Rising Like a Phoenix from the Ashes Despite Repeated Autopsies and Pretend Burials

The last line about Pretend Burials is my addition to a quote I took from a translated book from 1970 called Three Faces of Marxism .The active disinformation campaign we started looking at in the last post contradicts the informed contents of that Leonhard book, which quoted one Eastern European after another from the 1950s and 60s on the “true renaissance of Marxism … that is the beginning of an event, the beginning of something historic that concerns the future of us all.” I think that same something is going on now and it’s behind the documentable deceit surrounding (1) what learning standards like the Common Core are and why they are needed; (2) the determined effort starting in the late 80s to pretend the MH aspiration never existed and pretend that Soviet Communism=Marxism; and (3) the misrepresentation of what Martin Luther King aspired to engineer through civil rights laws and in the name of the Beloved Community that essentially coincides with the MH aspiration and the purpose of learning standards.

That interconnection woke me up over the weekend and covering this up made me think of the need for pretend burials to protect these theories from the infamy of their history. If you think I am being disrespectful to Dr King, last week I noticed that part of the brigade pushing the organized disinfo campaign about the Common Core was involved with “The Life and Legacy of The Reverend Dr Martin Luther King” https://www.baylor.edu/washington/index.php?id=951374 .The event was somehow sold out before it was even publicly announced. That suggested to me that KIng’s legacy and the civil rights laws and their use to push Equity and Excellence in education had turned into a vehicle for something else that King may or may not have imagined. Since one of the speakers, Cornel West, wrote a book on the ethical dimensions of Marx’s thought I had an idea what that theory might be.

Since Excellence in education means to combine what is felt, thought, and desired into a single active performance, learning standards are an awfully practical vehicle for gaining access to a means of invisibly implementing those ethical dimensions. That insight turned out to be true as I tracked down another book West had written in that momentous year of 1989 where the MH vision seems to have been renamed as ‘prophetic pragmatism’ with John Dewey and his Democratic Education as its exemplar. Ding. Ding. No need to follow just bread crumbs anymore as everyone who has read Credentialed to Destroy will appreciate, but West went on to quote the architect of the MH view of culture and the role of action (praxis), Antonio Gramsci, and his desire for “a new cultural process, different in character from its predecessors,  a process in which practical movement [performance standards like the Common Core?] and theoretical thought [like Enduring Understandings or Thinking Like a Historian?] are united [Higher Order Thinking Skills?] (or are trying to unite through a struggle that is both theoretical and practical).”

See the role of learning standards in these goals of real world transformation and a reimagined future? See why we keep coming across a push to pretend Marxism has no interest in ideas even though categories of thought are actually front and center to the whole scheme? West himself wanted to shift the conception of knowledge to something that would promote “power-laden people’s opinion” as a means of engineering his desired “culture of creative democracy by means of critical intelligence and social action.” Sounds like the MH vision again and after all I have these old books telling me that back in the 1960s there had been “a renaissance of Marxist thinking” that had begun to “crack the ice of Stalinism and to become a stream once more.” A similar observation proclaimed that “After several decades of grave crisis, we may today speak with assurance of a renaissance of Marxism. It rises like a phoenix from the ashes even though it has repeatedly been subjected to an autopsy.”

It’s much harder to autopsy something that is supposedly buried and past history. If renaming it allows a theory to be operative without scrutiny or infamy that’s an excellent reason for deceit. Sure enough when I looked into whether that renaissance in a certain perspective influenced Dr King I found https://acton.org/publications/transatlantic/2018/01/15/3-reasons-martin-luther-king-jr-rejected-communism a recent attempt to misrepresent what MLK believed from a think tank active in pushing School Choice and once again falsely treating Communism and Marxism as synonymous. That whitewashing makes perfect sense if School Choice is actually a Trojan Horse to spread that unity of “practical movement and theoretical thought” in every type of school or education initiative. Let’s compare to this http://ownershipeconomy.net/2015/08/30/martin-luther-king-called-for-a-higher-synthesis/ as well as http://rajpatel.org/2010/01/18/martin-luther-king-we-are-not-interested-in-being-integrated-into-this-value-structure/ and we get a more accurate feel for where Dr King fits with our MH template.

It turns out that everywhere we look into this vision of how to bring about a more just society sooner or later we find a forthright declaration of the need for “comprehensive information” and a new value structure that will be the “powerful force for altering the internal psychological structure of a human being”. We learn that a NEW kind of education is needed that will “develop the skills and deep habits of partnership and working across differences…the work of rebuilding our world requires a revitalization of abilities to see beyond what is to what can be. [This] combines a sacred and public spirit with the work of culture change to rebuild the moral and civic fabric of our society.” Now if that spirit gets wrapped up in the Good, True, and Beautiful or as a return to “the principles of America’s founding” will anyone notice the shift in the definitions or principles from what is historically accurate?

The three areas of deceit not only come together when MH is properly understood, but framing as a civil rights issue brings in the rule of law as the enforcer. If we compare the quotes from my last post or in the comments there to Leonhard laying out the disdain of the USSR as representing a ‘historically transient form of socialism”; and “the humanist Marxists of different countries all agreed that neither the economic model of the Soviet Union (state ownership of the means of production; economic management by central, hierarchically structured planning), nor the political structure of the Soviet Union (dictatorial rule of the Party apparatus over all spheres of social life” and compare that with what so many so-called ‘conservative’ or libertarian think tanks are telling us Marxism is about, it is clear there is even more of an organized disinfo campaign trying to hide the MH vision than there is over what the Common Core is and what competency-based ed is really about.

Student-centered learning as the convergent aspiration pushed by the Aspen Institute, Jeb Bush, and iNACOL makes sense once we know that “the humanist Marxists consider it necessary to move the human problem once more into the foreground of Marxist theory.” Sounds just like King’s ‘higher synthesis’ and what the state of Massachusetts recently said was the inspiration for all standards-based ed reforms. Personalized learning and Betsy DeVos’ repeated hype that students be educated to their’ full potential’ fits right in with the MH “emphasis on man as the starting and finishing point, as the ultimate objective of the entire practical and theoretical work of Marxism.”

If ‘human socialism’ or ‘the socialism of self management’ need ‘ ideas and concepts’ to become operational and “create the social and political prerequisites for any further development,” suddenly all the deceit about outcomes-based ed in the 90s, and the Common Core and the reasons for data collection now, makes sense. It is no longer a shock that when we looked at the National Constitution Center’s curricula we found communitarian redefinitions of Liberty and Freedom. The deceit makes sense if we understand MH theory from Kolakowski’s actual books instead of lectures about him. Perhaps we should remind Mr Kimball from the last post that Kolakowski quoted MH theorist Erich Fromm who “regards the Manuscripts of 1844 as the fundamental exposition of Marx’s doctrine…Totalitarian doctrines and Communist regimes have in his view nothing in common with Marx’s humanistic vision, the chief values of which are voluntary solidarity, the expansion of man’s creative powers, freedom from constraint and from irrational authority.”

Just the way learning standards and competency frameworks really work and consistent with West acknowledging that he needed Gramsci’s thinking to get to his desired social transformations. We also have Kolakowski marvelling at how Gramsci and Marx got to the same place even though Marx’s manuscripts were still not known when Gramsci went to prison in the 20s. Both men were interested in “the question of the relation of human thoughts, feelings, and will to ‘objective’ social processes.” I just boldfaced those words to remind everyone that those words combined are what the definition of Excellence in K-12 actually means and what the civil rights laws are imposing in the name of Equity. I am going to close with a quote that in my mind connects all these aims to why these psychologically transformative techniques for a political purpose may be partly behind the rise of mass school shootings in places using them.

Kolakowski was greatly worried decades ago about Herbert Marcuse and his advocacy for an “ultimate all-embracing synthesis in which thoughts, feelings, and desires are merged in a higher ‘unity’. Such an aspiration is only possible when a totalitarian myth claims supremacy over thought–a myth based on ‘deeper’ intuition, so that it does not have to justify itself, but assumes command over the whole of spiritual and intellectual life.” Kolakowski was right to be worried, but wrong that this desired unity would have to be accomplished by “replacing the tyranny of logic with a police tyranny.” Learning standards represent another way to get around what he said has been “corroborated by all historical experience: there is only one way of making a whole society accept a particular world-view.”

If no one can recognize the psychological manipulation and there is organized deceit around learning standards, Marxism, and Dr King’s vision, who can even see the coercion creating the desired worldview? Once we can see what is being imposed through the mind and learning standards, we can share Kolakowski’s concern of what will happen when power decides that “normative essences must prevail in every domain.” Like him, we may come to see that the words Freedom and Liberty are being used in ways that have “taken on the contrary of its normal sense.”

But that requires accurate factual information and that’s the last thing this vision of education for the future has in store for us or our children.

Hijacking Concepts to Control a Student’s Framing, Sense-Making, and Thus Their Minds

This post arose from my watching two different videos in the last month that left me deeply disturbed at the implications. The first was Learn Liberty’s “Marxism Explained in 2 Minutes” by Deirdre McCloskey where she said “Ideas themselves create consciousness. It’s not an outgrowth of the world’s material condition and the class struggle as Marx believed.” All of my extensive collection of books on what I shorthand as the MH philosophy–Marxist Humanism–regard Marx as believing that Ideas matter very much because they guide and motivate action in the present to change the nature of the future by transforming the nature of society. After I finished researching this post, we had the 200th anniversary this past weekend of Uncle Karl’s birth. This generated yet more pushes like this https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/05/karl_marx_at_200_his_lethal_legacy_lingers.html pushing the idea that Marxism=Stalinism in Russia and that Marx did not believe Ideas mattered.

If Ideas do matter in the MH vision and especially if the needed ideas can be sales pitched as ‘conservative,’ ‘grounded in the principles of America’s founding,’ or ‘necessary for self-governance’, then the MH vision comes roaring into everyday perception and actions via a new kind of education that gets at the neural structure of the mind and sells it as ‘learning to think critically’. That last quote was from a recent Freedom Center video touting the need for a Code of Ethics in K-12 and rightly complaining of Indoctrination. My problem though is that if the admitted Left wants a child to perceive and act through White Privilege or Racism as the motivating Category of Thought and the so-called Right hyping for School Choice wants the Child to think using “Do the Good. Seek the Truth. Create Beauty,” they are both providing Categories of Thought. All these concepts are designed to change behavior in the present in order to transform existing society by altering prevailing consciousness.

See the problem? We have “conceptually synonymous lexical” phrases with the same function. If the MH vision is all about transforming ourselves and the world, we are headed down a troubling pathway with nary a head’s up as to what is really going on. I said there were two troubling videos. The other was a speech David Horowitz of the Freedom Center gave to a Young America’s Foundation luncheon on March 16 at the Reagan Ranch that was touted as “Unveiling the Left’s Agenda of Destruction”. Horowitz used language about America’s inspirational vision that “all people are equal in the eyes of God and therefore must be equal in the eyes of government and that they are endowed by their Creator with the right to Liberty” that reminded me a great deal of the humanistic slogans used in the MH vision.

That created my working hypothesis that if the Left and Right can create shared understandings and motivating ideals in a substantial group of people under a variety of names and rationales, then the MH vision, especially in its cybernetic form, can come waltzing into the America that we love, or other free societies, without people being aware. Saying Marx didn’t care about Ideas makes that easier to do. Taking noted MH philosophers who fled to the West and taught, like Leszak Kolakowski, and then misrepresenting their criticism of what they called they called wrongheaded fallacy of Institutional Marxism of Stalinism as being what Totalitarianism is all about as this paper did https://www.newcriterion.com/issues/2005/6/leszek-kolakowski-the-anatomy-of-totalitarianism or giving essentially the same speech at a Hillsdale College forum in October 2017 on Soviet Communism and never mentioning all of Kolakowski’s MH work means that not only do Ideas matter, but few people even trying to listen in the 21st Century are likely to hear an honest representation of the continuing collective goals that must be accomplished via the mind.

Unlike Kimball, I did not study under LK at Yale in the early 70s, but I do happen to have his translated into English book from 1968 called Toward a Marxist Humanism so we do have some ability to still eavesdrop on what must have been said. Contrary to what McCloskey stated above the MH philosophy is very much desirous of “replacing economic laws” with the “influence of ideology”. We should be very afraid in 2018 with all the talk all over the world of evidence-based policymaking that LK wrote that “theoretical knowledge of society continues to be a condition for the successful struggle of the communist movement.” Remember how I keep warning about a little c vision that we keep encountering as a communitarian ethos hiding behind supposedly conservative terms like Liberty and Freedom?

LK wrote a great deal about the need to gain control over “man’s conceptual apparatus” so that what was True would not be about whether a theory accurately described existing circumstances. It would be measured by whether a Theory was useful in motivating action to Change Circumstances. “Is the model useful?” would become a new criteria of truth. That might explain all the false narratives we have encountered surrounding education reforms that seem to be financed by the same think tanks or philanthropies now driving a misperception of Marxism as a historic philosophy of how to change the future via Ideas that are believed and that drive changes in behavior. LK knew the necessity of getting at people’s “intellectual organization of material” that were “an integral part of the most elementary activities of the human mind.”

Imagine the transformative power of first prescribing, and then being aware of, what a student was internalizing as a Habit of Mind that would then guide his seeing “the world in such terms and from such points of view as are necessary for him to adapt to it and transform it usefully.” And predictably too in known ways if you happen to be the prescriber aware of what the Categories of Thought are that are being inculcated into a student’s “conceptual apparatus.” What makes something totalitarian is actually not the existence of a gulag, but rather prescribing the categories that “constitute the total apparatus of concepts permitted in use and [that] are imposed as the sole and obligatory system of organizing one’s thinking.” Anyone not recognizing that concern of LK’s having been made operational in the new federal law that applies to the next school year’s requirement that all students must be assessed at least Higher Order Thinking Skills and whether they guide behavior?

When Horowitz said in that same video mentioned above that the new Code of Ethics was needed because “You can’t indoctrinate young people. You have to let them make up their own minds,” I couldn’t understand how that rhetoric could be squared with how Learning Standards actually work or his call to Teach the students to Think Critically. Critical Thought requires the use of prescribed abstract categories. How is that actually making up your own mind? It seems more like the semblance of autonomy where the actual coercion gets internalized and becomes the driver of our decision-making but out of OUR sight (but not the prescribers in education, philanthropy, or the think tanks).

Here’s another quote from 1964 discussing the role of cybernetics in the USSR after Stalin’s death unlocked the Role of Ideas again. These same ideas were coming to the US, which is why Notre Dame’s Press published the book The Social Impact of Cybernetics and we should all be aware that “the abstract ideology or the utopia expressed in concrete terms plays a critical role in defining social purpose and hence in conditioning social decisions.” Acting on goals is one of the hallmarks of competency-based education all over the world so its ties to cybernetics and the real MH aims become clear when we read that “action upon the environment is regulated by a continuing process of perception in which the perceived external reality is compared with the end state to be achieved.”

Is Project-Based Learning then about academics to be learned or simply a means to change the child at the level of their mind and personality? If you think changing the child neurally will always come with rhetoric about social justice, any category of thought that seeks to impose a “viable system of value and perceptual relevance (ideologies)” will actually do. Notice the same language from Classical Education and the Barney Charter School Initiative being used back in 1965 from “The Development of Cybernetics” in The American Behavioral Scientist: “Hence in dealing with social systems in which men form the ultimate self-regulating components, we must deal with the problem of the adequacy of perception and of value to effective action within a natural and human environment. The analysis of men and societies as self-regulating systems brings us back to the perennial philosophic problems of the Good and the True.

We need to consider now whether all the deceit about the Common Core and now Marxism may well be hidden in language about ‘conservative thought’ or ‘principles of self-governance’ as used in this press release. http://www.bradleyfdn.org/Portals/1/PDF%20Files/GEORGE%20WILL_Press%20Release-23Apr2018.pdf .After all, one of the other historic terms for the MH vision that I did not have a chance to cover yet is the “socialism of self-management”.

What if self-governance, self-regulation, self-discipline, and self-management are all conceptual synonyms describing a person with the desired internalized systems of thought and value that can act as a steerable rudder for anyone with power who knows they exist? That would be the MH vision of Freedom and Liberty and that really should give us pause.

We are all in agreement though that Ideas do Matter. It’s why they need to be known and discussed accurately and not just in terms of their Usefulness for Social Planning Purposes.