In Itself American: Alpha

We the people of the United States, in order . . .  ” yes, order. Order is the single rule of operation for any State, whether French, American, or Iranian; fascist, communist, Islamist; it does not matter.  Third world dictatorships or totalitarian regimes are not the only kinds of governments concerned for regulating its citizens and residents, our United States government no less than China’s.

The preferred result of any state’s practice is always a more perfect union, and the finishing point for any State would be for all who live within it, all the people governed by its administrators, to serve the state and only the state, as any or all bureaucrats understand, themselves standing firmly as managerial pillars supporting the fundamental tenet that the State must for certain and for always come before the people, that in all matters governmental, the State is Alpha and Omega.  These are dogmas heeded no less fervently than the dogmas of any organized religion are by the pious. States have their demands and bureaucrats their devotions.

These clerics of State, and every clerk is a cleric—they come together in one temper that expresses their function in the following way: everything we think, everything we do and all that we react to should be of, by and for the bureaucracy and the bureaucracy alone, in as much as we are the guardians of the State, the limit of life and reality for all who exist in the state, but bestly, for the state. Of course, Lincoln meant to say, of the State, by the State and for the State . . .

In as much as we in America systematically under educate at every turn in our standard public education, we are not likely to enlist bureaucrats with anything more than the typical less-than education we want; that is, the scarcely literate, and only the functionally so if that, is all anyone in the state will sponsor or to which anyone from within the State bureaucracies will aspire. Our current sense of literacy is the only kind the State considers fit for the Democratic averages, the great social en-masse, more liable to answer the Pavlovan bell of advertising than likely to discern critically; these are the masses accustomed to deciding political issues firstly and lastly if filtered through the sieve of mass media.

Now, as it seems in perpetuity, the State maintains as part of its internal policy of control a scheme of education whereby large numbers of students moving through its curriculum will in the last read no better than the eighth grade, which is the grade level considered by the federal government literate enough. This functional literacy, as the government of the United States calls it could not carry you through the most significant editorials of even the New York Times. It will allow you to handle most of the general reporting in almost any of America’s tabloid newspapers, and even a significant portion of the general reporting of the Washington Post or New York Times. Now whether or not what is contemporarily required to read at the eighth grade today is equal to or less than what was considered eighth grade reading twenty five or fifty years ago or seventy-five is not going to be determined within these pages; however, we do know that there are all of the years of high school beyond the eighth grade, so what have we established when we say that an eighth grade reading level is quite sufficient to perform functionally in society—or is it the functionary tasks of state we seek to replicate in our mass produced high school graduates? How has graduating from High School become an achievement when in New York City still more than half of its public high school graduates read below the 12th grade. Students are tested only up to the eigth grade; the state and the schools need not be accountable beyond there.

For us to utter with such pride, as we do in New York City about the numbers of high school graduates we have promoted in the last several years, when still nearly half graduate reading below grade, is example of one of our greatest delusions. But then an eighth grade reading level will allow you to handle bureaucratic literacy, the kind needed to manage the many forms and applications you will have to fill out through the course of your life, sometimes in triplicate, or simply a number not repeated but certainly insuring the appropriate redundancy, as if the mother of all bureaucracies in America was the military. A variation on this functional literacy has crept into our colleges, particularly at the community college level, but also in our baccalaureate programs.

I noted this kind of programmatic educating from the allegedly kinder and gentler teachers at a Community College in Brooklyn, where there was an enforced mediocrity from the governing administration, to the point that if any adjunct lecturer had ever gotten his students to pass the CUNY ACT exam at a percentage rate nearly double that of the CUNY average, then he or she came under fire from above, firstly, and most likely, for being too teacher centered, whatever that is supposed to mean. But those who use this cliche–another of our received ideas about pedagogy that has only allowed us to systematize failure and ensure a pervasive mediocrity in our students ability to read and write critically–are only too quick to oppose anything that will not keep 2 out of every 3 students in remediation failing the exam they need to take the composition courses they most certainly need to graduate, but finish their course of study more effectively. Through this system of failure we achieve a kind of intellectual mendacity that is difficult for any individual teacher to stand up against when the consensus–when the overarching majority of teachers in the Community Colleges all agree to the contrary. My students were paying at a percentage rate of around 70%. The CUNY average was around 34%. There had to be something wrong with the pedagogy, if I could do this in my classes; so, the only response from administration was not reward but vilification. But at the time of my inquest, the Chairperson of the department was someone with a surname made famous or infamous by Sinclair Lewis.

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Spy, Spying, Spied

To spy or not to spy must be a question for some who have reason to believe that their need to find out exceeds another’s right to privacy. As voyeuristic as we have become–and the world is just a series of key holes, from one to another crouching like a humunculus with left or right eye peering . . . and thanks in part to Mr. Zuckerberg, we have other forms of voyeurism and exhibitionism. How can we not have spied or consider, seriously, spying on others, our neighbors, our family, our friends or social media friends.

Mr. Zuckerberg has considered spying on the American people; his endeavor with Facebook was hatched from a malignant egg, a contempt for people and their foibles. He has even considered spying on us for the NSA–whatever spin has spun since, let it not detract you from the facts of his spying. There are, though, too many of us who do not consider this seriously enough. We continue to use his Facebook when we have the power to crash it and crush his worth. His company takes in only about 30M a year, yet he is valued at how many billions today? The number is no longer significant because it is fantasyWhy would the People exercise their power against power? I could ask. Why would we formidably oppose his power and his monied influence in our society? We could all tomorrow close our Facebook pages to see what effect it would have, but we fear money in America the way peasants in Russia used to fear the Czar. We need to exert the weight of the People against the monied elite helping the state’s efforts at making us less free (that is, if to be free has gradations).

We cannot believe Mr. Zuckerberg is a fascist–and there are too many parallels between Mr Zuckerberg and the Industrialists and monied elites of Nazis Germany, in his and their dance with state power and its agenda against the people, and this is whether they were actual Nazis or not. There are, moreover, too many received ideas to the contrary that impede the conclusions we could draw. Fore mostly, Zuckerberg cannot be a fascist because he is a Jewish American, and everyone knows in our contemporary American received ideas, Jewish Americans cannot be fascists. Right? By turn of like reasoning, President Obama cannot be a stooge of reactionary Zionist factions among the monied and power elite in America and Israel because he’s African-American, and this relieves him of all suspicion for being a front for the monied-power elite. Because he is African American, we can delude ourselves into believing Obama has nothing in common with W. Because Zuckerberg is Jewish American, he must be of the eternal left, a righteous liberal who stands up for democracy. We cannot accept that Obama and W are flip sides of a singularly minted political coin. Policy differences often only mask the politically and ideologically paradigmatic sameness they share. We are unwilling to accept Zuckerberg has more in common with Goebbels than he does Jefferson or Madison, at least until he got caught and had to back track. But we will have to wait and see.

With the received ideas we live by that lie to us and lie in us every day, we imagine we think about politics clearly. We also imagine that by this media conditioning, we answer the questions that arise directly from the events that the media then reshape, mold, manipulate in their packaging of events. these are all threads woven in the veil of delusion we collectively wear. Psychosis can affect a nation as we have seen manifested time and again throughout the 20th century. But parroting our received ideas, themselves given false weight by one or another media, particularly social media–this is all we are able to do in response to major or minor social events, tweet, tweet, tweet like birds in our cages. Yes, this is what we do best.  We, of course, continue to wonder why we are not free, why our liberties are disappearing–or do we wonder these at all?

The organs of the media that should be protecting our freedoms are the organs enlisted by the state to undermine them and the People’s right to them. Facebook is adjunct to the NSA . . . no? It is not? I watch sycophantic talking heads on TV gushing in some common cacophony over the likes of Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, the former themselves grossly overpaid . . . but then, who am I? All of this is just sour grapes, and there are no reasons to be upset, or angry, over the margins of greed that we take for granted. Of course Zuckerberg is eentitled to a worth grossly exaggerated from what his company actually brings in every year. He seems also to be entitled to being Chief spy in America, an enemy of the People. I hold that truth to be virtually self-evident. Nonetheless, I over react, right? I am paranoid, surely, no? I won’t waste time trying to prove otherwise. I have a lot more to say and will continue to say it for as long as I can–for as long as I am allowed to continue.

Facebook already has taken down my Facebook page, assumably for my attacks on power and money, Jeremiads and other diatribes, all in lamentation on the excesses of our elites. Orwell’s nightmare is now, for those who wake up–sleep walking what we do mostly. 1984 is anytime anywhere the media is controlled by a select group with a common agenda that has nothing to do with universality or freedom or democracy but simply maintaining the appearance of one or another. What was it that Sinclair Lewis said about it happening here? Yes, it can. When fascism comes to America it will come under the guise of Americanism, waving the flag, rallying everyone around the idea that we are commonly threatened and that we must give away some of our freedoms to be secure. But this will come from either the right or the left. And it will fill its ranks with those in our society that we would never suspect, at least not when aligned with the grossest of our most cherished media-received ideas. But Thomas Paine still echoes loudly enough At what price peace? The Patriot Act gives too much power to those who police us, just as too much influence is given to those who run our media, whether print, broadcast and social. Too many of us talk about the existence of contemporary power as if it were a fact of nature, a universal law of physics. This is equal to the kind of complacency that undermines all effective democracy in response to power. We need a will of the People instead of a state serving, power and money adulating Public. But then, when fascism comes to America it will be multi-racial and multi-cultural. The reason we have such poor responses to women’s rights and gay marriage and the outcropping of racism in our political geology is the fact that the Left has moved too far to the right.

A man journeying on a road sees the glowing Buddha from afar and comes to the Buddha and asks him who he is. What are you? The man wants to know. He poses one question after another to the Buddha, Are you . . .? Are you . . .? Are you a spirit? Are you a god? An angel–what? The Buddha patiently says no to each question, as many as the man has asked. The man finally in exasperation asks one last time, What are you? To this, the Buddha finally says, after an appropriate pause, Awake!

We should be so enlightened. Wake up.