciated actual stakes and likely tragic consequences. We have a current federal desire for Policy Making via Social Sciences being sought in the name of implementing Peter Senge’s Systems Thinking and destroying lingering Climate Skepticism. Once again we see why the schemers do not want Axemaker Minds with knowledge of history coming out of classrooms or sitting in the audience.

Ooops.

Why the World Makes Far More Sense if You Add Dirigiste to the Things You Understand

I must admit I made it to my 6th Decade in this world before encountering the term -”Dirigisme” or the more common use–a dirigiste economy.  It means essentially a state directed economy. It is when the government sees it as its job to try to look out for the business interests of established companies. Or to try and create new industries.  Historically that protection stifles innovation. In the name of the desirable goal of Economic Growth, stagnancy occurs. Plus there is the cost of supporting all those planners and regulators. Less prosperity, More expense=Bad Deal for the Unconnected Picking Up the Bill.

We are much more likely though to have encountered and recognize the opposite philosophy, even if our definition is probably a bit skewed from its historical use. “Laissez Faire, Laissez Passer” is the philosophic opposite of the Mercantilist, Dirigiste approach to how an economy works and prospers. It sees the economy not as something almost tangible like a pie-”Here’s your slice.” But as a series of spontaneous transactions among lots of different people pursuing what they Know and what they Need and Who can best provide it. The idea of “Let Us Do It. Let Us Make It” goes back to the contrasting philosophies between Britain and France in the 1600s and 1700s. It’s not a matter of not wanting any government. It recognizes that the central planner or regulator cannot know what we Know. And what we Know and Can See Matters Most to developing the kinds of new technology or unique business practices (like a corporation that can now survive any individual human life or letters of credit that allow investment abroad without guards for your gold) that generate local or regional or even mass prosperity. It’s what moves the masses beyond the poverty of subsistence hand to mouth, barely getting by living that was the historic norm for centuries. That remains the norm in too many 3rd world countries even today where Those in Charge want to manage and control everything. No prosperity there as you will learn when I tell you about the real history of the IB Middle Years Programme in a different post later.

Laissez Faire, properly understood, is all about how important diverse pieces of information and knowledge scattered among lots of different individuals are to what creates prosperity and wealth. It recognizes just how many earth reshaping inventions have been created by people who knew their trade well and saw a need. The Industrial Revolution did not ignite in the countries like France that funded scientific research and wanted that research to lead to economic growth. The Industrial Revolution took off in England where artisans with knowledge were looking for solutions to very particular problems that no one in London likely knew existed. Steam engines and cotton gins which shifted the way the world worked occurred because local engineers in the hands-on tinkering sense were trying to solve immediate problems. England had little wood for heating but lots of coal. The coal mines though flooded in the deeper veins and the shallow veins were tapped out. How’s that for a real life, authentic problem in need of a relevant solution?

Yesterday, in a review of Pasi Sahlberg’s Finnish Lessons:What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?, the former executive director of the NEA wrote of the need for the US to emulate “the power of linking education and the economy in an intentional manner”. Since that  review popped into my inbox several hours after I blogged about the connection between the current education vision being pushed in the US and mercantilism, it was tempting to try to teach one of my cats to High Five. Sweet vindication. The Finns have a dirigiste economy. Copying their education policies means adopting their economic and social policies. And those have a poor track record we are just starting to explore.

For today though I want to call your attention to the area of education where I think this dirigiste approach is the strongest. We are very expensively expanding a sector (new buildings! programs! campuses!) under the assumption that government, federal, state, and local, can use its legislative and regulatory powers to insist that the public must subsidize an industry. We are also quietly putting in place the elements of what is known in other countries as Qualifications Frameworks. The idea that employment in the future will require the right credentials and that only the institutions of higher ed can provide the requisite degrees and credentials. And that job changes require yet another stop pushing more of your money at higher ed to get that next required training or skill set.

College for all defies common sense. There’s a reason the research pushing this vacuous idea always seems to rely in the footnotes on previous papers by the same professors and groups baldly asserting this self-interested point without any evidence. We are caught in a classic Mercantilist “you must buy our product” dirigiste scheme. The student loan debt that now exceeds credit card debt in the US is only the tip of the iceberg on what these dirigiste higher ed policies are really costing us.

Tomorrow I will talk about what dirigisme and a mercantilist approach by a country or state has historically done to innovation. The great driver of future prosperity.