Friday, February 8, 2013
Where to start? As perhaps you've noticed, perhaps not, what I try to do on this forum is try to gather together the inputs from various sources and reconcile them to some picture of reality that, not coincidentally, seldom fits in with the pablum spoon-fed to us by the mass media. What we do have provided to us is an array of facts into which the powers that be twist, or spin, as they once called it, to fit their own picture of the world.
Not that I'm arguing that they shouldn't do that. How could I? It's what I try to do myself. The difference, of course, is that I don't control the organs of mass communication, giving me more freedom to explore the truth, as I see it. Those in power, to give them their due, don't enjoy the same latitude. For example, when Obama re-appointed Bernanke, the architect of the largest financial fiasco in the history of the world, I was, I believe justifiably, incensed. But what do I know of what goes on in secret meetings in which the future of a nation, and considering it's this nation, the world, are discussed? Or of the awesome responsibility of guiding an economy through the shoals of disaster and collapse that steering the economic engine of global growth into a new structure, one that channels the income of an ever-expanding population into the hands of a few oligarchs, all the while maintaining the support of the very people whose future you've decided should be spent trapped in debt servitude, entails?
On my desk is Van Wyck Brooks, "The Flowering of New England", in which is described a society that had such a love of books and learning that it was considered the first of patriotic duties: "Serving women were not unknown who read their Latin with the boys and girls and heard them recite, after washing the dishes. Young girls who rose at five and asked themselves, "What hard good work have I to do today? ", began with two or three books of Paradise Lost, to give them the proper tone, then talked about Oriental studies. Older sisters advised younger sisters, who were filled with the furor scribendi, to discipline their minds by studying Butler's Analogy. One little girl of seven who had read a book on the ancient gods, telling how much they had been loved and honored, they who no one worshiped anymore, felt her heart fill with pity. All over New England, not only in the "Literary Emporium", as Boston was called, there was a passionate interest in self-culture. Countless houses followed some theory of education and practiced on their friends and youthful cousins. All the sons and daughters of the well-to-do were sent to the "literary institutions", the colleges and academies. Children of the poorer families, who could not afford to buy paper and ink, made their own, or used chalk or charcoal, and learned to write on the kitchen floor; and here and there some group of boys and girls, who had red Washington Irving's Salmagundi, edited a family magazine. This interest in reading and study, in books and authors, laid trains of feeling in the general mind that were about to burst into expression. "
It is through the prism formed by this background that I perceive the direction of the modern USA and the lack of learning and understanding of the world that is constantly re-enforced. A public now that's not based on understanding, but instead on promulgating a set theory of how the world should work that is delivered via a communication medium that, at its very core, is based on sly deception and outright lies, formally known as advertising, such that, here in San Francisco, a local dealer, just to pick one example, blithely promises its customers that it is 100 % dedicated to their needs 110% of the time: A ridiculous meaningless impossibility, the dissemination of which cost an equally ridiculous sum to air.
Far from the excitement of learning you feel from just reading Brooks' passage, it has been reduced to mind-numbing drudgery engaged in for the sole purpose of enhancing the prospects of that seven-year-old girl's being employable in the future.At a time when industry is tossing people out onto the street with a shrug of the shoulders and a kick in the ass, it is endeavoring, in California, to remove fiction from children's reading, substituting it with the ability to read spreadsheets and mathematical datum. Even as it pays less and less for the schools, it demands more input into what should be taught, in order to produce little mindless drones to crunch numbers and kowtow in servile obeisance.
Lest you think I conjure such visions form my own little bean, I would point you to Michael Lind's "Made In Texas": "The purpose of the traditional Southern education was to turn the children of the rich and affluent into the well-read and sophisticated politicians, lawyers and business directors who would run society. The majority of the popluation was doomed by birth to menial agricultural or domestic or semi-skilled labor, and needed no more than basic literacy and numeracy - if they even needed that."
This is the plan for the entire country in the new millenium. While calling for Energy independence, the elite have instead rigged the game so that they get unqualified public support for their drill-baby-drill policy, whereas the true nature of their enterprise is to use the current, and largely unknown, price differential between WTI oil And Brent crude that has been runninga t $20.00/bbl for more than a year now, to export the remaining bounty of America's fossil fuels to the rest of the energy-hungry globe.
In a Bloomberg article entitled, "Trade Deficit in U.S. Plunges on Record Petroleum Exports", this true nature of the plans of the oil industry are shown to be the same as they are for coal, which is being exported in record amounts, even as the Chesapeake Energy Corporation has built an expensive LNG terminal in Louisiana for the exporting of Natural Gas. All the talk of guaranteeing the future of America's energy supply is a sham and a smokescreen. Just as they drained every last drop of oil for export, leaving us high and dry in the 70's such that we felt it incumbent to prostrate ourselves to feudal monarchies and archconservative Muslim fanatics in the Middle East, who petrodollars have enriched beyond their wildest dreams, they are pulling the same trick now on a population that should by now be well versed in their sleight of hand , but who instead, greedily buy into the hoopla in the hopes that gas prices will go down and we can continue to be the world's avatar of energy profligacy and wasteful practices.
By doing so we are (to quote Mr. Lind's vintage 2003 book again) turning into: "Gore Country, which may be an improvement on Bush country, but it is a slight one. To exchange domination by a Southern political-business oligarchy for domination by a coastal liberal elite of invesment bankers and media tycoons is scant progress". But by embracing the fantasy of a life on wheels no matter what we steals 'cause we like how it feels, seems to doom us to a blighted and mentally slighted future. The American Dream we're so in love with has changed dramatically from the one I had growing up (during which time I took for granted the leisure time I had for reading precisely because of those wheels), but the fact remains there are other alternatives to the shopping-as-sport mentality and the absurd future of mankind, depicted on this month's "Discover" magazine cover, of a man with a jetpack flying off into the air and calling it Technolution. As though strapping on yet another layer of whiz-bang technology suggests a positive step in mankind's evolution. It doesn't. Instead, it portends devolution, as a small elite takes over our minds, our lives, and our futures while we indulge in puerile "Jetson" fantasies of easy living with no consequences. We have, it appears, learned nothing.
Posted by Robert Lowrey at 11:43 AM