April 28 update: Heartland Institute APOLOGIZED, and took down the offending meme! Details here: Heartland Institute Backpedals on George Carlin Bastardized Quote-Meme!
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George Carlin has got to be rolling in his grave.
The Heartland Institute has posted a meme with his photo, fabricated a quote about education that says something VERY different than Carlin himself said when he talked about education, and it's getting "liked" and shared by conservatives by the thousands, all over Facebook.
The offending meme can be found on Facebook:
The lying Heartland Institute meme.
Here's what the Heartland Institute claims that George Carlin said:
Governments don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. That is against their interests.
They want obedient workers who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept it.
See what they did there? They're setting up to make a case for the free market to swoop in and privatize/profitize public (government) education -- because George Carlin!
Except that George Carlin hated everything that the Heartland Institute espouses, and the selectively-quoted words actually come from a prophetic Carlin rant, that rails in irrepressibly colorful language against the very wealthy-business-interests that Heartland represents!
So here's a version edited to add a few more of Carlin's words and thereby begin to expose the lie:
Edited to expose the lie.
And here's the full text of what George Carlin REALLY said
-- so you can see exactly how the Heartland Institute twisted the connection between pronoun and antecedent to produce a bald-face lie (bolding mine, Heartland excerpts in italics; link is to the YouTube video with transcript):
There's a reason education sucks, it's the same reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed. It's never going to get any better, don't look for it, be happy with what you got. Because the owners of this country don't want that. I'm talking about the real owners, now. The real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they're an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They've got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They've got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.
But I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them. That's against their interests. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago.
You know what they want? Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they're coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It's a big club, and you ain't in it. You and I are not in the big club.
This country is finished.
Hear Carlin in his own words in the 2005 video below, and then follow me over the tangled web of deceit to learn more about Heartland Institute.
Heartland Institute is a conservative think-tank, operating out of Chicago since 1984, whose mission is "to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems."
They do this as a prominent member of the right-wing legislation-mill called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where corporations get together with conservative state legislators and crank out model bills to promote and protect the .01%. These bills then appear in state legislatures all over the country -- and wherever the billionnaires have bought themselves a conservative majority (see Wisconsin for example), the bills flood into law by the dozens.
School vouchers are among what Heartland Institute calls its "Heartland Ideas."
Their site is also overflowing with policy briefs such as "The Negative Effects of Minimum Wage Laws" and "Social Security Personal Accounts: Prosperity for All".
[Back to Carlin's actual words: "all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they're coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money."]
Who funds the Heartland Institute? They're kinda cagey about that. But there's Walton money, there's Koch money, there's a whole lot of billionaire bucks.
[Again back to Carlin: "I'm talking about the real owners, now. The real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. .... They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.]
Look in the mirror, Heartland Institute. George Carlin was talking about YOU, you and your owners. And those owners CLEARLY do not want "well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking." Because such people just might be able to figure out your lies, and the plutocratic truth that you and your billionaire-backers just want more yourselves...
and less for all of the rest of us "everybody else."
Hat tip to Catte Nappe for digging further and pointing out that the false meme has actually been circulating around the web for a while. So Heartland Institute apparently didn't do the original "bastardizing" -- but they apparently didn't do any "critical thinking" either when they circulated it!
Meanwhile, Crooks & Liars picked up the story on Sunday (Heartland Institute Edits George Carlin's Words For Cheap Facebook Hits).
And right around midnight on Monday morning, Kelly Carlin -- George's daughter -- posted a "Help me spread the truth" link to the C&L story on her Facebook page. To help her in that quest, feel free to visit her Facebook page and spread the truth in her (appropriately salty) words!