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The police state of the future

2012 April 13
by Ian Welsh

forget the problems of spy agencies, this is the stuff of pure police states.  The Stasi only wished they had it so good.

When the revolution comes, if it comes, the first job is going to have to be to destroy all of this stuff, and to inculcate a visceral understanding that this and all types of constant surveillance are, simply, the hallmarks of evil regimes.

Of course, in time, the descendants of the revolution will forget.  The hallmark of evil regimes for our forefathers was torture, after all.

48 Responses
  1. Mark Gold permalink
    April 13, 2012

    Then there are the simple things going on within US like cell phone companies making a profit over selling your location data from your cell phone to police agencies w/o a warrant. Listen to http://podcasts.tvo.org/searchengine/audio/801144_48k.mp3 Jesse Brown discussing with ACLU’s Allie Bohm or their report at http://goo.gl/yC04A.

    Ridiculous what citizens have given up due to fear mongering.

  2. Mark Gold permalink
    April 13, 2012

    While Canada is generally following US in increasing surveillance it is interesting to note these 2 stories: Can. Supreme Court striking down emergency phone tapping w/o warrant http://goo.gl/64Qwm and contrast Jessie Brown found compared to US of our telcos and passing cellphone tracking data to the police: http://wp.me/p2kSKg-13Ds.

    Hope this trend continues here despite Harper but it will take political mobilizing.

  3. April 13, 2012

    Well, we must have privacy for CIA and other government officials, and for example, important people going on sex tours.

    Total Information Access is for the rest of us. http://bit.ly/HxeFrT

  4. Everythings Jake permalink
    April 13, 2012

    Ian, think you meant InculCate?

  5. Everythings Jake permalink
    April 13, 2012

    Another provocative post.

    It seems to me that one inevitable result of this is an ever increasing use of drones of various shapes and sizes “piloted” by soliders in Las Vegas hopped up on whatever cocktail of pills the military doctors are handing out this week. And, failing that, more brute force “pre-emptive” attacks. But of course, that was probably going to happen one way or the other, here in the long, slow and painful madness that is an empire’s end.

  6. April 13, 2012

    Ah, the unsustainability of authoritarianism. Much like capitalism, it eventually eats its own.

  7. Ian Welsh permalink*
    April 13, 2012

    Oops, thanks Jake, fixed.

  8. alyosha permalink
    April 13, 2012

    Ah, the unsustainability of authoritarianism. Much like capitalism, it eventually eats its own.

    I don’t see anything unsustainable about it. Biometric scanning and databases are cheap and probably effective. A very small price to pay to maintain the status quo, and innocuous enough for most of the population to see it as a good thing.

  9. Celsius 233 permalink
    April 13, 2012

    alyosha PERMALINK
    April 13, 2012

    I don’t see anything unsustainable about it. Biometric scanning and databases are cheap and probably effective. A very small price to pay to maintain the status quo, and innocuous enough for most of the population to see it as a good thing.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Have to agree; democratic societies are not, nor have they ever been, the norm.
    Authoritarianism seems to be what we’re bred for; it seems to be the fall-back position for the uneducated, shallow thinkers, so prevalent in America today.
    Religions teach it, schools teach it, Fox news (sic) supports it as does/do all the candidates in the political arena.
    We’re trapped in Ground Hog’s Day as a condition of our humanity; our behavior repeats over and over and over again.
    Don’t look for the collective solution; there isn’t one!
    Step up to the nearest mirror and ask that person you see: What will you do to change yourself? Not for today, but forever…

  10. April 14, 2012

    Authoritarianism seems to be what we’re bred for; it seems to be the fall-back position for the uneducated, shallow thinkers, so prevalent in America today.

    Sorry, I’m going to have to push back on this rather lazy statement. There are no “uneducated, shallow thinkers.” There are plenty of the mis-educated, and this results in what appears to be shallow thinking – to those of us who have managed to shake loose the paradigms that we all are under tremendous social pressure to accept.

    There is a great deal of very deliberate education buttressing our world-view. And these educational experiments are historically new enough that the jury is clearly out on just how we will collectively – yes, collectively – respond to it now that the curtains are being pulled aside.

    This subject has come up before here, and we are not being “cultured” under anything remotely resembling our natural conditions (what we’re “bred for.”) We are struggling with challenges, that appear to be inevitable under the historically-new distortion of mass-civilization. These challenges are problematic precisely because they are unsustainable – they chafe and they vex.

    We could very well perish in the face of these challenges (or face the perpetual roiling of the boot-trying-to-stamp-on-face-forever), but it is also possible that we will push through this and find something that resembles a proper equilibrium.

    I know that “equilibrium” is also something that has been roundly mocked here as well, and I will concede that it could be just a unicorn dream – but there is no way I am going to accept that what is happening now is either natural, or something that will continue in perpetuity due our flawed nature… to turn it around, I reject that somehow this is the equilibrium.

  11. Celsius 233 permalink
    April 14, 2012

    ^ Possibly we’re talking semantics as opposed to differences of substance.
    Education is not what’s going on in America today; oh, there’s plenty of teaching, but not education in the classical sense, IMO.
    Without a classically (liberal arts) educated populace, I see no possibility of an America that values anything besides empire and it’s subsequent violence. Or any understanding of humanity/humane living.
    I’m not sure I understand equilibrium, as relevant to anything going on in the states today. There certainly in no balance in today’s government, politic, education/teaching, or society. Marriage and relationships are a mess; men and women bouncing around lost, IME.
    As to “natural”; it has long occurred to me that humans are incapable of an unnatural act; everything done by us is within our nature. But somewhere we decided that behavior that is especially egregious to our standard of behavior, is “unnatural”. Impossible, IMO.
    Yes, agreed, we are struggling, and failing, by all measure (globally); and my pessimism is just my outlook, not my behavior.
    Cheers P.

  12. someofparts permalink
    April 14, 2012

    Accepting how much people are forgetting, right in my face, my lifetime, is something I still barely come to terms with. During my childhood Jim Crow statutes were in force. I came of working age when we still had a thriving economy, plenty of jobs, no such things as homelessness or shock jocks. I refuse to forget things like that.

    Thing is, doesn’t seem to matter what strikes me as important. The community around me is elsewhere, an elsewhere that could care less about the histories I value too much to relinquish.

    I have trouble figuring out how to talk to people every day because the difference between our views of the world are that far apart by now.

  13. Celsius 233 permalink
    April 14, 2012

    someofparts PERMALINK
    April 14, 2012
    Accepting how much people are forgetting, right in my face, my lifetime, is something I still barely come to terms with. During my childhood Jim Crow statutes were in force. I came of working age when we still had a thriving economy, plenty of jobs, no such things as homelessness or shock jocks. I refuse to forget things like that.
    Thing is, doesn’t seem to matter what strikes me as important. The community around me is elsewhere, an elsewhere that could care less about the histories I value too much to relinquish.
    I have trouble figuring out how to talk to people every day because the difference between our views of the world are that far apart by now.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    That is an incredible post! It echos my experience exactly!
    However; yeah, sorry to say, we have to let it go; these things change; but what we really need to hang on to are the humanistic values. But sadly, they don’t count for much anymore…

  14. April 14, 2012

    Celsius – If you’re defining education in that more narrow sense, then yes, we have a semantic difference (except that I might challenge how useful much of “classical” education is in the flowering of the natural human being – but that’s a separate quibble, and I don’t come ’round here looking to argue.)

    And of course you are right about there being no “equilibrium” – or balance – in sight. How could there be, without proper education? (Without getting into the weeds here, as an aside may I mention that my perspective on “proper education” is animated by Krishnamurti’s views.)

    I do, however, take issue with the de-fanging of the natural/unnatural distinction. By your usage, the concentrations of toxins through resource misuse is also “natural” behavior. I prefer to retain the distinction and hope for a more holistic relationship with the world – and each other – and call that “natural.” More specifically: The pseudo-reality we inhabit – a construction of the mind – is a meta-verse that I deem “unnatural.” Unlike the singularity dreamers, I find that what Plato might call the unbridled mind and what K. would say is the noisome one, a pox on the “natural” life.

    Peace & love.

    (Sorry about the “lazy thinking” invective – that was rude – and indeed lazy – thinking on my part.)

  15. April 14, 2012

    I’m reading (free on line) “The Underground History of American Education” by John Taylor Gatto
    http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/toc1.htm

    Athens had a real democracy. Positions like sewage commissioner, general, mayor, was filled by lottery. All citizens were educated (not schooled). Nearby Sparta was run as a sham democracy, a managed democracy, that was manipulated behind the scenes by a small elite. There are more examples of opposed systems. Maybe “equilibrium” that we are discussing is Yin and Yang. It is basic Jungian psychology that recognizes our psychological type and it’s opposite e.g. introvert/extrovert, thinking/feeling…. Jung believed in understanding and embracing opposites. Brecht in his playwrighting and in his advice to professional actors emphasized contradiction.

    We have be “schooled” or had it drilled into us that their is no alternative. TINA. But there always exists the opposite. Graeber’s studies of societies and their different means of exchange point to alternatives. Unfortunately, in our last few thousand years we have let the authoritarians reign. But if you do read Jung and interpreters like Isabel Myers, it turns out that people that lean towards authoritarianism, following orders, preserving the status quo, guardians of codes and behaviors are in the majority. So the scale is a bit weighted in their direction.

  16. April 14, 2012

    @MontanaMaven:

    Loved Gatto’s book. The fact that he uses his data as an apologia for the rather cold individualism of libertarianism colors his thesis somewhat, but his exposition on the evolution of modern Industrial Age education is invaluable. Highly recommended.

    I think that damaged people lean towards authoritarianism – and we become damaged at a very early, formative, age with the regrettable hierarchical family-unit model that is so very modern civilization. Child-rearing is a very different proposition in what is our traditional, tribal, organization – the one that existed for the vast majority of our incarnation on this planet, the one that created and raised us.

    Then we had to go and get all clever with agriculture and other manipulations of the Mother. I think (hope) we’ll survive this, and too bad I won’t get to see what comes out the other side, but I rest easy thinking that others will…

  17. groo permalink
    April 14, 2012

    Petro,
    What a coincidence.

    I was watching his longish 2:44 video (youtube) for the most part of this afternoon.
    My bias was: highly critical.
    I was positively surprised!
    The most suspicious sentence I found, is that ‘Darwin is not my most favorite thinker’.
    Whatever he means by that.

    But in general, he has a lot of points, and takes them home with ease.
    He is a very practical person.
    I like that.

    That he identifies the deficiencies of the western educational system by blaming 18th century Prussia, is very disturbing to me.
    I have to work on that.

    His general idea seems to be that the Youngsters should be ‘entrepreneurs’ for their own goals, but this can only be accomplished by an astute recognization of the need of others,
    and the strength – to bear oneself via the experience of loneliness.

    All in all, he is a most valuable person, with most valuable ideas.

  18. April 14, 2012

    Yes, my biggest problem with Gatto is that he believes that all collective action is tainted, unreformable. Whereas I see the necessity for having a healthy collective (and I can identify specific reasons as to exactly why we don’t at the moment, rather than just to demonize collectivism en toto.)

    Essentially, he’s an apologist for home-schoolers at the end of the day, and in modern culture that has more to do with jingoism and theocratic ignorance than it does with criticism of the public education agenda. (And, as Gatto well points out, there is much to criticize about public education.)

    (His Darwin references have to do with the unfortunate behavioral sciences that he presumable laid the groundwork for, Skinner & Pavlov and that crazy “Prussian” (Austrian) Freud & his Swiss doppelganger Jung… :) – plus I’m sure it plays well with the theocratic anti-science crowd as well. He did run as a conservative libertarian for some office or two in New York…)

    are “tells” – gratuitously anti-science because of

  19. April 14, 2012

    ^(Oops, sorry for the editing vestige hanging at the end of my last comment.)

  20. April 14, 2012

    Education is irrelevant. In the face of danger the lizard brain takes over. Obama is doing precisely what Bush did, he is making sure that the lizard brain stays in control. He is a bit more subtle in his fear mongering but no less dedicated in his mission to keep the voters terrified of forces that are determined to kill Americans and from which he and he alone can defend them. Whenever any other topic is raised he will steer it back to “keeping aAmerica safe,” and voters of all persuasion will slurp the message up.

  21. groo permalink
    April 14, 2012

    Petro,
    2nd part,

    Actually I expected Gatto to be boring after one hour or so, but he did’nt.
    I had to watch the whole story, although I had other things to do, and was on the trigger, to shut him down every minute.

    Actually, his type of speech is low-key-and not entertaining at all, in the usual sense.
    He makes all kind of ‘errors’, speech-trainers would warn you about.
    But this had quite the contrary effect on me.
    This could have been sort of a meta-trick, but in his case I am 100% sure that this is not the case.

    Gatto is 100% genuine.
    And I attribute him phantasy, criticality, ingenuity, constructivity.
    What more praise can I attribute to him?

  22. April 14, 2012

    groo – Well, he’s much more precise, even somewhat pedagogical, in his writing (not to say that he’s boring at all.) MontanaMaven, above, has the link to his fine book. His discussion of the Prussian system will have you cringing nicely. ;)

    I agree that he has the sincerity of a true believer – I didn’t mean to imply otherwise with my criticism of his politics.

    I also agree that his input is invaluable – so much of his information is like an oasis in the desert.

    I thought I had seen most of his videos back when I was reading him, but I just sauntered over to YouTube and see that there are many more than I remember. Do you have a link to the one you enjoyed?

    Cheers.

  23. April 14, 2012

    @Petro
    I’m only a few chapters in and love Gatto’s storytelling style that is still chuck full of facts (Well, as much as we can trust any history. But it rings true to me). Thanks for defining what I was trying to put my finger on i.e. “cold individualism”. Moving from NYC to Montana, I’m amazed at that coldness.

    He chronicles how the peasants were kicked off the land and into factories. Here there are many neighbors who grew up on ranches but who now have unromantic jobs like postmen, shop keepers, construction workers, gas station owners. Many are sad and quite a few bitter.

  24. Morocco Bama permalink
    April 14, 2012

    Great conversation. Yes, I’ve read Gatto as well, and share the sentiments. Surely there must be a third way or a forth way or fifth way. Individualism doesn’t have to have to preclude community and community doesn’t have to preclude individualism. That’s dualistic thinking…or thinking inside the box. How do we collectively (gasp) break out of the box. I agree, the Authoritarians on both ends of the spectrum want that box to remain in tact. It’s what perpetuates their power and status. Without that box, they’re pariahs floating in the wind like milkweed thistle.

    I read an article once upon a time that described how some Western NGO traveled to some distant remote land, I can’t remember where, and attempted to teach the local tribe there how to farm more effectively and efficiently. Once they helped the tribe implement the changes, yields increased dramatically, but the tribe became depressed and despondent. When the NGO members investigated, it was determined that they had so altered the fabric of the tribe’s life by changing their daily activities, the tribe no longer had a purpose for life. Prior to the NGO arriving their daily work, whilst inefficient, always yielded them enough to survive and the they had a blast doing it their way. They sang and danced a socially cavorted the entire time. The sad part is, it took forever for the NGO to figure out the reason for the tribe’s depression. The NGO had ruined it for the tribe. They shut the party of life down and separated the tribe out into isolated duties that no longer allowed them to enjoy each other and their “work.” That about says it all, don’t you think. I can so empathize with that tribe. It’s what is sorely missing in my life, and it’s why I know I can never go back to the corporate world without it finally killing me for good.

  25. April 14, 2012

    Seconding Bill H’s comment.

    Though I’m a product and fan of a classical liberal arts education, I have no illusions about what it produces. Just as many authoritarians came out of my college as free thinkers. Just as many torture apologists, conformists, and go-along-to-get-along types. Human nature is what it is.

    This reminds me of arguments people come up with about the “ennobling” effects of the arts. Hey, I love the arts and wouldn’t consider my life a life without them. But they don’t necessarily ennoble anybody. The Nazis, after a hard day of murdering people, used to go home to the bosom of their families and sit around reading Goethe and playing Schubert.

  26. April 14, 2012

    P.S. Oh, and we all know that when Bush was in power we were allowed to use the “p” term. But now that Obama is, the pwogs won’t hear of it.

  27. groo permalink
    April 14, 2012

    Petro et al,

    I was not aware of how difficult it is to find the ‘real’ thing on goooglle video, so to say.

    I downloaded this a couple of days ago for my -ahem- convenience.

    The nearest I found is this.
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6905745218493112954
    (length: 2:44, waving palms in the background -hawaii?-)
    There is definitely something missing at the beginning.
    But it is the same story.

    Now I’m happy that Morocco Bama is also onto this, because this seems to be highly relevant for him and his spouse, and I am curious how he thinks about that.
    Schooling is an extremely important issue, which I missed in my lifetime.

    Gatt actually deconstructs a lot of my convential thinking, and puts the blame on prussian schooling, as the source of the general malaise of the western schooling system in general.

    Maybe he is right.

    What sounds about right to me, is, that the PTB, and here he is nearly a conspiracy-theorist- is that the educational system is designed to produce obediant servants.

  28. April 14, 2012

    Thanks for the link, groo.

    What sounds about right to me, is, that the PTB, and here he is nearly a conspiracy-theorist- is that the educational system is designed to produce obediant servants.

    Yes, and this is where we come ’round full circle. It’s all about respecting the legitimacy of “authority.”

    And there is no such thing as authority (outside of the very narrow definition of one person knowing more about a particular thing than another – in an honest world with transparency and no need to grip power, this is a temporary condition.)

    On the Prussian bit – realistically, the birth of capitalism and the Industrial Age was thirsty for some means of fundamentally transforming agrarian society… if it didn’t pop up there (and originally it was created for the narrow purpose of transforming the behavior of their military), it would’ve popped up somewhere. And the proselytizers who took it across Europe and into the U.S. are just as culpable – if you’re into the blame game. Which I’m not, really. If life’s taught me anything, it’s that we’re all mutually responsible for the whole damned mess…

    Thanks again for the video link…

  29. April 14, 2012

    I thought we talked about all the Prussian-authoritarian-schooling stuff at Ian’s before? I thought I posted a link to the movie The White Ribbon. Hmmm. Maybe it was at Crispin Sartwell’s place. Can’t remember. Thought it was here. Anyway:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1149362/

  30. April 14, 2012

    You’re right, Lisa – I know because I downloaded that movie back then because of your recommendation (powerful movie.)

    But there’s nothing wrong with repeating things a few times until they become truly internalized (as W. said, you gotta “catapult the propaganda”, heh heh.)

  31. groo permalink
    April 14, 2012

    —goooglle –
    funny.
    Even Freud does not help me out on this one ;)

  32. April 14, 2012

    I echo Morocco Bama in the answer being in some sort of synthesis of community and individualism. Martin Luther King Jr said that communism forgot the individual and capitalism forgot the social. He was looking for a synthesis of the two. Gatto has come closest to anything I’ve read lately in trying to come up with practical solutions while blowing up a lot of conventional wisdom with history. His emphasis on freedom, a real freedom from restraints and from being shoved in a box is appreciated. He talks about learning civility and manners so he is aware that the individual lives in a social communal situation.

    Blowing up the way we educate seems as good a place to start as anything. It fascinated me that the Occupy movement had a whole lot of education going on and it was free. MIT professors, strip tease dancers, chefs all came to the parks and taught with a whole lot of practical application for the tribes. That’s when I, a product of liberal arts education, starting question the idea of “school” and started thinking about Plato’s forums. So it’s nice to discover Gatto’s chapter on early forms of education. It also is interesting that a lot of my neighbors including my husband were educated in one room school houses. We have a woman from Pasadena that moved her so she could have her daughter attend a one room school. We have three of them in a 20 mile radius along with the sad typical bunker type elementary school in town. A friend had a son labeled “special” at the town school by an unqualified special ed teacher. He’s thriving at the one room school.

    I am in the movie/television business. A product like a movie is made in about 12 weeks and then some time in post production. The people that work on a movie from the costumers to the set decorators to the electricians (gaffers) to the builders (grips) to the story tellers (actors, writers, directors) to the editors and composers mostly learn on the job. They apprentice. Kind of like medieval guilds. (Speaking of medieval, those folks had a whole lot of leisure time what with all those festivals. )

    As Graeber points out in “Revolutions in Reverse”, we have got to get our priorities straight. We should emphasize the production and nurturing of humans and their environment. Making stuff for the humans should be secondary. Now it is reversed. So why indeed learn to read books and study history in order to fold and sell sweaters? Making sweaters for humans is good though. Telling stories to humans is good. But why do we put a banker on a pedestal when it is really the plumber who is much more important. Priorities. And thinking small, not big.

  33. Celsius 233 permalink
    April 14, 2012

    Petro PERMALINK
    April 14, 2012
    Celsius – If you’re defining education in that more narrow sense, then yes, we have a semantic difference (except that I might challenge how useful much of “classical” education is in the flowering of the natural human being – but that’s a separate quibble, and I don’t come ’round here looking to argue.)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Unfortunately education guarantees nothing as exemplified by the author of “Zen and the Art of Archery”, Eugen Herrigel; he was a Nazi and avid follower of Hitler.
    All of the education in the world opens windows; the more to choose, but the choice is still ours to make.
    As to “our nature” and natural/unnatural acts; all the same. I don’t like what we’re doing to our home and fellow humans, but see that as well within our nature, not to beg the obvious. Ignorance and laziness fuel our self destructive bent towards our environment; when faced with facts some still deny. I have no answer for that.
    You mention K; he will always be one of my mentors along with Gurdjieff.

  34. Morocco Bama permalink
    April 15, 2012

    I’m not sure if this short clip of Gatto on Training Fleas has been linked to yet, but if it hasn’t, here it is. I know Montana Maven will appreciate it. I sure do. My response to it is yes, yes….and yes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJhSAv-NrDo

  35. groo permalink
    April 15, 2012

    what Gatto made clear to me, is that in private elite schools the future elite is trained in completely different areas than the rest of the lot.
    Call this the art of persuasion via rhethoric skills. Those trump the facts on the ground anyday.

    On the other hand, the schools for the rest of us increasingly are about obedience, order and drill.
    The Waltons managing the agenda inside, Coca Cola as a sponsoring entity.
    Count me impressed.

    Now the cheerleaders of societal-hierachical-order increasingly point to East Asia, where children at age six learn until 10pm, and how wonderfully effective this is. (Not considering the youth suicide rate in South Korea and Japan. no statistics for China. Who wants to know anyway? Who cares, if some worker bees at Foxconn die an early death?)

    Reshaping the educational system in the West along corporate interests seems to be one of the big battle-grounds.

    It is not about the complete human being in the Humboldtian sense, but a functioning cog in the capitalist machinery.
    And what is this for?
    To maintain the existing order.

    And this order seems to need a two-tiered educational system, which is not passively maintained, but is ACTIVELY promoted.

    Gatto obviously is aware of that.
    And he does not confront the existing system directly, but offers a third way: self-empowered, proud individuals, who have a sense of community.

  36. groo permalink
    April 15, 2012

    A final note;

    Gatto does not present himself as a leftist, and never directly refers to enlightenment principles.

    Doing so, he accomplishes a rare feat: not to open up an ideological battle-ground, but pointing to a mode of education, which even rightwingers would be hard pressed to reject.

    There maybe substantial differences, eg wrt the role of authority, but he does not make that a central issue. He does this indirectly.
    In this respect, he seems to be more clever than eg Lakoff, who openly declares war aginst the Right and their distortions of the meanings of words, which is correct in a sense, but a loosing strategy.

    This all is a far cry from Habermas’ theory of communicative action, where societal actors engage in a dialogue, to determine what the ‘truth’ is.
    habermas assumes, that all participants in the discussion are genuinely interested in determining this ‘truth’, as a compromise of autonomous individuals, engaged in a substantial debate.
    But this, as we know, is not the case.
    It is cheaters against the decent lot.

    The perverse tautology in all this is that all the cheaters assume that everybody else is cheating.
    This is per definition so:
    If you cheat, YOU HAVE TO ASSUME that you are not the only one.

    On the other hand, if you rely on trust, you tend to create an enclave of trust, defending against deception.

    Those defenders are the gatekeepers.

  37. April 16, 2012

    Glad, groo, you compared Gatto to Lakoff. Big pet peeve of mine is the mindless following of Lakoff’s touchy feely essays on how to win the war between Dems and Republicans by splitting them into the “nurturing party” vs. the authoritarian stern father party. I heard him talk on a panel when he became the next big thing back in 2004. Then repeat the same thing ad nauseum for the next 8 years. Yeh, so the Dems, already known as the nanny party, now should brand themselves as the mommy and daddy party. No, even though nurturing sounds and is, in fact, good, they should have embraced the labor part of the equation. The rough and tumble no holds barred party. Not parental but fraternal. And dedicated themselves to actually doing something about inequality. Freedom from subservience. Function over form. So Gatto leaves Madison Avenue and goes into teaching because he wants to make a difference in kids’ lives. And Lakoff’s secret dream is to be Don Draper and use his language skills to run the Democrats ad campaigns.

    Is Gatto then more clever than Lakoff or is he one of those people we call “good” because he is engaging in communication to get to the truth? Both I’m thinking. (For those following “The Good Wife”, last night’s episode directly addresses cheaters and lying. What is a “good” person to do? Stay true? Play along? Both?)

  38. April 16, 2012

    @MontanaMaven:

    Is Gatto then more clever than Lakoff or is he one of those people we call “good” because he is engaging in communication to get to the truth? Both I’m thinking.

    Agreed, especially the latter.

    I’m watching his “Ultimate History Lessons” interview (thanks for the “Fleas” teaser link, MB) – just completed the first hour (of five). I found his characterization of his classroom style towards the end rather touching and inspired. I’m getting to like him even more.

  39. April 16, 2012

    *”toward the end” of his teaching career – not of the first hour of the interview…

  40. groo permalink
    April 17, 2012

    Montana Maven, Petro,

    You know that I’m an outsider, not really knowing all the intricacies of american debate.

    Anyway.
    As far as is understand, Lakoff makes the debate a mental issue. A meme-fight.
    Lakoff seems to be convinced, that the fight is all abot words.
    Program the memes in the right way, and you win the fight.

    I think Lakoff is a bit off the mark here.
    (the philosopher in me recognizes the same proplem in Wittgenstein I versus WII

  41. April 18, 2012

    Speaking of police states, our comrade-in-arms Jennifer Abel has written yet another column for the Guardian, where she often writes, trying to wake the sheeple. Alas, it’s a losing battle.

    I’ve left more comments at her columns over the years than I can count. And have left several today. But I give up. The naysayers and deniers are off the charts. I just don’t have the energy anymore:

    The TSA’s mission creep is making the US a police state
    The out-of-control Transportation Security Administration is past patdowns at airports – now it’s checkpoints and roadblocks

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/apr/18/tsa-mission-creep-us-police-state

  42. April 18, 2012

    Plus, Lisa, I find out from the manicurist that her family is hooked on programs like “Restaurant Stakeout” and “Undercover Boss”. I said, “Don’t you think it’s creepy and really anti-American aka FREEDOM! FREEDOM! to have surveillance and hidden cameras everywhere?” Not only the restaurant staff is being spied on but many of the patrons. And this is what is called “entertainment”. Talk about “Hunger Games”.

  43. groo permalink
    April 18, 2012

    Lisa,

    this Jennifer Abel-story tells a lot.
    But probably only so much that it gets gets published.

    We have a bit more ‘freedom’ here.
    My suspision is, that those employed at the TSA have an inclination towards sadism, and the ‘system’ uses them as such.

    We are -to my opinion- in an interesting transition here.
    The upper echelons of power rely on the lower ranks, who do the actual dirty work.
    Actually TSA and those immigration-guys are so embarrassing, that I swore to never enter the US anymore.
    If more and more people feel like that, it would be bad for business, tourism and globalism.
    So this results in sort of a contradiction here.

    The vast majority of people are sort of pragmatic opportunists, and go with the wind. This is their good right, as long as it does not hurt them too much.
    Which is a sensible point.
    You cannot run a global system by way of distrust and paranoia North Korean style.
    The PTB know/feel that, to some degree.

    So we have a three-tiered society:
    a) the principled left communitarians, or however you call them
    b) the indifferent middle
    c) the suprematists + their followers

    It seems as if (c) is winning.

    I’m not so sure.
    I think that most of us here have decoded the system to quite some degree, and have a theory, or have even given up, overwhelmed by its logic.

    But it still is necessary to fully decode the system and work on opening the eyes of category (b).

    Giving up, basically would mean to surrender to madness, aka the ‘logic’ of the 1%, which is the sure recipy for desaster.

    I am not ready for that.

  44. groo permalink
    April 18, 2012

    addendum:
    category (c) is not simple psychopaths, but is shaped by beliefs, which have a long history, and are the hidden codes of power.

    Full-blown psychopaths, capable of shaping society are quite rare.
    Not even Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot , Milosevic or GWBush really apply for this single explanation.

    Mostly they HIDE behind an ideology, and you do not see their true essence, which is a subtle effort, constructed by a century-long code of power, ranging from ‘god’ to ‘property-rights’ to the ‘nature of man’ or ‘national identity’.

    Sun Tzu and Machiavell.
    Both, I would say, were Humanists, because they revealed this hidden code of delusion, intertwisted as personal aspiration and projected ‘need’ of society.

    Interestingly enough, cat (c) uses this as a valuably strategy, not as a deconstruction of a defective method, what the authors actually meant.

    Not really surprising, because cat (c) has a mental defect here.

  45. Morocco Bama permalink
    April 18, 2012

    How dare they use a Golden Retriever in such a capacity. They are a beautiful and loving breed. That is sacrilegious, imo. As you might have guessed, I have a Golden….and another Golden before the current Golden (the current one is a rescue). It hurts my heart to see them exploited in this way.

  46. April 19, 2012

    MB, anytime the TSA gets a rash of bad publicity for one of their frequent episodes of bullying, harassment, theft, or sexual assault, they bring out the puppies. Bloghdad Bob over at Propaganda Village (the TSA blog) writes a puppy post. And the media dutifully follow.

    Really, why bother even having reporters anymore? So much easier just to reprint the press releases verbatim.

    Oh, that’s right. They already do.

  47. April 21, 2012

    Good statement there Ian… but what do you mean about the term “torture”, hell just to be subjected to the mass media psycho products of our wonderful “Father of Propoganda” the fabulous one… Freud’s nephew… the originator of … Popaganda… Mr/Dr. … I could say it, but you don’t deserve to know the name…. you who are of that world of belief, you will only know of these things, in your twiltight hours… you will never know.

    Of course, I might be talking about … propaganda… which was what our wonderfull Dr. Bernays…. Freud’s nephew gave to this f’n place… good luck populace! good luck!

    You are so f’ked, because the whole thing is in a stage…. and you ain’t in it Guido!

  48. David Farrell permalink
    April 24, 2012

    Thank you Ian for articulating something I’ve thought my entire adult life, but have lacked the words to convey, no excuse me, the strength to pose such an argument, but hearing it now its easier to admit agreement, I tangent now, but with purpose,I think the United States of America is ripe for a rallying cry to prosecute the banksters, we just need eggs heads who can explain the shindle in plain english on a large enough forum.

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