Dumbing Us Down
This topic focuses on the deliberate indoctrination and dumbing down of school students through a compulsory public ‘education’ system designed to manufacture compliant wage slaves completely lacking in the ability to think critically.
“School, as it was built, is an essential support system for a model of social engineering that condemns most people to be subordinate stones in a pyramid that narrows as it ascends to a terminal of control. School is an artifice that makes such a pyramidical social order seem inevitable, even though such a premise is a fundamental betrayal of the American Revolution.”(1)
“Spare yourself the anxiety of thinking of this school thing as a conspiracy, even though the project is indeed riddled with petty conspirators. It was and is a fully rational transaction in which all of us play a part. We [ostensibly] trade the liberty of our kids and our free will for a secure social order and a very prosperous economy. It’s a bargain in which most of us agree to become as children ourselves, under the same tutelage which holds the young, in exchange for food, entertainment, and safety. The difficulty is that the contract fixes the goal of human life so low that students go mad trying to escape it.”(2)
A major architect of standardized testing, H.H. Goddard, said in his book Human Efficiency (1920) that government schooling was about “the perfect organization of the hive.” He said standardized testing was a way to make lower classes recognize their own inferiority. Like wearing a dunce cap, it would discourage them from breeding and having ambition. Goddard was head of the Psychology Department at Princeton, so imagine the effect he had on the minds of the doctoral candidates he coached, and there were hundreds.
Ordinary people send their children to school to get smart, but what modern schooling teaches is dumbness. It’s a religious idea gone out of control. You don’t have to accept that, though, to realize this kind of economy would be jeopardized by too many smart people who understand too much.
“At the heart of the durability of mass schooling is a brilliantly designed power fragmentation system which distributes decision-making so widely among so many warring interests that large-scale change is impossible without a guidebook. Few insiders understand how to steer this ship and the few who do may have lost the will to control it.
“Our problem in understanding forced schooling stems from an inconvenient fact: that the wrong it does from a human perspective is right from a systems perspective. Most of us tacitly accept the pragmatic terms of public school which allow every kind of psychic violence to be inflicted on students in order to fulfill the prime directive of the system: putting children in their place. It’s called “social efficiency.
“You aren’t compelled to loan your car to anyone who wants it, but you are compelled to surrender your school-age child to strangers who process children for a livelihood, even though one in every nine schoolchildren is terrified of physical harm happening to them in school, terrified with good cause; about thirty-three are murdered there every year. From 1992 through 1999, 262 children were murdered in school in the United States. Your great-great-grandmother didn’t have to surrender her children. What happened?
“You have no say at all in choosing your teachers. You know nothing about their backgrounds or families. And the state knows little more than you do. This is as radical a piece of social engineering as the human imagination can conceive. What does it mean?
“Building a child’s mind and character is what public schools do, their justification for prematurely breaking family and neighborhood learning. Where is documentary evidence to prove this assumption that trained and certified professionals do it better than people who know and love them can? There isn’t any.
“Law courts and legislatures have totally absolved school people from liability. You can sue a doctor for malpractice, not a schoolteacher. Every homebuilder is accountable to customers years after the home is built; not schoolteachers, though. You can’t sue a priest, minister, or rabbi either; that should be a clue.
“If you can’t be guaranteed even minimal results by these institutions, not even physical safety; if you can’t be guaranteed anything except that you’ll be arrested if you fail to surrender your kid, just what does the public in public schools mean?
“What exactly is public about public schools? That’s a question to take seriously. If schools were public as libraries, parks, and swimming pools are public, as highways and sidewalks are public, then the public would be satisfied with them most of the time. Instead, a situation of constant dissatisfaction has spanned many decades. Only in Orwell’s Newspeak, as perfected by legendary spin doctors of the twentieth century such as Ed Bernays or Ivy Lee or great advertising combines, is there anything public about public schools.
“Exactly what John Dewey heralded at the onset of the twentieth century has indeed happened. Our once highly individualized nation has evolved into a centrally managed village, an agora made up of huge special interests which regard individual voices as irrelevant. The masquerade is managed by having collective agencies speak through particular human beings. Dewey said this would mark a great advance in human affairs, but the net effect is to reduce men and women to the status of functions in whatever subsystem they are placed. Public opinion is turned on and off in laboratory fashion. All this in the name of social efficiency, one of the two main goals of forced schooling.”(2)
For almost everyone involved it’s hard to believe that centralized schooling is allowed to exist at all as a gigantic indoctrination and sorting machine, robbing people of their children.
“School is a religion. Without understanding the holy mission aspect you’re certain to misperceive what takes place as a result of human stupidity or venality or even class warfare. All are present in the equation, it’s just that none of these matter very much—even without them school would move in the same direction. Dewey’s Pedagogic Creed statement of 1897 gives you a clue to the zeitgeist:
“Every teacher should realize he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of the proper social order and the securing of the right social growth. In this way the teacher is always the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of heaven.
“What is “proper” social order? What does “right” social growth look like? If you don’t know you’re like me, not like John Dewey who did, or the Rockefellers, his patrons, who did, too. Somehow out of the industrial confusion which followed the Civil War, powerful men and dreamers became certain what kind of social order America needed, one very like the British system we had escaped a hundred years earlier. This realization didn’t arise as a product of public debate as it should have in a democracy, but as a distillation of private discussion. Their ideas contradicted the original American charter but that didn’t disturb them. They had a stupendous goal in mind—the rationalization of everything. The end of unpredictable history; its transformation into dependable order.
“From mid-century onward certain utopian schemes to retard maturity in the interests of a greater good were put into play, following roughly the blueprint Rousseau laid down in the book Emile. At least rhetorically. The first goal, to be reached in stages, was an orderly, scientifically managed society, one in which the best people would make the decisions, unhampered by democratic tradition. After that, human breeding would be in reach. Universal institutionalized formal forced schooling was the prescription, extending the dependency of the young well into what had traditionally been early adult life. Individuals would be prevented from taking up important work until a relatively advanced age. Maturity was to be retarded.
“During the post-Civil War period, childhood was extended about four years. Later, a special label was created to describe very old children. It was called adolescence, a phenomenon hitherto unknown to the human race. The infantilization of young people didn’t stop at the beginning of the twentieth century; child labor laws were extended to cover more and more kinds of work, the age of school leaving set higher and higher. The greatest victory for this utopian project was making school the only avenue to certain occupations. The intention was ultimately to draw all work into the school net. By the 1950s it wasn’t unusual to find graduate students well into their thirties, running errands, waiting to start their lives.
“Old-fashioned dumbness used to be simple ignorance; now it is transformed from ignorance into permanent mathematical categories of relative stupidity like “gifted and talented,” “mainstream,” “special ed.” Categories in which learning is rationed for the good of a system of order. Dumb people are no longer merely ignorant. Now they are indoctrinated, their minds conditioned with substantial doses of commercially prepared disinformation dispensed for tranquilizing purposes.
“Jacques Ellul, whose book Propaganda is a reflection on the phenomenon, warned us that prosperous children are more susceptible than others to the effects of schooling because they are promised more lifelong comfort and security for yielding wholly:
Critical judgment disappears altogether, for in no way can there ever be collective critical judgment….The individual can no longer judge for himself because he inescapably relates his thoughts to the entire complex of values and prejudices established by propaganda. With regard to political situations, he is given ready-made value judgments invested with the power of the truth by…the word of experts.
“The new dumbness is particularly deadly to middle- and upper-middle-class kids already made shallow by multiple pressures to conform imposed by the outside world on their usually lightly rooted parents. When they come of age, they are certain they must know something because their degrees and licenses say they do.
“Ellul puts it this way:
The individual has no chance to exercise his judgment either on principal questions or on their implication; this leads to the atrophy of a faculty not comfortably exercised under [the best of] conditions…Once personal judgment and critical faculties have disappeared or have atrophied, they will not simply reappear when propaganda is suppressed…years of intellectual and spiritual education would be needed to restore such faculties. The propagandee, if deprived of one propaganda, will immediately adopt another, this will spare him the agony of finding himself vis a vis some event without a ready-made opinion.
“Once the best children are broken to such a system, they disintegrate morally, becoming dependent on group approval. What kids dumbed down by schooling can’t do is to think for themselves or ever be at rest for very long without feeling crazy; stupefied boys and girls reveal dependence in many ways easily exploitable by their knowledgeable elders.
“According to all official analysis, dumbness isn’t taught, but is innate in a great percentage of what has come to be called “the workforce.” Workforce itself is a term that should tell you much about the mind that governs modern society. According to official reports, only a small fraction of the population is capable of what you and I call mental life: creative thought, analytical thought, judgmental thought, a trio occupying the three highest positions on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Just how small a fraction would shock you. According to experts, the bulk of the mob is hopelessly dumb, even dangerously so. Perhaps you’re a willing accomplice to this social coup which revived the English class system. Certainly you are if your own child has been rewarded with a “gifted and talented” label by your local school. This is what Dewey means by “proper” social order.
“If you believe nothing can be done for the dumb except kindness, because it’s biology (the bell-curve model); if you believe capitalist oppressors have ruined the dumb because they are bad people (the neo-Marxist model); if you believe dumbness reflects depraved moral fiber (the Calvinist model); or that it’s nature’s way of disqualifying boobies from the reproduction sweepstakes (the Darwinian model); or nature’s way of providing someone to clean your toilet (the pragmatic elitist model); or that it’s evidence of bad karma (the Buddhist model); if you believe any of the various explanations given for the position of the dumb in the social order we have, then you will be forced to concur that a vast bureaucracy is indeed necessary to address the dumb. Otherwise they would murder us in our beds.
“Once the dumb are wished into existence, they serve valuable functions: as a danger to themselves and others they have to be watched, classified, disciplined, trained, medicated, sterilized, ghettoized, cajoled, coerced, jailed. To idealists they represent a challenge, reprobates to be made socially useful. Either way you want it, hundreds of millions of perpetual children require paid attention from millions of adult custodians. An ignorant horde to be schooled one way or another.
“We need to put sterile discussions of grading and testing, discipline, curriculum, multiculturalism and tracking aside as distractions, as mere symptoms of something larger, darker, and more intransigent than any problem a problem-solver could tackle next week. Talking endlessly about such things encourages the bureaucratic tactic of talking around the vital, messy stuff.
“The real horror here is that what has happened to our schools was inherent in the original design for a planned economy and a planned society laid down so proudly at the end of the nineteenth century. We are held fast by a form of highly abstract thinking fully concretized in human institutions which has grown beyond the power of the managers of these institutions to control. If there is a way out of the trap we’re in, it won’t be by removing some bad guys and replacing them with good guys.(2)
The bottom line here is that what we have here is a war. A different kind of war:
One fought using psychological methods
A one-hundred-year war
A different, more deadly war than any in which our country has ever been involved
A war about which the average American hasn’t the foggiest idea
“The reason Americans do not understand this war is because it has been fought in secret—in the schools of our nation, targeting our children who are captive in classrooms. The wagers of this war are using very sophisticated and effective tools:
• Hegelian Dialectic (common ground, consensus and compromise)
“The Hegelian Dialectic is a process formulated by the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) and used by Karl Marx in codifying revolutionary Communism as dialectical materialism. This process can be illustrated as:
Thesis (consensus) Antithesis
“The “Thesis” represents either an established practice or point of view which is pitted against the “Antithesis”—usually a crisis of opposition fabricated or created by change agents—causing the “Thesis” to compromise itself, incorporating some part of the “Antithesis” to produce the “Synthesis”—sometimes called consensus. This is the primary tool in the bag of tricks used by change agents who are trained to direct this process all over the country.
“The internationalist change agents must abolish local control (the “Thesis”) in order to restructure our schools from academics to global workforce training (the “Synthesis”). Funding of education with the property tax allows local control, but it also enables the change agents and teachers’ unions to create higher and higher school budgets paid for with higher taxes, thus infuriating homeowners. Eventually, property owners accept the change agents’ radical proposal (the “Anti- thesis”) to reduce their property taxes by transferring education funding from the local property tax to the state income tax. Thus, the change agents accomplish their ultimate goal; the transfer of funding of education from the local level to the state level. When this transfer occurs it increases state/federal control and funding, leading to the federal/internationalist goal of implementing global workforce training through the schools (the “Synthesis”).
• Gradualism (two steps forward; one step backward)
“Regarding the power of “gradualism,” remember the story of the frog and how he didn’t save himself because he didn’t realize what was happening to him? He was thrown into cold water which, in turn, was gradually heated up until finally it reached the boiling point and he was dead. This is how “gradualism” works through a series of “created crises” which utilize Hegel’s dialectical process, leading us to more radical change than we would ever otherwise accept.
• Semantic deception (redefining terms to get agreement without understanding).
“In the instance of “semantic deception”—do you remember your kindly principal telling you that the new decision-making program would help your child make better decisions? What good parent wouldn’t want his or her child to learn how to make “good” decisions? Did you know that the decision-making program is the same controversial values clarification program recently rejected by your school board and against which you may have given repeated testimony?
“The wagers of this intellectual social war have employed very effective weapons to implement their changes.
“This war has, in fact, become the war to end all wars. If citizens on this planet can be brainwashed or robotized, using dumbed-down Pavlovian/Skinnerian education, to accept what those in control want, there will be no more wars. If there are no rights or wrongs, there will be no one wanting to “right” a “wrong.” Robots have no conscience. The only permissible conscience will be the United Nations or a global conscience. Whether an action is good or bad will be decided by a “Global Government’s Global Conscience,” as recommended by Dr. Brock Chisholm, executive secretary of the World Health Organization, Interim Commission, in 1947—and later in 1996 by current United States Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
“You may protest, “But, no one has died in this war.” Is that the only criteria we have with which to measure whether war is war? Didn’t Aristotle say it well when he said, “Educated men are as much superior to uneducated men as the living are to the dead”? To withhold the tools of education can kill a person’s spirit just as surely as a bullet his body. The tragedy is that many Americans have died in other wars to protect the freedoms being taken away in this one. This war which produces the death of intellect and freedom is not waged by a foreign enemy but by the silent enemy in the ivory towers, in our own government, and in tax-exempt foundations.
“A training program developed by Professor Ronald Havelock of the University of Michigan and funded by the United States Office of Education taught teachers and administrators how to “sneak in” controversial methods of teaching and “innovative” programs. These controversial, “innovative” programs included health education, sex education, drug and alcohol education, death education, critical thinking education, etc.
“The use of taxpayers’ hard-earned money to fund Havelock’s “Change Agent Manual” was only one out of hundreds of expensive U.S. Department of Education grants each year going everywhere, even overseas, to further the cause of internationalist “dumbing down” education (behavior modification) so necessary for the present introduction of global workforce training.
“Much of this book contains quotes from government documents detailing the real purposes of American education:
• to use the schools to change America from a free, individual nation to a socialist, global “state,” just one of many socialist states which will be subservient to the United Nations Charter, not the United States Constitution
• to brainwash our children, starting at birth, to reject individualism in favor of collectivism
• to reject high academic standards in favor of OBE/ISO 1400/9000 egalitarianism
• to reject truth and absolutes in favor of tolerance, situational ethics and consensus
• to reject American values in favor of internationalist values (globalism)
• to reject freedom to choose one’s career in favor of the totalitarian K–12 school-to-work/Outcome-based education (OBE) process, aptly named “limited learning for lifelong labor,” coordinated through United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
“Only when all children in public, private and home schools are robotized—and believe as one—will World Government be acceptable to citizens and able to be implemented without firing a shot. The attractive-sounding “choice” proposals will enable the globalist elite to achieve their goal: the robotization (brainwashing) of all Americans in order to gain their
acceptance of lifelong education and workforce training—part of the world management system to achieve a new global feudalism.”(3)
“The only conceivable way to break out of this trap is to repudiate any further centralization of schooling in the form of national goals, national tests, national teaching licenses, school-to-work plans, and the rest of the utopian package which accompanies these. Schooling must be desystematized, the system must be put to death. The connection between the corporate economy, national politics, and schooling is a disease of collectivism which must be broken if children are to become sovereign, creative adults, capable of lifting a free society to unimaginable heights. The rational management model has damaged the roots of a free society and the free market it claims to defend.”(2)