What Happens When Sovereign Political Powers Get to Dictate the Way People Should Behave in the Future?

Years ago the Frankfurt School researchers stumbled upon a useful fact. Once people have heard the same pitch or story from someone they view as authoritative about five times or so, most people simply come to accept the pitch as true whether it is or not. Now as you can imagine, given the stated Frankfurter aim of altering the nature of Western culture towards a more collectivist orientation, this key point (from the Radio Project work if you want to look it up) became a Masterful Manipulation 101 strategy to be used for transformative political and social change. I think whoever was creating the broad outline of points to be pushed at last week’s (co)lab in Atlanta knew all about the Radio Project research.

As Harvard’s new Innovation Fellow Tony Wagner put it, perhaps not realizing someone was taking notes so determinedly, “we need to prime the adults for the change needed” and we need to “create the consensus necessary to preserve this change once it is introduced.” So what was the vision being pushed at (co)lab in addition to King’s ‘beloved community’ we talked about in the last post? Since the head of the US Council of Competitiveness, Deborah Wince-Smith, said the inaugural (co)lab is “going to be transformative for our country,” we really ought to know what is in store for us. It’s this new social and economic vision that requires a new ‘revolutionary’ vision of education as Ken Robinson called it. A vision of the future that requires us to be able to “think differently in the future” in order to meet that revolution and “do things in a different way.” Minds that are “responsive and flexible” so they can “adapt to a world of change” is how Sir Ken described it. Of course he also really liked the vision of change laid out in that Fulton district conversion charter and said so, which may well mean it will be coming to a community near you soon. Yikes!

So if Ms Wince-Smith is right and (co)lab was about Atlanta getting ready to “pioneer new policies and models for our nation,” what might we all expect? Well, the retired head of  Ernst Young said it was part of what is the “most profound geoeconomic shift in history.” Of course, he also said that this push started at the World Economic Forum in Davos about 3 or 4 years ago and was being pushed by CEOs globally. The dramatic changes sought were not just in “education but also infrastructure, transportation, and logistics.” In other words, a boondoggle for globally-operating, politically-connected, established businesses which is probably why it looks so much like Corporatism and authority capitalism.

In case you are getting worried that State capitalism is not a place where mass prosperity has ever reigned no matter how many times Statist professors utter the word ‘innovation’, one of the urban planning speakers informed us that “it was not the government deciding this is the future,” but rather “government plus nonprofits and business all together.” Feel better? Me neither but apparently a solid knowledge of history that recognized what comparable visions were called back in the 30s was in short supply. Or people who would have gasped in horror at the comment that “every half century we reinvent the paradigm for how communities should exist.” No, when planners and politicians make that call historically it never works out well. Someone is unfamiliar with the tragedies of Urban Renewal in the 60s in an earlier version of this state planning vision or the Chinese Ghost Cities of the present.

Other descriptions were the Post Post-World War 2 Model and the collaborative consumption new economy where human needs could be met by ‘currently underutilized assets’. That vision sponsored by April Rinne with her ties to WEF and its Dalian/Davos confabs we keep not getting invited to seems to be priming for the needs/support economy Shoshana Zuboff laid out in her 2002 book we have talked about. The sharing economy dovetails quite nicely April said (with her Harvard law degree she may have taken classes from Shoshana) with what would be its “largest beneficiary-the city.” April made it clear that her vision of the sharing economy was a “reintroduction of the social contract” and about  “building communities, not the marketplace.” In fact she said it was a new “way of seeing the world” where “I need” gets matched to “you have.”

Of course in this vision pretty soon any concept of private property goes away in function if not name since private property has always ultimately been about having a “Do Not Enter” personal zone that even a king could not infringe upon without consent. In this new vision, as we will see with ed in a minute, there is no more sphere that the political sovereign cannot try to direct or remake. Personal ‘sensibilities’ and ‘dispositions’ become the stated subject of needed change and more than one speaker also said that. You can only have private property in a society that has established the primacy of the rule of law and respect for the rights of individuals. As we have seen repeatedly, both of those are areas under coordinated attack by this new ‘revolutionary’ vision of education. Probably because they are impediments to the beloved community society with its new economy.

And Ground Zero for this shift are our urban areas. Washington, DC was said repeatedly to be gridlocked and broken so Atlanta’s mayor, fresh back from speaking at the TED conference in NYC on Reenvisioning The City: 2.0, said that “many of the powers now in DC should be shifted to the 50 largest metros.” Which will of course be an enormous boondoggle for the urban political machines. Taxpayers send money to DC. DC takes its cut to keep that area booming and then the money gets transferred to urban areas all over the country. How could prosperity not ensue? Well beyond political waste there is this pesky little detail that Tony Wagner actually defined the “innovation economy” as both “radically different” and “about solving the pressing problems we face on this planet as a species.”

With federal dollars targeted directly to so many urban areas apparently all things are now possible. I don’t think so but this is in fact the vision attached to all these ed reforms this blog has painstakingly laid out. Getting new kinds of minds and new ‘sensibilities’ and ‘dispositions’ is precisely why we keep encountering such a psychological emphasis as the real theory of how to close the achievement gap in a way that allows all children to ‘learn’ in a definition tied to behavioral change. Now I happen to think both the social and economic vision as well as the education reforms laid out will be toxic. But I do recognize the vision for ed being laid out by the speakers. Beyond Uncle Karl and John Dewey, it is the vision we have described from 1962 that Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers laid out as the new focus. It’s both where Psychosynthesis and the OECD’s Competency/Robert Kegan focus go when you peel away the misleading references to the PISA ‘test’. Now let me explain why all roads and pathways always lead back to a Curriculum of Affect.

In 1970 the Ford Foundation (which also was and is a huge funder of Urban Renewal and Regional Equity visions) published a book called Toward Humanistic Education: A Curriculum of Affect. It complained bitterly that when the focus of education and teaching was on subject matter–what you and I would call content knowledge–it did not “necessarily affect behavior“. And therefore people’s attitudes and actions “with regard to social injustice” needed to be changed in ways that would provoke desired actions. So school should become about discovering “the feelings, fears, and wishes that move pupils emotionally, that can more effectively engage pupils from any background.” By the way, that page kindly cites to Maslow and Rogers for doing research in this area. What are the odds?

That’s how All students can learn and why the methods used must be accessible to the least capable students or those who do not speak English. Which sounds much better as a  rationale than being honest and saying:

“the broad objectives of American education must include the preparation of students to engage in constructive personal and social behavior. We believe existing practice is not affecting behavior adequately. We also believe that in today’s complex, precarious world a society has little choice but to pursue the path toward humanitarian behavior…The ultimate purpose of this report, therefore, is to search for paths to greater consonance between education and the way in which people might or should behave.”

What a coincidence. More than 40 years later that seems to be the real purpose of  (co)lab, that TED-x City 2.0 conference, AND the actual education reforms being hidden as connected to the Common Core implementation.

 

 

 

Creating King’s Blessed Community Thru Federal Spending, a Curriculum of Affect, and No Rational Mind

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.