No matter how lofty the rhetoric about the beautiful, idealistic future to be built via education, if the foundation is mind arson and a refusal to teach reading well because it might foster an independent mind, the future will be one of exploiting people. If governments are directing the economy, who gets what will become parasitic. If I want someone to regularly buy my legal services or tap my knowledge, I have to be good. I better be right. And I ought to be polite and congenial to work with. That’s the private marketplace.
When the public sector controls and pays itself with taxpayer money or incurs debt, power is all that matters. And people get paid not for what they know or can do but for what they are willing to do. Or push. Or advocate for. Even if it’s a terrible idea. Beyond the inherent political favoritism of which companies get chosen when politicians and bureaucrats make economic decisions instead of consumers, there’s no real personal penalty for being wrong or wasteful or pushing abusive ideas like a psychological approach to education grounded in research from the Soviet Union. If the charitable foundations with their compounding annually, untaxed assets push socially and economically destructive ideas, there will still be money for salaries and benefits and more destructive grants next year.
That may all be obvious but it creates huge problems with the idea of research universities, government agencies, politicians, nonprofits, and connected Big Business collaborating and coordinating together to direct a new kind of 21st century economy and society. Only the parasites are getting seats at the decision-making table or they can greatly outvote the productive sector that ultimately has to fund it all. Making my own way in the private economy, I have to get the big picture and appreciate likely consequences. Even the hard to foresee ones. But there’s really no incentive for someone who gets paid for what they push on others from the public trough to figure out what the consequences will be. The only consequence that counts is the inability to get a lucrative consulting contract or research grant or promotion. That’s what controls. It’s why dirigiste economies ultimately produce stagnancy if not worse.
So Sunday and Monday I was at the first ever (co)lab, A Collaborative Leadership Summit in Atlanta with all sorts of Big Business sponsorship. It was to be the template for what is to go on in other cities to push this new economic/social vision for the future. Tom Friedman flew in to give the closing address and Sir Ken Robinson and Tony Wagner from Harvard were just two of the famous education reformers who laid out the ed component for getting to the new desired future. The Fulton County School District’s Conversion Charter that I have been so horrified by ever since I read it was featured as a key component of getting to this reimagined society. A woman by the name of April Rinne spoke on the collaboration, support economy of the future. And since she is also with the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, there’s our link of what Atlanta inaugurated and what went on a week earlier in Dalian, China (Sept 18, 2013 post).
When I went to look into the whole concept of collaborative leadership a bit more, I discovered it is being pushed hard globally by the same group that planned that Dalian conference. http://www.managementexchange.com/hack/stone-soup-global-leadership-new-model-collaborative-leadership-address-today%E2%80%99s-global-challeng Ah, sustainability as the excuse for government control of the economy. That was another key component of the (co)lab vision of the future. I could spend the next few weeks laying out all the troubling aspects of what was presented as The Vision for Our Collective Future. Like it or not, here it comes. No more of an emphasis on the individual and making their own choices. This is an imposed vision and education with a curriculum of affect designed to make students either like it or simply accept it as inevitable. Hopefully though they will act to help make it so, completely unaware of what I laid out in the first few paragraphs of this post.
I want to focus today on a comment in just one of the speeches. It was so inspiring to the audience the speaker got a standing ovation. I sat there in horror though wondering precisely what was coming at Atlanta and the rest of the country in the name of honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Now I have encountered and written about so many examples of the communitarian mindsets the real Common Core implementation seeks to instill. So when the speaker, after pitching the need for all of us to develop empathy for all others so they no longer seem to be the ‘other’ and the need to ‘hold multiple truths’ at the same time (I wondered if maybe she had been listening to Robert Kegan describing his 4th Stage Consciousness or reading Psychosynthesis), then brought up the “blessed community,” I was very uneasy. She said (co)lab and what was being discussed there were supposed to help make Atlanta the “living embodiment of MLK’s ‘blessed community.”
Now I was already going to look that up when I got home even before the next line. Creating that ‘beloved community’ was going to require “qualitative change in our souls as well as quantitative change in our lives.” Sounds like wholesale noetic change and then redistribution. Well, I have heard that pitch so many times in recent years and it never bodes well. Change what we feel, believe, value, wish for, and how we live. How comprehensive that is. How transformative. How personally intrusive. That’s also the goal Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers had that we have covered and for similar reasons. It’s the goal of the humanistic education and the Curriculum of Affect. I have those Ford Foundation financed visions from the 60’s that we will go over in the next post.
What I did not know though is that there were so many people waiting to finalize King’s ‘blessed community’ revolution of civil society and the economy. Conducted through the schools and in the name of the disadvantaged and saving the inner Cities where ever they are located. The most explicit layout of what is really being contemplated dovetails with what King-aide Bayard Rustin laid out in 1965 that we discussed here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/commencing-the-long-sought-bloodless-coup-via-education-to-make-equality-for-all-a-fact/ But the MLK ‘blessed community’ vision that virtually duplicates what we have learned to associate with little ‘c’ Marxist Humanism is described here http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/a-conspiracy-of-hope/the-beloved-community-of-martin-luther-king as being where Dr King had gone in the last two years of his life. And it is this vision that (co)lab and Fulton’s charter and the described reforms consistent with changing the purpose of education are now unquestionably linked to.
When the vision attached to education reforms or political reforms to restructure the nature of cities is attached to language about ” a new more human society” with ‘new values” we all need to pay attention. That aspiration has never worked out well. In the name of avoiding exploitation and oppression and achieving justice and equality, the exact opposites occur because political power and its ability to coerce with minimal consequences to the pushers become dominant. But there is such reverence now for King. Will anyone recognize in time the dangers of blindly advocating for fulfilling his vision “to develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole”?
What about putting the public sector and charitable foundations in charge of shifting us all from a “thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society?” Wouldn’t a curriculum of affect grounded in psychology as the new focus of education be a useful tool for that goal?
We are all being hurdled towards uprooting what we have now to design and create anew. And most people are not in the meetings where this is being laid out at. And there are lots of lies being told in meetings we are at to cover this up so we do not rebel before it is all done. And most of the people advocating for all this are doing it because such advocacy is their livelihood.
No one getting paid to push this has to bear the likely atrocious long-term consequences and they have no incentive to even be aware of them. The people who do have to bear the consequences are largely unaware of what is even intended.
Which is why my typing fingers are getting calloused and my voice hoarse from trying to sound the alarm in time.
As soon as I hear it or see it or read it. Sometimes all three like this time.