Echoes from the Past: Preparing the Ground for Social Engineers Requires Malleable Human Material

The rather graphic quote in the title of the last post is so useful because it was so upfront about the intention to condition students via education to act in disregard of their natural instincts. Today’s title is from the lead-in to a book chapter called “Education in the Service of Conditioning” from a 1971 book called The New Totalitarians by UK writer Roland Huntford. It is a book specifically on Sweden and how Huntford saw Sweden as embodying the vision laid out by Aldous Huxley in his classic book Brave New World. A place where politicians and bureaucrats used their power over media and education to “induce the requisite change in mentality, so that physical compulsion is superfluous.”

It has always bothered me how often education in Sweden comes up in the story of Radical Ed Reform in other countries. For example, it was where Benjamin Bloom and UNESCO chose to put the summer institutes that started in 1971 to shift countries all over the world towards outcomes-based education. When I researched the creation of the PISA assessment by the OECD in the 90s and what Competency really means as I wrote my book, I learned the OECD already regarded Sweden as being where it wanted PISA to drive other countries towards. When I tracked Paul Ehrlich’s work in education it pushed me towards the Scandinavian model and the UN’s World Happiness Report created in 2012 has the same effect. Recently there was a mention of new charter schools in NYC grounded specifically in the Swedish model. Can you say omnipresent, given what is in fact a small country?

Huntford laid out the reasons he said “of all people it is the Swedes who have come closest to the state of affairs” described by Huxley in the Foreword of his book of the “really efficient totalitarian state would be the one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” We are not there yet in the West, but what I have read and listened to make it quite clear we are dealing with a conscious effort to create an electoral majority of people who do feel that way so they can then bind everyone else to the declared consensus.

To appreciate why we are dealing with what is coming in the US and elsewhere via assessments and curriculum and altered instructional practices and massive amounts of intrusive data on unconscious beliefs, feelings, attitudes, and values, let’s go back to Sweden to find out what made it such a fertile ground for education and societal change research. As Huntford pointed out Sweden was the ideal place to study what it takes to make a person servile since “the Swede has never emerged from behind the veil of the group; he is conscious of himself only through some general category, as a member of a people, a clan or a party.” As we saw in the last post, when race and ethnicity and social justice become must provide ‘lenses’ to bring into a Common Core math classroom, we are being compelled to take on the perspective of the aggrieved group, and not the individual, as well.

This is how Huntford began the chapter on education. It remains dangerously pertinent to what we are dealing with today. Since we have trouble getting officials to be honest with us on their true intentions, we will need to rely on the confessions Huntford obtained so long ago. In a 2014 world where a belief in the Common Good and an obligation for the well-being of others is to be nursed via the classroom, let’s go back to a place where the collective mentality is so strong that there were no words in the Swedish language for the concept of the individual without derogatory overtones. There also were not any words for the collective that do not have positive overtones, as in glorifying it. Sweden by 1971 was a place where Swedes were raised to have a “feeling that solidarity is a cardinal virtue.” It was a place where “Swedes are afraid of owning up to an opinion against the consensus” with a widely-held nurtured belief that it is proper to “repress the individual in order to preserve the consensus.”

As the then Swedish Prime Minister (who had once been Minister of Ed), Olof Palme stated in an address to schoolchildren: “You don’t go to school to achieve anything personally, but to learn to function as members of a group.” What Huntford described here as the need of Swedish planners now seems to be the guiding desire behind the US Common Core and what is called Competency and 21st Century Skills everywhere else. Think of it as the new mantra for the wanna-be nomenklatura all over the world:

“For their intended society, the Swedish planners require a type of person that, thinking collectively, and suppressing his individuality in favour of the group, is technologically orientated, and socially well adjusted. To this end, the educational system was profoundly altered during the 1950s and 1960s. From imparting knowledge, its aim was changed to that of guiding social behaviour.” Remarkably reminiscent then of what we are seeing as the actual implementation and the focus on social and emotional learning and assessing non-cognitive factors in each student. So let’s go back to the social engineering purposes repeatedly stated by the Swedes for comparable ed reforms.

Teaching practices and textbooks (and for us now obtained via the inherent control possible with digital learning) were all tightly controlled by State officials as a “means of controlling what was put into the minds of the population–and what was kept out.” A passage that Huntford wrote about adult education “study circles” in Sweden also reflects what I am seeing as the vision behind the Fostering Communities of Learners Mandate and the so-called Discourse Classroom:

“Participants are taught that, once a decision has been made, then all further discussion is necessarily at an end and that, whatever their feelings might be, it is their duty to submit to the will of the group.”

Huntford called attention to this intention to deliberately create submissiveness as a “kind of conditioned reflex” that is then evoked whenever needed “by this phrase: The decision has been made in a democratic manner, and accepted by the majority.” One of the speakers I heard last fall describing her version of the future and the fulfillment of King’s Beloved Community at last uttered almost verbatim that same phrase. Coming here and soon, indeed. Just like the now ubiquitous phrase of “Equity and Excellence” as the new vision of K-12 education coming from all levels of governments in the US, the Swedish reforms of the 50s and 60s were sold to the public as a “device to promote egalitarian principles.”

Today’s teachers upset over the extent to which their classroom activities are so scripted can relate to the Swedish desire to deliver instruction “in the form of discussions so guided that the pupils felt that they had themselves arrived at the conclusions.” This method ensures that “conviction was deep” within each student and is frighteningly reminiscent of the Common Core’s steady drumbeat of the now required “deeper learning.”

A university prof wrote an editorial admiring the Swedish ed system in a Stockholm paper where he pointed out precisely what we are seeing with the insistence on “authentic tasks” and relevance of curricula to real world problems. He wrote that in Sweden “we’ve got to concentrate on society today” and relate everything taught to “reality.” He noted the need for schools to produce “people predisposed to change. If they were not, they would be unhappy.” Building up on that same theme of avoiding unhappiness, the prof declared it was “useless to build up individuality, because unless people learned to adapt themselves to society, they would be unhappy.”

Reading such plans via education on malleable minds compelled to attend for years of the most impressionable time in their lives makes me unhappy. So does the intention I am also reading regularly of our now aping the Swedes by constantly pointing “out the necessity of togetherness as the only tenable way of life.”  I could go on providing quotes of comparable intentions and the use of agitprop in both ed and the media so that “slogans fall on fertile ground” and people become primed to vote reliably as desired by the current political class.

Instead I will end with a warning that is pertinent to the current reworking of the nature of educational and social science research generally in the US, using students as guinea pigs in real time. Theory in practice in schools near you, including private and parochial ones.  Education in Sweden then like education virtually everywhere now is being reformed with the goal as “not the advancement of knowledge, but the manipulation of society is the highest of aims.”

Therefore we need to remember what Huntford wrote so long ago and why he named his book as he did.

Because when “government and [political] party say that education is to be used to change society, it is no idle chatter.”

Now if we can only widen the circle of those listening in time.

14 thoughts on “Echoes from the Past: Preparing the Ground for Social Engineers Requires Malleable Human Material

  1. Yes, I always believed that the education system should be about the advancement of knowledge. However, this is what we are being told is the purpose of education by the Scottish Government.

    `To promote the ability to learn and to reflect on their own learning, skills for life that will help young people go onto further study, to secure work and to navigate successfully through life. Ultimately, the aim is to make our education system fit for the modern world and improve young people’s achievements, attainment and life chances; through enabling all young people to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.`

    The emphasis has shifted from knowledge to `learning`. The Scottish curriculum has nothing to say about what is actually to be learned.

    Thanks for your blog. It is helping me to unpack this deliberately opaque new education system in Scotland.

    • You are welcome Alice. It is all a convoluted attempt to obscure the reality of a Swedish Shift, both in terms of making behavior and the inner characteristics of the learner the point and also to shift away from the legitimacy of the individual and non-public sector guided economies. It will not turn out well if people all over the world do not begin to accurately perceive what is being gutted and manipulated in the name of education.

      Using education and mass media and CSOs as the means to impose a nonconsensual shift to Marx’s Human Development Society accurately sums it up. I never knew until yesterday that Sweden is considered more directly connected to Marx’s real vision than Russia, China, or Cuba.

      No thanks.

    • Alice-

      I don’t know if you have read the book yet but Chapter 4 on Competency where I explain the function of Transformational Outcomes Based Education and the global Competency push through the OECD’s DeSeCo Initiative should help dramatically with seeing the global vision.

      In Chapter 2, the Reading Wars explanation, I first learned of Rosenblatt’s work on a UK site.

      Then of course the Conclusion is all the international extended vision with UK company Mott McDonald having a lead role. It’s why they bought Cambridge Education and why Sir Michael Barber brought them to US.

      The admitted political purpose described throughout using the creator’s open declarations of intentions is very clarifying.

  2. Robin,

    I don’t know if you’ve seen this, and it’s just somewhat off topic, but Andrew Bolt had this video on his blog: It’s in German with English subtitles and is reviewing the logic behind on-going support of the German green energy program. Late in the video are a couple of veiled references to education and belief that are pretty funny.


    • I had not. I honestly did not know the Germans had such a sense of humor. We went on our honeymoon over there because hubby wanted to see the Berlin Wall while it remained, but after Checkpoint Charlie was gone.

      We found it fascinating that the Germans would stand and wait for the walk sign when there was clearly no traffic coming from either direction. Or wait 15 minutes to draw a hefeweissen so that the half litre was precisely on the line. That video shows a high level of frustration to mock like that.

      Humor is the most damaging weapon when it gets married to truth.

    • You do wonder how far all this will go. To get health information, wouldn’t they be tying into the national database in a few years? They’ll certainly need arrest records from other states, particularly for newcomers, so that could get interesting. If you’re behind on taxes, dependant child care, library fines, or just failed your last spelling test, they could just make this a one stop shop. Definitely going to get interesting.

      • It is going to get interesting for certain. Our state used early learning to have inter-agency data collaboration. We have “hubs” now where you sign up for gov. services, all data is shared. New policy paper out by the state showing three circles of data merged, healthcare, education, work. So potentially educators can see who is on food stamps, and other assistance, federal ferpa/hippa waivers as needed. Comforting no?

        • LL-

          I know you and others will find this link interesting.

          It is all about the different religious faiths pushing for much the same vision of social transformation via education and new values and beliefs we have been tracking.

          It may be tomorrow before I get something new up. I have been travelling and speaking and now have a Shakespeare play to go to my youngest is in. Yesterday I was at a wedding where a chance remark I overheard in line behind a bunch of young ambitious Ivy Leaguers indicated the feds are rolling in money to build up their database and new technology to work with states and local governments. Looks like the human development society to meet all ‘needs’ that Sweden pioneered is rolling forward in the US at high speed with none of our consent.

          It fits with that nsba report “Partnerships, Not Pushouts” and the premise of the Promise Neighborhoods.

          And the fulfillment of Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community vision we first encountered last fall. Everywhere I look is the fallacy that there is a pool of finite global resources that is not impacted by all this redistribution and mind arson.

          • Oy! I think I’ll approach reading this slowly These types really get under my skin. Did you read it? Interested in your thoughts on it. I grasp the concepts, but not near your abilities. There really is nowhere to hide. Heard this week rumors homeschool curriculum has been purchased.

            The group at act 21 has quite the collaboration effort. Especially with J.Q. Easton , Riley and Conley attending nagb meetings, added with that mix Darling H. Dirty little schemers. Makes me nauseated.

            Isn’t it funny how some conversations would have meant very little years ago.

          • Yes, I have read it. It came out of me mulling over KSAVE. I am going to incorporate it into the next post. It really does go to a refusal to allow anyone to have unapproved beliefs or values.

            Unfortunately for the hoped-for manipulators I now have the UN’s entire values curriculum including the instructional modules and how to instill the desired beliefs and values. Nice addition to the Agenda 21 collection.

            And the Club of Rome report from 70s no one wants to talk about. I have a copy of that too now. The confirmations really do just pour out when we are on the right track.

            The most revealing aspects of that report I just linked are the Bahai Faith piece and the Buddhist and Confucianist towards the end. Those religions of course are not being commanded to change.

            It is rather fascinating social engineering intentions though and open confirmation that Ikeda and the boddhisatva do matter. That paper says the Decade of Education for Sustainable Devt was envisioned by Ikeda to implement via education beliefs consistent with this religious philosophy of what we are to believe and how we are to act.

            So much for the First Amendment.

  3. Robin-

    I read this:

    “Unfortunately for the hoped-for manipulators I now have the UN’s entire values curriculum including the instructional modules and how to instill the desired beliefs and values. Nice addition to the Agenda 21 collection.

    And the Club of Rome report from 70s no one wants to talk about. I have a copy of that too now. The confirmations really do just pour out when we are on the right track.”

    And I thought, ” WHOO HOO YAY for Robin Eubanks! Seriously, I am grateful to have made your cyber acquaintance. I have learned soooo much. And along the lines of the documents you have in hand now…do you think you might print a hard copy version of the last two years posts of this blog?

    I save a great deal of it but I have moments of panic when I realize I don’t have it all and I worry about the day your site goes dark through no fault or desire of your own. Gloomy thoughts I know but well you know…..

    • Mari-

      Yes I have hard copies of the blog in notebooks in chronological order and either the books or the hard copied documents of everything I quote or refer to.

      That’s why I can find the relevant old post when I need to.

      My hubby backs up blog to other places at regular intervals as well.

      On the CoR book, Laszlo did a book in 1989 again and even he did not refer to it. Much like the Holmes Report discussed in the book, there was a mention of the book in a footnote and I said Aha. Need to get that.

      I was too busy with life to write this weekend but it is also a function of my also being somewhat shocked by what I now have and how it so clearly builds on what we have been discussing. UNESCO’s Values Curriculum by the way cites our old friend Csik, creator of the term Excellence in Ed as well as being involved in GERG with Laszlo, Raine Eisler, and Banathy.

      • One of the many things that troubles me as I learn from this blog is that terms like , ” Educating The Whole Child” have been in PRIVATE college prepatory schools since the 1970’s. I remember this language being a selling point for my parents when they enrolled me in a private Quaker school in 1973.

        My husband’s first career was as a teacher. When he enrolled at UPenn for his masters one of his first classes was in group processes. It was seductive stuff. He taught and then was an admissions director for an all boys private school in the early 1990’s.

        That school too used the Whole Child language and teachers were being sent to summer conferences where they were indoctrinated with the evils of Teacher centered learning. No teacher was supposed to pontificate and bore the students to death any longer. It all had to be student centered.

        Of course smart teachers back then took the recommendations to mean that they were supposed to value the input from INFORMED students who knew what they were talking about because they had studied for the test and done their homework because the teacher had taught them well!

        They did not think that students were supposed to ‘make meaning” from nothing and consider that sufficient learning. Even as I try to explain this to my husband he argues because he simply cannot fathom that anyone could want knowledge free students. Sigh.

        So I guess understanding what I am now it is so very clear to me that these horrific efforts have been infiltrating far more educational institutions for far longer than I or anyone else have realized.

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