In his book The Flight from Truth, Jean-Francois Revel noted that most people are indifferent to knowledge. It appears that the so-called ‘conservative’ public policy think tanks have been relying on that truism in constructing their narratives about what is actually going on in education. Only “a tiny minority of human beings,” he wrote, are willing “humbly to explore reality and to expose ourselves to unknown information.” All these redefinitions pushed by public policy entities like Freedom, School Choice, Liberty, Limited Government, Standards, etc. all seem to rely on the truth that “the ideas that interest us most are not new ideas, they are ideas we are accustomed to.” We believe we know what all these terms mean and do not recognize they have become tools of a new political ideology.
Revel pointed out that a young Latin scholar, Georg Friedrich Grotefend, achieved the ability to decipher the Assyrian cuneiform inscriptions at Persepolis. The scholars in Germany were apathetic to the news this 2000 year old secret had been unlocked by someone Not of Their Set of Insiders. There was Henry C. Rawlinson, “an amateur researcher who finally succeeded in deciphering Mesopotamian script,” despite a background in military service for the East India Tea Company. Academic Hellenists also did not welcome the twentieth century’s cracking of the so-called ‘linear B’ script of Crete by an architect. Revel noted that all three men: “even though their main activities did not make them part of the university world, were by no means dilettantes. They simply lacked academic degrees. Well prepared for the tasks they tackled, they had personally undertaken serious and even more exhaustive studies than those of the professionals of their discipline.”
Needless to say I can relate to all three men and even more to this follow-up statement that “If their cases merit attention, it is because an amateur, by definition, is not backed by any power, by any network of alliances and friendships in the social milieu of the scientists and the university bureaucracy.” Now if Revel were still alive and in the US instead of France, he would obviously now need to add public policy think tanks and especially those tied to the Atlas Network to his list of what it takes to get recognized. I thought about Revel this past week when this paper came out by two researchers determined to make their university degrees front and center. http://www.moagainstcommoncore.com/Patience,Privacy,Power,Politics&PensionsBehindESSA_4JRedits.pdf I wouldn’t say the report is wrong so much as irrelevant to the true purpose of ESSA.
The Russian word upravleniye does not have an “entirely satisfactory one-word translation” in English. It follows my mention of ESSA because the word essentially means steering or control of society, the economy, and the people themselves down to the so-called necessary ‘subjective factor’ of human psychology. It seeks to regulate likely activities and the scale of values that motivate and guide likely behavior. The 1976 book from the last post mentioned a 1971 Russian book The Scientific Management of Society that was almost instantaneously translated into English. Having covered a 1976 book by Turchenko in my Credentialed to Destroy, I recognized what such an immediate translation meant. The book arrived Saturday and, just as I feared, it is also the blueprint for ‘steering’ Western countries and their citizens, down to the level of their minds and personalities.
ESSA, and its companion legislation WIOA, are the statutory enactments of a comparable scheme for the Scientific Management of Society using data. It’s what the Open Data Initiatives being pursued all over the world (President Obama’s first Executive Order on the day of his inauguration in 2009) are also about. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/circumscribing-knowledgepart-2-of-imposing-mindsets-to-fit-a-new-political-philosophy/ gets at that as well as covering the intentions of the same Boulding we covered in the last post. It is vitally important for us to understand that in order to treat cities, society, the economy, or other aggregates of people as ‘systems:’
“not only are man’s production activities necessarily subject to control, to regulation, but so is his social behaviour.
As for man’s intellectual activities, they, too, are organized and controlled by society, which moulds its members’ thinking in its own image.”
Clearly the effect of controlling values, attitudes, beliefs, emotions, and any other driver of behavior is not news to me. I wrote a book laying precisely that out. What is so unnerving is how closely the 1971 vision fits with what the public policy think tanks are pushing politicians to enact at every level of society today. Let me relate just a few of my personal experiences with think tank deceit so we can appreciate the true impact of what we are dealing with. I thought about it recently as that public policy major and fan of ‘data-driven decision-making’ by governments, House Speaker Paul Ryan, was lecturing Americans and Trump about ‘violence having no place in a campaign,’ while misportraying what was actually said. Ryan immediately made some comment about the rhetoric being a distraction from Republicans pursuing ‘their Agenda.’ He sounded precisely like someone who regards all of us as the Governed and himself as a ruler.
Interesting, isn’t it, that the consistent term in English used in that 1971 book for the people in a society that was scientifically managed by governments at all levels was ‘the Governed.’ It turned out to be a necessary component of the shift from capitalism to socialism and finally to communism. Another odd moment for me recently was listening to ‘conservative’ think tank employees insisting that a Hillary Presidency would be preferable to a Trump Presidency and looking at the attendees (especially from the tech companies) at the AEI Sea Island event. Is Trump the wildcard who might not be on board for this planned steering process of Upravleniye and that’s why he must be stopped? Was that why Jeb was the preferred candidate for 2016?
Last week I attended a breakfast called “At the Intersection of Education & Aging” that featured Dr Matthew Ladner, of the education-focused think tank and Atlas member, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, that Jeb Bush created in 2008. The presentation hyped the dangers to the state budget from an aging population if the state did not adopt the recommended education changes. Now I have to admit I went partly to hear Dr Ladner who had once responded to my point on Jay Greene’s blog that it was important to actually read a school or district’s charter and not simply to assume that the language was about academic quality. Dr Ladner commented back with a drawing of someone wearing a Tin Foil hat. I am a lawyer. Charters are legal documents intended to bind people to a vision they might not appreciate and when I point out that factual concern, Dr Ladner’s response was that I must be a kook. No interest in facts.
Likewise, the recommendations being pushed for K-12 education actually add up to Mind Arson given my knowledge of how they work as an avid amateur researcher with neither an education nor a political science degree like him. The legislators present at the breakfast would not know that, however. They were told x is a problem and y was the solution and that is what they will enact. The whole purpose of the public policy think tanks appears to be to control the narrative while politicians, blindly or not, adopt statutes that fit with all the details laid out in The Scientific Management of Society for the desired steering of people, places, and things.
Is that why Jeb created FEE two years after he began the Bipartisan, supposedly ‘state-led’ process, that just happens to use K-12 education to impose “a programme for standardizing men’s behaviour”? The Atlas Network needed an affiliate at that precise time that would focus on the crucial Subjective Factor needed for social control under the old Soviet-created blueprints? In the last post I mentioned Boulding’s 5th grade Systems Analysis curriculum created in 1973 that “paves the way both for tighter scientific analysis of human and social behavior and for important moves in the direction of unified science.” Doesn’t that sound like Boulding and the Social Science Education Consortium sought to use the classroom in the US to also lay the groundwork for the Scientific Management of Society?
If anyone feels the natural desire to be apathetic to this new information, remember that we now know that in 1976 another well-connected think tank, the Aspen Institute, pushed interdependence going forward and systems thinking. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/pivoting-from-the-joy-of-the-us-bicentennial-to-the-planetary-bargain-dictate-yet-another-lost-invite-so-long-ago/ If planning and regulation are desired how useful is it to create a belief in malleable children’s minds that a “system is composed of two or more interacting parts.” Well, that pretty much covers most things that exist in reality. Now Boulding wanted young minds examining if these omnipresent ‘systems’ were “goal oriented or non-goal oriented; that is, there are systems that act in order to fulfill certain objectives, while others exist without any particular purpose or goal.”
A business that wanted to make a profit would be a ‘purposeful system’ then and a pond was the given example of parts that interact but “they do not interact together to achieve a common goal or purpose.” Now getting students to begin to analyze the world like this does a number of useful things for anyone wanting to encourage collectivism and social planning as a new norm. It focuses attention on dialectical processes so the student sees adaptation and change as normal and desirable. It creates the belief that people working together in any organization are not supposed to retain differing purposes or goals. By focusing the student on seeing a “city, for example, is not itself a goal-oriented supersystem,” the students are primed to believe that politicians will need to adopt goals on their behalf.
To do that, of course, politicians will not have direct knowledge and will need to rely on public policy think tank employees to tell them what the goals should be and how to best enact them. See why WIOA requires systems thinking in all students to be workforce ready? If Upravleniye needs an alliance of government employees and non-governmental actors to push the vision of Scientific management of Society as the 1971 book said, don’t we now have the rationale for the sudden proliferation of public policy think tanks starting in the 1980s and in earnest since 1990? Telling teachers to raise the question with students of “what must the system ‘know’ if it wants to reach its goals effectively?” prepares students to believe that society and an economy can be successfully managed and should be.
Telling them that people are poor because they ‘lack power’ and that “to bring about the desired result, the poor must communicate to the candidate that they are a bloc and that they have particular wants” encourages students to come to believe that all social and personal problems are solvable via political processes. Laying out classroom activities so that students will ‘relate system concepts’ directly to their daily lives really explains why people seem to have changed so much in what they can do and what they expect. It wasn’t accidental cultural change. With WIOA, ESSA, and Open Data Initiatives, we are all at risk of being governed in the sense sought by Soviet totalitarians unless we recognize how all these elements function together.
These false narratives pushed in the name of ‘public policy’ have a common direction and it was laid out in 1971, originally in Russian. Please do not continue to fall for the conflicts of interest surrounding these think tanks and what they or their employees push.
Better tell elected pols at all levels too where the phrase ‘the Governed’ really comes from as well.
And it is not Our Founding Fathers being quoted.