There is a persistent and powerful attack on public education in this country, and it is the stuff nightmares are made of. After almost seventy years knocking around life, I have reduced my focus to three things: reading, writing,and thinking. Today it seems reading is being reduced to programmed texts that are acceptable to the ruling elite; writing is being discouraged; and thinking is being eliminated wherever possible. There are politicians in this country whose power and livelihood depends on hornswoggling uncritical voters and disenfranchising anyone who might be a threat to their scam.
I believe in public education (I also believe in long, slow kisses that last three hours or more). I recognize that there are problems with education in America but they are problems that can be rectified by strong public support and involvement. A schoolroom can be very powerful: any place where there is a free exchange of ideas is powerful. It’s easy to see why the American oligarchy and its bought and paid-for politicians are afraid of public schools …
Reading a passage from The Jungle I suddenly realized what the real problem with this country and its beloved capitalism actually is. In the passage a saloonkeeper admits to seeding the clientele with needy looking street people who encouraged the more affluent customers to buy them a few drinks: shades of dancehall girls. The saloonkeeper posited that if he didn’t do it, someone else would.
Then the narrator expands the thought to manufacturers who adulterate or otherwise cheat on the ingredients in their products (a good example being canned meat … don’t ask what’s in it … ever). Hey, if one huge agribusiness corporation doesn’t do it, another big agribusiness corporation will.
That’s the rationale behind our greedy corporations: if they don’t cheat you, someone else will … so they are justified in cheating you.
It’s so simple and conveniently avoids moral considerations. Where can I get the bumper-sticker?
There are two very American books that (to me) present a fundamental problem: one is The Jungle (Upton Sinclair) and the other is Jack London’s Iron Heel. Both novels present the evil greed that men are capable of and both offer a solution or at least direction for improvement based on the ideals of socialism. Neither makes the United States, even a fictional America, very appealing. It’s interesting to recall that these novels, especially the dystopian Iron Heel, represent or project bad times for an era that is now behind us: look at George Orwell’s 1984 … not even Apple Computer can erase that future, even though it is now past due.
Continue reading “Let’s Roundup the Plutocrats”