The original title ended with ‘of People and Places’ after I learned that the term ‘governance’ was actually a euphemism for ‘social control.’ That made for too long of a title though. The sudden and steady drumbeat in the last week proclaiming the need to “transform the relationship between State and Citizen,” whomever the next US President may be, quite frankly has scared me. Following up on those sudden articles unleashed a torrent of papers uploaded within the last year on ‘socio-cybernetic steering.’ Gulp. No time to get a book out to spread the alarm before the election and transition. Then yesterday my warnings from the last post about what the Rule of Law has come to quietly mean were reenforced in a very well-connected Regional Housing Forum in Atlanta.
That program involved Affordable Housing, but the assumption was ‘public policy’ controls people and places and elected officials are the designated policymakers. All that is needed to get the “kind of City we wish to have” is an “end goal of legislation and public resources.” As an expert on what is really going on in the so-called silo of education and someone with a fair amount of economics training, these assumptions that prosperity can somehow be decreed and that legislative mandates will not have consequences are wrong. All these clear plans to redistribute the prosperity that more infrastructure will supposedly bring are both maddening and saddening, if the latter is even a word. I felt like Scrooge at a pep rally for people excited at the prospect that they will be able to fly and suspend gravity by legislative fiat.
When I was organizing my notes recently as I prepare to write the sequel to Credentialed to Destroy, I kept having the recurrent thought that the phrases ‘evidence-based policymaking’ and ‘public policy’ had become the euphemisms for what used to be proclaimed a cybernetic steering of systems and institutions. It’s the same concept I have mentioned that the Soviets called Upravleniye— the scientific steering of society. It needs legislation to put it in place, specified goals to be met, and then data to show whether and to what extent those goals are being met. I heard the assumptions of Upravleniye yesterday even if none of the politicians, government officials, and presenters there have heard the term. Maybe I was particularly sensitive since in the last week I had seen Governing magazine do a September story called “25 Years Later, What Happened to “Reinventing Government’?” that I knew misrepresented the effect of that seminal book.
After all, the day before I had put my copy of the David Osborne/ Ted Gaebler book in a particular pile so I could explain the constant references to “all levels of government.” Sudden, common False Narratives just before a watershed Presidential election made me notice that the global consulting firm McKinsey had just put out a so-called ‘road map’ for a “societal transformative effort…fueling a movement toward evidence-based policymaking.” Issued in August and hyped last week it is called “Policy in the data age: data enablement for the common good.” That’s two. Then the Fall 2016 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review arrived with the CEO and Co-Founder of Results For America calling for “Accelerating ‘What Works'” and writing that there “is an urgent need to expand the infrastructure for results-based policymaking at all levels of the US government.”
I know you will be as excited by this incessant drumbeat as I have been, with all these people suddenly “charting a course for improving the way that government invests in social change. Now it’s time to accelerate those efforts.” In case anyone thinks this is just a Left Pincer move to use one of my favorite metaphors for where all this policy making is taking us, http://results4america.org/press-room/works-combat-poverty-lessons-nycs-center-economic-opportunity/ shows Michelle Jolin’s entity is working with Bloomberg Philanthropies and What Works Cities putting on a program with Atlas Network member-AEI. Magically, another Atlas member, the Fordham Institute, yesterday wrote “Can evidence improve America’s schools?”
Funny they should ask that now, especially as Michelle Jolin cited ESSA and the schools as the “underpinning of a commitment to creating a What Works Accelerator is already in place…The next administration will have an opportunity to channel this bipartisan energy into the launch of a new vehicle for results-based policy. A What Works Accelerator will not restore Americans’ confidence in government overnight, but by helping officials to address problems more effectively, it will move public sentiment in the right direction. It also will transform how policymakers at all levels envision their role in driving social change. ” Now I bolded that to make sure we all recognize that clearly, at all levels as the pet phrase keeps reciting, the purpose of governments is being radically and quietly changed from what we learned in civics class, in publications most of us will never read and a forums we are unlikely to attend.
Hold on though please as this gets worse, much worse. Last Friday, GovLab released a paper called “Ready to Govern: Developing a Management Roadmap for the Next Administration” issued by the enormously well-connected (look up those partners) Partnership for Public Service and the IBM Center for the Business of Government. Now I covered IBM and its fondness for a “System of Systems” and seeing education globally as the means in my book, so you can bet I put this paper at the Top of My List of Things to Do. Even so, I was not really braced for what I found as the hurry to shift the US, whoever the next President may be, to a steered, People are systems and so are schools and cities, cybernetic, Upravleniye economy and society. It is everywhere, starting as soon as the election is over with the Transition Team of whoever wins.
I asked myself would a President-elect Trump even have any idea of the true nature or even the existence of this laid-out agenda? Especially if his Transition Team is sprinkled with people with ties to the Atlas Network, since we already have documented the misleading narrative surrounding School Choice. He appears to use the term generically when he speaks, naturally unaware it has a provable, legal definition that ties it to the cybernetic systems vision of Bela Banathy (see tag) and several education profs at Indiana University. I know that, Atlas’ members and their fellows know that, but Mr Trump gives every indication of not knowing the ancestry of the phrase. It matters because as Ms Jolin noted education is front and center to the evidence-based policy making vision. It’s also how the desired Mindset gets invisibly put in place.
As UNESCO’s Irina Bokova put it this week in the GEM 2016 report: “Now, more than ever, education has a responsibility to foster the right type of skills, attitudes and behavior that will lead to sustainable and inclusive growth.” Bela Banathy had precisely the same idea and created what he called a Guidance System to get there that School Choice, properly traced and understood, puts into place as a matter of law. It will be Banathy’s use of the term, and not Mr Trump’s or Ben Carson’s beliefs about what it means, that will take command as the next administration is pushed to embrace evidence-based policy making at all levels of government. It’s unlikely an accident either that one of the listed attendees at the January 2016 Roundtable that led to the Roadmap for the Next Administration is Jim Harper of the Atlas-affiliated Cato Institute. Another listed attendee is Steve Goldsmith, former Mayor of Indianapolis, a Romney/Bush 43 Domestic Advisor and author of numerous books.
See what I mean about those pincers? The paper keeps using the phrase “Enterprise Government,” which works much like what the timely-again book Reinventing Government called ‘catalytic government.’ Enterprise governments supposedly “change how governments work and improve people’s lives…enabling data-driven governance.” The final Management Roadmap is supposed to crank up during the Transition while we are all busy with the holidays and “will help the new administration successfully transition to power and improve the government’s performance throughout the new President’s term.”
It’s not just that I do not believe that governments at any level pursuing such an invasive agenda are likely to improve anyone’s lives unless that someone works for government or gets a taxpayer-funded contract. I am also worried that the nature of this agenda to scientifically manage people, places, and society generally will not even be recognized in time, given all the False Narratives being put forth by politicians and Think Tanks and their employees. Since I cannot cover the entire report let me go to some of most disturbing aspects. Does anyone else think Fascism or Cronyism when they read:
“The impact of open data can be amplified when government works directly with private business on targeted activities. This represents a new form of collaboration, beyond the public-private partnership model, in which participants from different sectors, including private companies, research institutions and government agencies, can exchange data to help solve public problems.”
Now in a steering society, where everything that supposedly affects ‘individual well-being’ gets turned into a ‘public problem,’ this coordination would certainly explain what the various funders of all these think tanks, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, would adore about this model of steering society. Troublingly it also reminds me of what was laid out deceptively as Free Enterprise in the America Next report the Atlas members were pushing that I wrote about here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/knowledge-to-avoid-becoming-roadkill-on-the-bipartisan-global-road-to-dignity-by-2030/ That would also explain why School Choice as pushed by Atlas members in earnest fits with UNESCO’s vision for creating the desired ‘right attitudes’.
My experience yesterday at the Housing Forum can also be explained by what I consider to be the most duplicitous part of the Roadmap. It wants to create a “user-friendly neighborhood data infrastructure…to design better citizen services on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.” Just imagine that dataset in the hands of federal agencies intent on ensuring Equity and Inclusion and legislatively enacting mandatory Inclusionary Zoning and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing or Health Equity. Data gets used to try to enact the UN’s SDGs or the Habitat III agenda at the state and local levels.
Most people would be none the wiser as they, their children, and their communities get redesigned and socially engineered to fulfill a vision Uncle Karl theorized might be possible with the right kind of technology. That this is the true goal just jumps out of the bogus explanation for creating that neighborhood-by-neighborhood data base.
“While retail entrepreneurs are experts in their respective trades, they often lack access to high-quality information about economic conditions in the neighborhoods in which they operate or are considering operating…”
That is a nonsensical statement. Entrepreneurs know that. It’s the governments, at all levels, who want that data so they can supposedly use the Rule of Law and public policy to change it via a so-called scientific management of society.
To close with the inspiration for the title, while alerting American voters and hopefully someone in the Trump Campaign to this attempt to sabotage Making America Great Again, we all need to know that this desired steering is currently scheduled for us. To commence in earnest as soon as the election is over. Either Transition Team is supposed to be devoted to “continue developing an evidence-based approach to governance.”
Looking to “create institutions that can outlast administrations and transcend politics? Do we have the right arrangements?”
Right for whom would be the timely question.