If you think of serfs as belonging to a time of moats, knights, and castles, using them to make a point in the 21st Century must seem a bit strange. And maybe strained. But serfdom lasted for centuries because it worked. Well, not for the poor serfs. Being told what to do, when to do it, and where for someone else’s benefit was a pretty miserable hand to mouth existence. It worked well though if you were born to the class that had serfs. Political power can be like that. Especially if it gets inherited automatically from generation to generation.
So why do I use the reference to a Serfs Collar now? I think it is hard for us to imagine just how rare the idea of an independent individual with rights to make his own decisions without interference from a king, lord of the manor, tribal chief, or state regulators is. It has happened in only a few places over the course of the centuries. Political exploitation has been the norm for most people throughout history unless restrained somehow. The US Constitution used to do it and still should if OBE were better understood. Weak governance will work too. The Dutch prospered in the 1600s because faraway Spain had little day to day control. The English Civil War and beheading the KIng was enough to change the dynamic of who controlled England.
The Serfs Collar metaphor comes from reading politicians, professors, and administrators who see education as a weapon to enrich themselves while adopting instructional policies and practices that are designed and created to make the students easy to take advantage of and manipulate as adults. Why? I know you can already appreciate the ability to predict and control voters. But ineffective instruction also vastly grows the public payroll. Lots of dues and jobs there plus a voting bloc that usually votes based on the benefits available. That magic taxpayer money available through tax levies. Or borrowing.
The last substantial benefit you may not have thought about though comes from the fact that politicians and the regulators hate innovation. It’s unpredictable and it may lead to an invention or superior product that undermines a beloved current campaign contributor. You know that nice one who always has tickets to the Masters and the Super Bowl and will make his jet available so traveling isn’t such a hassle? Dynamic free markets are idea machines. Much better then if you already have political power or established business power to try to rig the economy to make sure nobody changes the current rules and desired money flows.
What better weapon to do all of the above than through education? The control is not apparent. You simply limit what any student knows and is able to do. You change values and attitudes. You make reacting from emotion a habit. You teach students that their unsupported beliefs and opinions are every bit as important and entitled to respect as someone’s fact based analysis.
You create a future voter and worker who wears an invisible serfs collar.
Peter Berkowitz has a piece in today’s WSJ elucidating your point regarding maintenance of ignorance being the primary goal of the indoctrination process currently mislabeled as education.
I’m looking forward to you explication of the various indoctrination programs being used to condition American kids to lives of abject servitude.
Adding to serfdom!
Great first post, RSE.
Thank you for this site. It looks great, and I will be giving your link to a number of friends/family who are concerned with the issues you raise here (and at JOM).
When can we expect the book to be available? I don’t want to miss out!
I hate to be pedantic, but it’s probably best to nip this one in the bud — I think it should either be “serf collar” (serf is an adjective) or “serf’s collar” (serf’s is possessive). Because there is only one serf per collar. (As opposed to a harness, which might harness together a whole team.)
As a retired teacher, I am alarmed: I learned today that California has signed on to implement the Common Core Standards and training will begin in a neighboring county. According to backers, the standards will “emphasize in-depth learning, collaboration and critical thinking.” The forty-four states that signed so far must use the Common Core for at least 85% of the curriculum. Only one brave critic, a member of the county school board, voiced questions about what she called a “ridiculum.”
Its like going back to school. Do I have to:) Great site and I admire your passion to spill the beans on our current culture of subservient obidience to the gods of progressive thinking in our education system. Wil continue to follow you on my own road to releasing the current shackles of serfdowm.
Great first, rse.
I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!
Why are We Talking About Serfs? There are no Castles Nearby | Invisible Serfs Collar Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!
Have you considered including several social bookmarking links to these blogs. At the very least for flickr.
Yes I will be adding social bookmarks. My children claim I must not set up without them. They do not think I am much of a 21st Century Mom. Hope to get that set up soon.