How can we expect to get any politician other than Bush or Cheney or Bloomburg or Spitzer, or Clinton, or Wiener, or any other contemporary politico, when we have so little respect, so flaccid a reverence for Truth, for Reason, for Objectivity, for Beauty, for any capital letter noun. Even the language we speak, we possess so little love and passion for it. Speaking and writing are no longer endeavors to be perfected, set in judgement by a hierarchy of standards, no. We have even less reverence for the literary. You cannot tell me that what passes for education in the Public Schools, let’s examine here in New York City, or what is maintained as the educational standards in many of the institutions of higher learning anywhere, especially in the community colleges, has anything to do with the traditions of universita as I understand them over time in our tradition(s). That’s our tradition in our western civilization, which, like my Italian-Italian cousins, I understand exists and has existed for more than a millennia; or, our traditions in as much as there are many cultures in this civilization’s mainstream and tributary streams.
The overarching pedagogy in our culture has only to do with the most topical and relevant in education, a pedagogy that panders to the new student as patron, student as customer, university as store. We cannot really believe that the loss of liberty or the erosion of civil rights has nothing to do with waning literacy, the inability to express ourselves in the written word; and after having spent more than fifteen years teaching freshman composition in several colleges. it is clear to me that a systematic effort to under educate is a multi pronged initiative to, one, get more while delivering less; teachers do less and students learn less and leave with lesser abilities; two, students who learn less and develop lesser abilities also fail more often, even at lower standards (which had to be lowered to adjust upwardly the percentages of those who do pass while being under educated); this perpetuates the need for remediation at the college level, thus more jobs for those who are getting more for less by under teaching; three, insuring that power and its politics will continue to support their under efforts because a semi literate undereducated population is more easily controlled than even a peasant/folk illiterate one; and this undereducated population will not be able to negotiate the forums for greater democracy or democratization. By design or in effect, however it has happened, it is happening now and our nation as a nation of people suffers; as a nation of the public, a public that always abdicates its role as the people, a public that must be in service to the state in order to get its crumbs from the table of the state–as this kind of nation, the idea is spreading. By this we have seen power become more powerful and money more monied.
Of course now the University of learning is the Diversity of appearing to have learned, which in fact is only another form of subdividing the market to increase profits, the profit here for the colleges is enrollment, for the state, an increase or a perpetuation of enough under qualified to fill the welfare roles, if not just enough semi qualified to fit the perfunctory office menials who will partly administer the state bureaucracy which will only grow and demand that morons be managers. pedagogics of failure in our teaching of reading and writing ensure that both of these are either perpetual or maximized; it will insure we have enough people who will prefer bread and circuses to advanced literacy and freedom.
We have submitted ourselves and our energies to engaging the ritual practices of the dual cults of the Now and the New; neither of these serve truth, both of them preach the salvation of doubt. Both of them or either at any time here and now, or then and there, serve only Mammon inside the ritual practices of the most degraded materialism. American materialism is a religion where we worship a new God as ourselves, doing so as no one devout anywhere in the world at any time would have for his God or Gods. Religious faith has transferred its manifest forms. One of the greatest tricks of our culture has been to convince us in our liberalism that all organized religions are the enemies of freedom, while we maintain a fervent religiosity for all things secular, for all things material.