Neural Enslavement to Instill Desired Virtues for Social Change: Deceitpalooza

Silly me. I got the bright idea of distracting myself and decided to just read some history. I picked Ian Mortimer’s millennium, which turned out to have been published on November 8, 2016. It hoped that a woman would be the most significant agent of change in the 21st Century. Not yet, but after making my way through the centuries, I get to the conclusion only to discover I was not getting a break from the familiar refrain after all. Mortimer wanted to “focus our attention on the forces that are likely to act upon our nature in the future.” The fantastic wealth and levels of technology the world now enjoys were accomplished via the “breaking of boundaries…Many of these boundary crossings can be characterized in terms of the “go West, young man’ paradigm…This paradigm underpinned scientific discoveries, world exploration and economic growth. But with the recognition of the approaching exhaustion of our fossil resources on Earth, this boundary-breaking mentality is out of date.”

Long time readers will recognize this hostility to what I nicknamed the Axemaker Mind and the hope of ecologist Paul Ehrlich for Newmindedness. Part of what we will do in this post is tie this hostility and desire for a new kind of mind to what is being pushed as Classical Education as in this piece touted last week.  It is also tied to much of the organized deceit surrounding the Common Core as so many think tank employees and their mysteriously connected colleagues “against the Common Core” turn out to be tied to instilling a common core of moral virtue using education to create a neurally-grounded, ‘well-ordered soul.’

That well-ordered soul instilled within the student in turn is designed to know and choose based on instilled habits that are consistent with the UNESCO Ethics Framework from the last post, the Positive Education template, DeVos’ moral mandate, Amitai Etzioni’s Communitarian New Golden Rule, and finally Karl Marx’s vision for his Human Development Society. Since Mortimer put it, like Uncle Karl, in terms of the existing base of wealth and technology that had been reached, let’s go back to the quote above to see why “Hey, Hey, Ho. Ho. The Existing Mentality just has to Go.” Bad pun I know.

“The challenge now is not one of expansion but self-containment: a series of problems with which the all-conquering male is ill-equipped to deal. We, Homo sapiens, have never before had to face the problem of our own instincts threatening our continued existence; they have always been for our benefit, the survival of our genes. The frontiers we face now lie not on the horizon–or even in space–but inside our own minds.”

Now let’s jump to how the 1995 book Seedbed of Virtues defined the “Classical Conception of Virtue.” Please pay attention because this definition and book are closely related to both the new Catholic Curriculum Framework, School Choice, and why the American Principles Project/Pioneer report from last fall that laid the narrative for those frameworks (by misrepresenting the nature of Competency-based Education and Transformational Outcomes Based Education) may have done that. This is a little long, but absent the references to Aristotle and substituting Character or Whole Child for Virtue, think of it as what all 21st century education must be doing.  I will boldface the why so we can tie it to Mortimer and Uncle Karl and snark in brackets for current relevance.

“The classical conception of the relation between virtue and politics was spelled out by Aristotle. Individual virtue (or excellence–the Greek arete will bear both meanings) is knowable through everyday experience [Project-based or service learning?], definable through philosophic inquiry [Higher Order Thinking Skills?], and is always and everywhere the same [Truth. Beauty. Good?]. For Aristotle, the virtues are not just Greek, but rather human, virtues. Political life must be seen as in large measure a means to the attainment of virtue, understood as an end in itself. Once the threshold conditions of physical and material security are met, the political community should structure its institutions and policies to promote virtue in its citizens [remember the NIH and Templeton-funded Science of Virtues at U-Chicago?), and its worth as a community depends on the extent to which it achieves that goal.”

To make a long story short, that book was cited in connection with UNESCO’s Ethical Framework and I recognized the name Mary Ann Glendon (Harvard law prof) from both the Catholic Frameworks that wanted to specify Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions that students are to have internalized, as well as being a communitarian associate of Amitai Etzioni. If the book sought to elevate the “collectivity over the individual” and duties over individual rights, it would explain so much of what I have found over the years being imposed though education via an affirmative view of the law. As I am prone to do when I find a vision that is both alarming and clearly connected to what we are seeing imposed on classrooms, I looked up the book’s publisher,  the Institute for American Values (IAV).

Remember how the Ethical Framework recognized the need to control and create new values and categories and principles to guide thought if the sought social and economic changes to meet all human needs via Universal Ethics were to be imposed? IAV turned out to have a Sean Fieler as its Chairman. I recognized that name as he is also the Chair of the American  Principles Project. What are the odds? Then I discovered the ubiquitous Bradley Foundation, THE major funder of School Choice and so much else, delightedly recognizing its support of IAV. I have written about what School Choice actually does and it fits with how Tranzi OBE and Competency-based education actually work. Here’s the stated aim from Seedbed of Virtues that would certainly explain both the support of School Choice and all this documentable deceit.

“need to reshape institutions [like schools, universities, and churches] for the sake of revitalizing civil society…the path to better rather than worse judgments–must ultimately be sought, not in the seedbed, but in the seed: the human person…to control his knowing and his choosing.”

Isn’t that what Ian Mortimer called for in that recently published, much hyped book? Interestingly, last week, many of the think tanks pushing either School Choice or Classical Education or both, touted the release of the Classical Learning Test, to be a successor to the ACT or SAT. Its release celebrated that “instead of individualism, we stress community…rather than merely becoming a number, we want to see students use standardized tests as yet another opportunity to mature in wisdom, virtue, and academic competency.” Boy, that aim certainly sounds like the goal is to instill the internalized rudder of desired personality traits and supplied Knowledge to be acted on as a matter of habit.

An article accompanying the release of the CLT–“Happiness and the Moral Dimension of Education” leaves no doubt that the CLT seeks to evaluate the extent to which a student’s “body, emotions, desires, will, and a mind…are in harmony, working together for the true good of the whole person and his community.”

In 1998, IAV released “A Call to Civil Society: Why Democracy Needs Moral Truths” that saw the historic Western civilization “understanding of the human person as fundamentally flawed…Our capacity for reasonable choosing and loving is what allows us to participate in a shared moral life, an order common to us all..”

In the next post we will look at that document and its implications, including where School Choice and all education reforms are really taking us. We will also cover IAV’s 2003 publication Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities since it gives plenty of reasons for the deceit surrounding the Common Core and education reforms generally.

Hard to force what Uncle Karl called communism and others have called Marxist Humanism or Systems Thinking once enough people grasp the presence of its clear tenets. Much better to do what IAV did in that 1998 report, call for a ‘new society model’, where “society consists of individual members who are encultured by institutions and obligated to the common good.”

Gramsci was not the only Transformational Collectivist seeking to March through the Institutions. He was simply more upfront about it.


24 thoughts on “Neural Enslavement to Instill Desired Virtues for Social Change: Deceitpalooza

  1. the word Harmony is on billboards around Beijing and other cities in China reminding citizens, lest they forget their place. When i see that word I think the only harmony i am looking for is the Beach Boys and a margarita.

    • Me too and Etzioni’s New Golden Rule is full of comparable language. I just love that Seedbeds of Virtue writes that “Today many in the West, and especially in America, look longingly at Islam and Confucianism.” Umm, no. Not looking for an Overlord and I especially deplore this idea of using education to biologically impose these Worldviews while lying to parents and taxpayers.

      How much like Vygotsky’s vision covered in Credentialed to Destroy is this passage from IAV’s Call to Civil Society that followed what I quoted.

      “For these reasons. we understand humans as intrinsically social beings, not autonomous creatures who are the source of their own meaning and perfection. We humans only live in communities, through which we are talked into talking and loved into loving. Only through such connectedness can we approach authentic self-realization.

      From this perspective, the basic subject of society is the human person, and the basic purpose of government–and all other institutions–is to help foster the conditions for human flourishing. In turn, the essential conditions for human flourishing are the elements of what we are calling democratic civil society, anchored in moral truth.”

      At the neurophysiological level of the human psyche located in the human brain and nervous system. Which is of course what “evidence-based education” really means as well.

      • Humans only live in communities …… Hmmmm.

        I think best in specific examples. The people pushing this are not sincere. Humans have always lived in communities but those are not the communities they are referring to. Those communities have always grown and evolved. They mean small units of a centrally specified and controlled plan, not some locally determined and controlled community.

        To quote Sarah Palin:
        “Dear MSNBC, if our kids belong to you, do your kids belong to us too? If so, can we take them hunting after church in our big pickup truck?”

        • The language being used is straight out of Vygotsky’s work. At least he was honest that he wanted a new vision of education to create a Worldview suitable for a new kind of person.

          We get the same language and aims, but euphemisms and partial truths and outright lies diminish parents and taxpayers’ability to clue into what a paradigm shift we are talking about here. These are not fun posts to write. These are very dangerous ideas. Anita Hoge sent out an email a few days ago that someone forwarded to me on Design Recommendations for Intelligent Tutoring Systems and their ties to the Department of Defense. It was not news to me and I have tracked ADL for years now, but I finally got a chance this morning to look at the entire document.

          It openly stated that the “purpose of education itself is changing from teaching facts and figures to developing the mind of the learner.” That frank admission is not sufficiently recognized and its ties to hoped for wholesale political and economic transformation in a collectivist direction are not on enough people’s radars either. Being accused of ‘bankrupt research’ on the previous thread this afternoon is tragically laughable. How I wish what I write was not documentable and I am certainly entitled to my opinions on what I am wary of.

          Thanks for the sarah palin joke. I could use a good laugh this afternoon after also doing a legal webinar to finish my Ethics required hour for 2016 before the March 31 deadline. I should have made a Bloody Mary to sip while I listened.

          • Your legal webinar could be worse. Here in MN there are 45 CLE credits required every three years. These must include 3 ethics credits and 2 “Elimination of Bias” credits.

          • I noticed we have had a name change from Continuing Legal Education to Commission on Continuing Legal Competency. Since I know a good bit about what Competency means, we seem to be in the euphemism stage of getting to here you now are. “This is what you are now to believe”.

            At least dinner is now simmering and the wine uncorked. There is also a Midsomer Mystery from last night to be a distraction.

          • “Commission on Continuing Legal Competency” ?

            I am hardly surprised but how depressing. Not only for it’s veiled meaning but for the predictable evolution of the kow tow-ing terminology for our limited for optimal control vocabulary for the 21st century.

          • Take a look at this and especially the language of the principles. It was cited in a law review article that just came out on “The Limits of Educational Purpose Limitations” given what digital technology can now routinely collect that is not PII either.

          • I realize I don’t even need to state it at this point but…. I despise the term ” learners”. Just makes me want to shower. And among the obnoxious and elitist vocabulary in this piece, ” Beneficence” really stands out as Grade A garbage. It’s all painfully awful. And so blessedly Totalitarian. There is no other word for it. I’m furious . Each and every new revelation is more disgusting and damning than the last.

          • This acronym will really get your blood boiling and make it clear this entire MH vision is coming unless its existence is acknowledged and confronted.

            Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy and it all starts with the human mind, which is why ‘learner’ is their favorite euphemism. “Comrade will no longer mind when we get done with personalized learning.” We can use ‘high-quality assessments’ to make sure the Learner Comrade has internalized the desired Worldview. No need for visible coercion anymore.

        • Hense the need to change all the language. Your town is a community, your library is a community library, your lutheran church is now a community church, and your school is wait for it… A community school. The little helpful apps for your neighborhood are for your community, your school mission says you are interdependant and global. The earth is the globe. The world is the globe. The community thrives on the earth. If it has wellness humans flourish. If we have dislogue in the community we are part of the Conversation we speak out. The big conversations are about the big ideas. Sex ed is wellness is health is biology is global warming is birth control is abortion. It is paying it forward and giving back it is empathy of global suffering not bullying disabled with your ableism and collective racism. It is death by a thousand euphemisms.

          Like the most annoying person in the world who will not shut up.

          • Did you see this story this week where the Right Pincer’s Joy Pullmann is now pushing Growth Mindsets and the works of Vygotsky scholar Carol Dweck? What is even more ironic with the title of that story is that Learning Styles remains a domain data element on the learner collected as part of the Common Education Data Standards to be collected on every student and to be part of the education Integrated Data Systems.

            But then that is why the term Guiding Fiction was created by educators, huh? It’s not true, but believing it and relying on it changes how something is perceived.

            Then a few days later the Federalist podcast featured Marc Dunkelman who is not only hyping community, but he is or was an employee of the Clinton Foundation. Wouldn’t our lives as parents be so much easier if all these people would quit pretending to be pushing anything other than their Marxist Humanist vision of the future?

            That School Choice and the deceit around competency-based education and Tranzi OBE are really about the desire to ensure that “meaning behind the data elements must be consistent across jurisdictions.” The Common Core forced that among all the states and school districts and now the job needs to be finished by scooping up any stubborn private or parochial schools and especially the homeschoolers. It was hard not to think of how Lennie Jarrett of Heartland responded to my valid question on whether ‘high quality assessments’ were a requisite of all ESA legislation or just the one Texas was considering. He immediately switched my question about assessment to ‘test’.

            CEDS says that an ‘assessment’ is “an instrument used to evaluate a person.” So a condition of getting that ESA money is suddenly to have all homeschoolers being evaluated to see if they fit with the approved models. Insufficiently communitarian will be a Big No-No, huh?

    • This fits with todays post and is being pushed by the same people behind the global Positive Education push.

      It also ties through Angela Duckworth of IPEN to both her Grit and Perseverence push and the Science of Virtues and National Mindset Scholars Network based at CASBS. They all go to creating that internalized rudder to guide behavior to fit with a social and economic vision that seeks to move Beyond GDP.

      So does this.

      Fits with the Green Growth documents from my book too. The only real addition is that the neural implications are the purpose, not just a known effect.

    • “Harmony billboards” hehe
      Reminds me of the under rated John Carpenter movie “They Live” (1988). Spoiler alert if you watch the sunglasses video clip on Youtube.

  2. So if the main purpose of education is to get us to be eachother keepers and to bow down to authority, what is the purpose of the grading system?

    • Student grades as traditionally known are going away as students have meet the standard or outcome or competency or not. Grades of schools tend to be about compliance with this vision as is any form of Accountability I have seen.

      The World Bank has created what it calls the SAA framework–School Accountability and Autonomy for global use. Basically it is easier to instill this global template if parents and taxpayers do not recognize that reality.

      You will have to be more specific on what kind of Grading you are referring to.

  3. “this boundary-breaking mentality is out of date.”
    Ahem ….
    Someone said “think things, not words.”
    Much or most of this boundary breaking is not resource intensive and may be the opposite. The breakthroughs in science, electronics, and medicine are not usually resource intensive. I find myself ordering things on Amazon rather than driving around looking or buying. IMO there is an anti-human ideology behind this anti boundary breaking mentality. See Atlas Shrugged.

    Resources have a monetary value. Public schools and especially their employees have an almost unlimited demand for resources for teachers, admins, and gypsy supers. [I love that term]. See CTA pensions for one story among many.

    I doubt that emerging professional classes in some countries will be talked into dumbing down their kids. The most powerful computer in the world now is in China and uses Chinese made CPUs, or so I read. I don’t think the Chinese will be talked back into the rice paddies.

    Off topic: I stumbled on some video clips by David Horowitz that had some very good points. People interested in ideas should lap these up.

    even more

  4. Interesting that David Rockefeller should choose today to die. He supported and contributed to so many entities that helped produce the things we are talking about here.

    • More than most people realize. Most of the education and other transformational reforms, when tracked to their beginnings, show Rockefeller funding or took place at their Bellagio retreat in Italy. I still remember realizing the Rockefellers backed James Comer’s work at Yale that would go on to become CASEL. I think it is Eileen that is still involved with them. This vision of knowledge as concepts and categories that would guide the student’s internalized mental models began with funding of theirs in 1980-the Collaborative for Humanities and Arts Teaching or CHART.

      This religious fostering of the MH vision, which seems alien at first, is far more understandable if we have read Steven Rockefeller’s biography of John Dewey.

      I always envied Seymour Sarason who begins his books on what I would call Radical Ed Reform with a thanks to the Rockefeller Foundation for letting him have use of its Bellagio facility as his quiet place to write. I got the dining room table and setting the oven timer so I did not forget again to pick up my youngest from school. She was not amused.

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