Class Warfare Blog

December 16, 2016

The Wrong Way

We are clearly going the wrong way in our collective efforts.

The plutocrats running this country, for example, have seemingly convinced us that the only reason for a corporation to exist is to make more and more money. This is a bogus idea in the first place and valueless in the second. This only makes sense if you believe that when a company makes more and more money, that means more and better jobs for its employees, more and better service to its community, more and better effects on the planet, etc. If you actually believe this idea, I have some tooth fairy stock you might be interested in.

Do we really expect our corporations to be so shallow? What about in recent times when corporations listed “being a good corporate citizen” in their glossy brochures? What about existing to provide quality jobs for citizens as some Japanese corporations did? What about a stated ethos similar to that of backpackers: “to leave the world a better place than we found it.”

If all we expect of corporations is to make more and more money as their sole goal, we will end up with corporate executives using how much money they make as the sole criterion to establish their merit and worth to society … oh. So, instead of pissing contests and “my dick is bigger than yours,” today’s plutocrats establish their dominance by how much money they or their corporation makes. The money is just a symbolic stand it for a businessman’s dick. This is how we get Bill Gates meeting with President-elect Donald Trump and then likening him to JFK. (Bill Gates was 6 years old when Kennedy was elected president and, hence, has no direct memories of that time. So, he really knows neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Kennedy all that well, but they were both rich, so they both must have big dicks, just like Mr. Gates.)

In another arena, the religious right in this country is burning the midnight oil to transform the public education of our children. They want all schools to teach the core concepts of their religion: the existence of God, creationism, etc. and having failed that, they are trying to make sure that their local schools do. So, they are “all in” for school vouchers and charter schools with no state control over curriculum, funding, etc. The state, the representative of all of the people, is just supposed to supply the public funds for their religious schools and then go away and shut up. Where these policies have been implemented, corruption has soon followed, but ignoring that for the moment, consider what the consequences of this “movement” are. If vouchers and charter schools become common then every community will have their own version of religious schools. We have always had religious schools, but they were “private” and not funded by the state. Since they were separate and not publicly funded, they were not regulated at all like secular public schools. Once we have public religious schools, all Hell will break loose. In any sizeable community, if the religious right have their way and if, say, a large middle school is serving their religious needs, then we will have problems. If the curriculum is Protestant, then Catholic parents are not going to want their kids going to that school, so they will open their own school (or if they already have a private Catholic school, it will “re-open” as a charter school and be supported by public funds. And then Muslim parents will not want their children to go to either of those schools, etc. And will Seventh Day Adventist parents want their kids going to a Baptist school? And those Mormon parents, will … I think you see the problem. This “movement” toward school vouchers and unregulated charter schools is not one that brings people together, and by sharing their thoughts leads to better understandings between and among people. This is a movement that leads to separation, a separation that doesn’t cause interactions that lead to more understand between people. Imagine if kids going to religious schools never have to go to a school in which other students accept the Theory of Evolution as being valid, or that the Earth actually revolves around the Sun, or that the planet is over four billion years old.

“Once we have public religious schools, all Hell will break loose.”

This “movement” is inherently anti-democratic. I grew up in a world in which the public schools taught a secular curriculum and parents were in charge of the religious instruction of their children. Their churches provided Sunday Schools and other education opportunities, supported by subscription of the membership. In this “separation of church and state” fashion, significant economies of scale are available because all of the kids in the neighborhood can go to the same secular school to learn secular things. In the “new world” of vouchers and charters, those economies of scale will no longer exist and we will all be the poorer for it.

Please notice that this “movement” was not caused by science making war on religion. It was more a matter of reality making war on religion. When people were more isolated in relatively small populations, the messages to children were more controllable. Now with TV, the Internet, and more than half of U.S. citizens living in cities, the message can no longer be controlled all that easily. And some religions have noticed that if the Theory of Evolution is accepted, then all fundamentalist literalist Christian denominations are wrong and if they are wrong about one thing, they may be wrong about others.

So, the religious right has started an existentialist war in the realm of public education. If they win, we all lose. We lose democracy. We lose the United States.

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17 Comments »

  1. Amen Brother. I hope to have the cell next to yours in the gulag once the holy storm-troopers come and get us! After all I am teaching evolution and make no bones about where my sympathies lie!!! They always come for us incorruptible teachers and journalists first!

    Comment by Holding the Line in Florida — December 16, 2016 @ 2:35 pm | Reply

    • Good on you, mate! Keep the faith (and the pressure on the Know Nothings!).

      On Fri, Dec 16, 2016 at 2:35 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 16, 2016 @ 9:06 pm | Reply

  2. This is a movement that leads to separation … From all indications, this is the motivating factor behind the Right. So far, that’s all they’ve done to this country … and tRump is leading the pack.

    Comment by Nan — December 16, 2016 @ 3:44 pm | Reply

    • I don’t sense that they want separation (except in the case of evicting undocumented visitors). I think they want the country to be the way they want and the rest of us can lump it.

      On Fri, Dec 16, 2016 at 3:44 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 16, 2016 @ 9:08 pm | Reply

  3. “Reality making a war on religion.”

    That’s it.

    Comment by john zande — December 16, 2016 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

    • Can turn a phrase, can’t I?

      On Fri, Dec 16, 2016 at 6:01 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 16, 2016 @ 9:08 pm | Reply

  4. Great stuff on education. And perhaps if we are able to preserve the ‘benefit’ of public education for all our citizens, including the truthful, irrefutable science of Evolution and Climate Change, we can finally get around to the near absence of truthful American History taught in public schools to the current day … you know, the small things like American genocide, war crimes, evonomic imperialism, the CIA disrupting free Democratic elections around the globe through disinformation and assassinations (of course, now we must trust their ‘intelligence’ on Russian hacking.) The very truthful education that might provide actual understanding of what is going on in the world right now. But I find the lack of ‘truthful American History’ just doesn’t raise the ire of most folks. One could start with the question of WHY ‘A People’s History of the United States’ by Howard Zinn is not the core textbook in all American high schools? Certainly this is as vital to our national educational health as is the fight over the inanity of Creationism!

    Comment by Zachary — December 17, 2016 @ 1:21 am | Reply

    • Ah, Grasshopper, the victors always write the history. In California, when I was a union stalwart, we tried mightily to get union history included in US History (High School level). No luck. The plutocrats did not want anything that painted them as anything less than heroic and a boon to all mankind.

      I am slowly working my way though “A People’s History …” because I have to put it down frequently out of rage and immense sadness. I experienced the same process viewing The West, one of Ken Burn;s masterpieces, showing how we ran rough shod over (literally) anyone in our way for land and profit.

      On Sat, Dec 17, 2016 at 1:21 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 17, 2016 @ 8:42 am | Reply

  5. It seems we are still living in an era where belief is supposed to trump reality. This is a straight line connection to the number of frigging morons that live in this country.

    Beliefs are fine and dandy, but when reality contradicts belief, belief should take a back seat. Instead people go through all sorts of contortions of reality not only to justify their beliefs but to legislate their belief upon society.

    Sign me up for the revolution.

    Comment by shelldigger — December 17, 2016 @ 8:29 am | Reply

    • Obviously I agree, but “those people” are not friggin’ morons or uneducated or … or any of the things we like to think of them. I have some friends who are well-educated and deeply religious. I also think that we will not make progress faster by demeaning them with labels, as a strategy. I think we are better off going softly, gently. (Of course, this does not mean I do not have moments of rage against the idiocy … ;o)

      On Sat, Dec 17, 2016 at 8:29 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 17, 2016 @ 8:39 am | Reply

      • I agree. The disdain for the ‘stupidity’ of people supporting Trump by entitled educated neoliberals no doubt helped propel Trump into the White House. Something about glass houses here. It is the neoliberals that put up Clinton, probably the only politician in America who couldn’t beat Trump.

        Comment by Zachary — December 17, 2016 @ 9:00 am | Reply

      • I respect your position. But anyone that despite tons of empirical data supporting the age of the universe, and still believes because of their religion it is a mere 6000 years old, is in my book a friggin moron.

        I respect your approach to tread a little more lightly, but I just can’t get past this.

        Same goes for climate change denial. If you are a denier you are either in it for the $$ or dumb as a brick.

        If my lack of empathy for this kind of stupid means losing my head, I offer it freely. I’d rather lose my head than play nice with stupid. 🙂

        Being educated, and still maintaining religious beliefs that quite obviously conflict with reality, does not mean they deserve some elevated degree of respect. They need an elevated degree of criticism.

        Comment by shelldigger — December 17, 2016 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

        • I suspect that most just don’t see a reason to cause a row but contesting such claims, they just let them slide. Those who go to lengths to claim that the Earth was created on October 23, 4004 (my birthday!) are just flaming idiots. Them I am not so concerned with. It is the sheep in the flock who are just “going along to get along” who are far more numerous and give a semblance of respectability to the idiots.

          Keeping conflicting beliefs in your head. partitioned off from one another, is a very human trait. Many people like the feelings that religions engender (feeling a part of something bigger, etc.). Apparently the fact that these are illusory is irrelevant. I had a teacher who said “If you came to this course for a warm feeling, I will just piss in your pocket and you can go.” He, I came to trust.

          On Sat, Dec 17, 2016 at 1:46 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Comment by Steve Ruis — December 17, 2016 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

          • If this last election cycle was a referendum on anything it is the twin stupiditities of ‘not listening’ and ‘not respecting the tradition’ of conversation rooted in curiosity. We label and condemn … and that is the sure fire guarantee that we get nowhere. As Gandhi put it … “Let us not let our differences come between us as men.”

            Comment by Zachary — December 17, 2016 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

            • I think we left Ghandi in the dust. Nonviolence,hey, it is un-American!

              On Sat, Dec 17, 2016 at 4:25 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Comment by Steve Ruis — December 17, 2016 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

          • Ahh I see. But still these are the enablers. They are as guilty as those flaming idiots. By virtue of remaining silent.

            I hear what you are saying, and indeed I know a handful of x-ians who are damn good people. At the same time I have been there at a point in my life, and heard and seen things those people have said in their conversations. Think about Trump on the bus and the guy who was kissing his ass. Even if that ass kisser really did not believe what Trump was saying was an ok thing to say, his guilt lies in remaining silent on the subject and just going along for the ride.

            Just my humble opinion 🙂

            Comment by shelldigger — December 19, 2016 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

            • Re “I know a handful of x-ians who are damn good people.” You have to ask whether they would have been “good people” had they not been X-ians. I would guess yes. The question always revolves around motivation. Just as the haters say that this or that bad guy was an atheist, you have to ask if their atheism (if true) was the motivating factor behind their bad behavior.

              Some go so far as to say that bad guys do bad things because they have no fear of god, but that just bounces back against X-ians who do bad things.

              Comment by Steve Ruis — December 19, 2016 @ 9:15 pm | Reply


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