Originally posted in 2013:
A former student came by today, and we had a wonderful discussion. LW was a frustrating case for me when she was in 9th grade English – she was different from the other students. She wanted to draw all the time, and she was a supremely talented artist – I could see why she wanted to create art instead of do cookie cutter education. I didn’t know it at the time, but she is Exhibit A as to how the school paradigm does NOT work for many students.
We talked about her time at the High School, how it was frustrating. She recognized the fraudulence of the system as a young person. I was surprised to hear her explain how she understood, as a 13 year old, that the politicians were lying through their teeth. I ashamedly admit, I didn’t notice fully until I was in my early 30’s, and actually started paying attention to the words. We discussed the limits and the inherent propaganda in the school system, race in America, double standards and the social hoops that have to be jumped through to move up the ladder in our country today.
I recommended a few things to her – she’s now in her early 20’s and needs to make a living. I will do what I can to help there, but intellectually I volunteered the merits of the following:
1) The Ultimate History Lesson: John Taylor Gatto is interviewed for five hours and he gives you a lesson you’ll never forget. Gatto researched the origins of school in America, and what he found was a miserable story about control and the purveyors of minority wealth and power coming up with a system to maintain a stranglehold on ‘the masses’. The ‘elect’, in Calvin’s terms, deserve to rule The Herd, and they can scientifically prove it. The interviewer, Richard Grove, had pages of questions and notes in preparation for the interview and wound up using none of it as an electrifying gallop through history and philosophy ensued. The discussion is framed in the history of school, and Gatto’s 30 years experience as a public school teacher in NYC. This is truly a feast for the intellect and deserves multiple viewings.
2) Ask yourself – who are the ‘favored races’? When you look at Darwin’s book, who is he speaking about when he places that on the title? LW correctly pinned down that racism in America is often not who or what one thinks it is. Racism is managed, massaged, and used to divide regular folk. These fights and divisions cause rifts that the Power Elite use to divert energy and attention away from them. “The Other” is the enemy, it can’t possibly be the people at the top who dictate policy…
3) Lastly, I brought up Albert Jay Nock’s essay “Isaiah’s Job“. LW noted that some of her friends have not ‘woken up’, as she did years ago. They don’t see the force, fraud and coercion that goes on in daily American life. I noted that I surround myself with like minded people, but not everyone who I consider a friend sees it either. The majority of my colleagues do not see things the way I do, and I suspect they find me funny or weird. I know LW is seen that way by many, as it was already happening in high school when she was 15 years old. Too bad. So many things in our world today are backward. I was late to wake up. I shared that I was the garden variety liberal democrat public sector believer until my early to mid thirties. I then flew to the ‘other’ side of the spectrum – the Establishment Conservative side of things, reading National Review and the Wall St. Journal with regularity. Then, when I realized that these two sides were a managed conflict, and the ideas of freedom and libertarianism came through to me – it was a sudden awakening. It was good to speak with a young, intellectually curious person. What a joy!
Here is The Ultimate History Lesson, with John Taylor Gatto:
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