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View Diary: Why the Great Experiment is failing (149 comments)

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  •  Excellent work here (4.00)
    As a former educator, I fully agree with your pointing out the very serious lack of critical thinking skills in the general populace.  I don't know if I would go so far out on the "tin hat" ledge and assert a purposeful "dumbing down" of our society in general, but that it exists and has greatly affected the way our country runs can not be denied.

    However, you make quite a leap of faith in your conclusions about what needs to be done.  First and foremost, we have to remember that we are trying to win at a "rigged game;" at just about every step in the process of regaining control of our democracy, there are rules and gatekeepers in place to try to thwart these activities.  It starts with the burden of having to know the rules in the first place, like filing deadlines for candidates, and campaign reporting requirements.  It is further exacerbated by having to figure out the myriad levels of people from whom assistance will be needed in order to further this agenda and convince them that it is in their own best interests to support your proposed "governmental evolution."

    Your very lofty goals are idealistic in nature, so one needs to make sure that they are going into this venture with eyes wide open, lest the realities of the machinery in place grind down all sense of accomplishment and enthusiasm.

    •  Absolutely - educaton is a key component (none)
      I certainly don't pretend it'll be easy, but I really don't think we have any other choice.  If we fail to act, we lose everything.

      All those barriers, while certainly very real, are not insurmountable.  It's really a matter of getting involved, learning the system, and then using the system to shape itself to your needs.  That's what every great leader has done in some form or another.

      •  More than a key component. (none)
        Education is THE component to great society.  Without solid education the rest really doesn't matter.

        "The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country." -RFK

        by apmiller on Sun Jul 17, 2005 at 12:16:21 PM PDT

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        •  And I say it's no accident (4.00)
          that the Right is going after the concept of free education:

          • by gutting aid to public colleges
          • by encouraging and diverting government funds -- in the form of vouchers or line items -- to ideologically driven private schools
          • by suppressing science where it conflicts with their ideology (global warming, evolution, the list goes on)
          • by going after teachers' unions as "special interest groups"
          • by suppressing open-mindedness in the class setting as "political correctness"
          • by encouraging the commercialization of the classroom through companies like Channel One (in grammar schools) and the infiltration of corporate dollars for "project-based" programs in colleges and universities
          • by encouraging narrow-minded parents to comb through school libraries and denounce on spurious and ignorant grounds any books they deem harmful
          • by reducing funds for need-based scholarships in favor of "merit-based" scholarships (to those "worthy" of receiving them) thereby discouraging upward mobility among the poor by denying them access to higher education
          • by reframing higher education to "career training" and scoffing at the traditional liberal arts as "ivory tower elitism"
          • by encouraging ordinary people to be suspicious of or hostile to those with more education than themselves. We've seen this phenomenon among black urban teens (getting educated is "acting white") and it's filtering into the general population
          • and finally, by encouraging the success of one's education by the amount of money that piece of sheepskin will get you in salaries, perks and power.

          It's easier to create a political underclass if the raw material for that underclass is kept willfully ignorant, or coopted at an early age.
          •  Well said! (none)
            Now, I am about to use a comparison that is NOT meant to suggest that Republicans are in any way racist.  I am not making any generalizations.  That said, to support your point of encouraging ignorace, remember that slave owners did all they could to deny slaves any education.  This was because slave owners certainly knew that the ability to reason and think critically would inevitably lead to a mass uprising.  Once a person can think on their own and see the world with their own eyes, they cannot be controlled.  I think that was what Plato was getting at with his Aligory of the Cave.

            "The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country." -RFK

            by apmiller on Sun Jul 17, 2005 at 12:50:12 PM PDT

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      •  You (none)
        can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

        What will you do with the 50% of the population that is below average? Wish them away?

      •  With a caveat I'd add.. (none)
        Use the system when you can (impeach).

        Change or dismantle the system entirely (see Dec. Independence) when broken beyond repair.

        Do it GREEN, know what I mean?

        by SonofFunk on Sun Jul 17, 2005 at 03:17:31 PM PDT

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    •  Access is the biggest obstacle (none)
      To candidacy ... to candidates ... to issue papers ... to voting booths ... to media ... and to electeds.

      DON'T BLAME ME; I VOTED FOR CLARK

      by DWCG on Sun Jul 17, 2005 at 03:39:00 PM PDT

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