How The American University was Killed, in Five Easy Steps

by The Homeless Adjunct

I’m using this space to recommend a long, insightful essay. The full essay is here, and I’ve embedded a singular nugget below.

“Within one generation, in five easy steps, not only have the scholars and intellectuals of the country been silenced and nearly wiped out, but the entire institution has been hijacked, and recreated as a machine through which future generations will ALL be impoverished, indebted and silenced. Now, low wage migrant professors teach repetitive courses they did not design to students who travel through on a kind of conveyor belt, only to be spit out, indebted and desperate into a jobless economy. The only people immediately benefitting inside this system are the administrative class – whores to the corporatized colonizers, earning money in this system in order to oversee this travesty. But the most important thing to keep in mind is this: The real winners, the only people truly benefitting from the big-picture meltdown of the American university are those people who, in the 1960s, saw those vibrant college campuses as a threat to their established power. They are the same people now working feverishly to dismantle other social structures, everything from Medicare and Social Security to the Post Office.”

Subsequent support is provided by this essay at AlterNet: Shocking Report Explodes 5 Myths About American Education.

Comments 45

  • I would recommend Hunger Insurance:

    If you can’t afford it, you might consider selling it.

    Re. social security and medicare… these two are in worse shape the the institution of higher Ed. These are now just lies that people still insist on telling themselves. Both are empty promises. The sooner people quit these delusions, the sooner they can face reality. Dog’s speed to those “working feverishly to dismantle” both these Delusions.

  • Morocco,

    First, from a thread a month or so ago – I agree with you about the Gary Jules’ version of “Mad World” being better than Tears for Fears’ version.

    Viaticals… I wonder what happens when all the life insurance companies are bankrupt after the Derivatives Bomb goes off?

    I think these folks are seeing much more clearly than most:

    Greeks go back to basics as recession bites

    “What others saw as a global economic crisis, we saw as a crisis of civilisation,” Mr Sianos explains. “Everything seemed to be in crisis – healthcare, the environment, education. So we made the decision to try something different.”

  • Morocco, maybe the author meant that since it’s college-educated adults who teach K-12, the colleges must be excellent. Otherwise you have a blind-leading-the-blind scenario.

  • Morroco,
    I am not really sure what you are getting at here with your Montessori quotes and psychohistory quotes. That is, I’m not really following your arguements (but I’m a bit fuzzy today).

    I don’t want to get into a debate about childrearing or education or what caused who to do what. I do want to point out that if you are going to play the Hitler card (isn’t there some formal Internet Jargon designation regarding bringing up Hitler on a forum?) and claim the entire German people were psychotic, you and the rest of the people reading this forum must familiarize yourselves with the work of Stanley Milgram. Milgram designed some interesting research to answer exacly the question of how it could be these atrocities were committed by seemingly ordinary people. (the Wikipedia article gives a good summary although it, IMO emphasizes too much the ethical questions around the experiment What he found, and it has been replicated several times, is simply that a majority of “normal” people can be turned into tortureres just by being told to hence the informal name of “the Obedience Studies” (see Philip Zimbardo’s prison experiment as well).

    Quote from Wikipedia: “Milgram’s testing suggested that it could have been that the millions of accomplices were merely following orders, despite violating their deepest moral beliefs. The experiments have been repeated many times, with consistent results within societies, but different percentages across the globe.”

    I’m not going to go into the experimental design or the results – I will merely leave it up to the open-minded and curious to educate themselves. I will conclude that I believe our species to be DEFECTIVE, a maladaptive evolutionary mistake so it is no surprise to me that we not only enslave, slaughter and torture our own kind in huge numbers for, respectively, profit, convenience and pleasure but that we do not know how to raise OR educate our children either.

    Another good link re: Milgram is … a podcast with other links on the page.

  • This article hit the nail on the head. This is what I’m seeing right now in my own institution. I’ve forwarded it to all faculty, staff and administration. I may catch hell for it, but whatever. It’s important to see what’s really happening, even if we only have a couple of decades left before the end of life on the planet. My tomatoes, corn, potatoes, etc. are doing well. Had a cool cucumber soup last night that was delicious, and that’s more important than anything else right now, to me.

  • Never mistake a well disciplined indoctrination for a good clear education, nor conviction for understanding. BF

  • Blano

    Right on brother/sister!

  • BC Nurse – seems like you have your priorities exactly right! Cucumbers are now a thing of the past – our season is long which is good, but end season after drought and heat our plants just give up the ghost. Trying for some late planted yellow squash to remind me of spring :)

  • Just finished reading this informative essay.
    I’m not sure i am smart enough, nor familiar enough at the caolface of higher ed to pick out the bugs, but it certainly joins the dots for me regarding the changes at Australian Universities over the last 30 years.
    I have a fees debt I don’t ever intend to pay back, but we have a system that means if you earn a low income in any financial year you dont incur a tax debt from the education debt.
    I concluded about 3 years ago that ‘Australia’ was merely a Bank. That’s right a Bank, with a lot of bells and whistles to distract and flabberghast at the size of the whurlitzer outer machinations. But at the core there is the Bank Australia, called the Federal Reserve Bank, and the laws that are all derivative of the one intention, namely; To enforce the servents of the bank to serve the bank.
    In terms of education, the essay topic, why do we need a law to enforce children to go to school? Literacy and Numeracy, once seen as a pathway to well paying employment, only became so when mechanisation of rural agriculture displaced large amounts of peaple from manual work and capital required literate secretaries for trade, and Numerate technical specialists for mechanical and electrical industries.
    The older apprecticeship system was not without systemic abuses, but it did have the value of enabling people to gain living working trades that assisted others directly, rather than merely labour for brute force that served the Empire.
    I’m alluding to the types of occupations that are almost gone now, like Thatchers, Coopers, Wheelrights and small forge Blacksmiths. These jobs also served the Empire, no question, but there is a significant difference between village life and a national economy, regulated by the unnecessary beurocrats from afar.
    In Australian Universities about a decade ago the Right wing Federal Liberal Government made it illeagal to charge up front student recreational union fees. These fees were used to establish and continue on campus fraternity groups, from speliology, sport, debating, chess, feminists, japanese food, poetry, radical Sumerian liberation front, societies and student groups. In short everything that made student life fun and horizon expanding and social. There was some debate and controversy, but as always, the purse strings sing loudest. As a result these campusses became wastelands of isolated lone students striving for a vocational certificate, rather than becoming engaged and ‘Educated’ by a larger vibrant Academy culture. Lots of student union workers also lost their jobs.
    I can only say that as aluded to in the essay, I am ever vigilant at the downstreaming of this shit culture into elementary and high schools here. Sport is the wedge they are using to break the intelectual blockade. Money for branded sporting gear, that the underfunded elementary schools can’t afford to replace as often as they need to is provided, and local spoting identies come and do a gala day presentation and run around to get the kiddies to play their code, from cricket, to AFL to rugby to soccer to basketball. It makes me want to puke!!

    Corporations are trying to get control of schools as perfect sites to advertise and brand for life children who are legally made to attend.


    Great post Guy.

  • As an additional example of the degree to which corporate interests continue to penetrate schools here is an example I had in 2004, when on a 6 week practicum teaching placement required before being granted Secondary Teaching Qualification in Art.
    I had a supervising teacher who was dedicated and experienced but to me very tough on her students. The school was situated in a demographic of high migrant and low wage families, what was once termed lower working class, in the suburbs of Sydney. I was instructed to continue with a design and painting task for 12-13 year olds, where they had to design a jersy for their favourite sporting team. This area was dominated by the football code called Rugby League, which I was all too familiar with from my own school days having played 3 teams a week and some rep area as well.
    What a waste I thought. “How about directing these kids attention to design a poster to value wildlife, or conserve forrests etc”, I said to my supervising teacher. Her reply was twofold, one verbal and the other political.
    “The kids aren’t into that, they respond better to things they are familiar with”. Tutankamen, Crikey, Bloody Hieronemous Bosch Hell, I thought to my self. Make it easy on yourself supervising teacher arsehole, you are supposed to provide something they don’t alredy know about, that’s YOUR ROLE, IDIOT, I responded in a thought bubble.
    The second thing this supervisor did was get me reassigned to the faculty head teacher, who was very experienced and I got on well with for the remaining half of my placement.
    It is sometimes hard to disagree with the conclusion that the Empire has won.
    Notwithstanding that relative ‘truth’, I am still committed to and interested in turning individuals back to the ‘good side’ of the ‘Force’, in individual encounters. How can it ever be done otherwise? For me giving is the key, it can wake people up to their humanity.

    “Giving and receiving, two folds from the same garment”
    Kwai Chang Cane, from the 1970’s TV series KUNG FU.

  • That should have been:
    “Serving and being served: folds in the same garment.” – Caine …

  • Morocco, maybe the author meant that since it’s college-educated adults who teach K-12, the colleges must be excellent.

    For colleges to be excellent, the prerequisite is excellent antecedents. John Taylor Gatto’s Underground History of American Education may prove to be a worthwhile read in this context. 

    familiarize yourselves with the work of Stanley Milgram<

    What Stanley Milgram formally described has been used in practice by humans ever since fluid hierarchies of our primate ancestors froze into more fixed hierarchies. This was accompanied by the domestication of animals (including humans), the shrinkage of the animal brains (including humans), all serving the end of greater tractability in a hierarchy. Of course this milieu promotes the stratification by socioeconomic class (a trend that had been temporarily reversed in America in the middle of the twentieth century). It also selects for psychopathy (lack of empathy combined with good social skills: societal leaders) and against sociopathy (lack of empathy combined with poor social skills: petty criminals). Folks like Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great and even Herr Schicklgruber  knew about the essence of Milgram’s work long before Milgram himself.

  • Here is a link to the episode in 10 min segments. It is called:

    “In Uncertain Bondage”,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&biw=867&bih=591&wrapid=tlif134560060546810&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=w1&gl=AU

    I had forgotten just how influential the values demonstrated in this series was on my Aquarian egalitarian values, although mixed with a degree of ‘every episode’ personal violence.

    I remember seeing an interview with Robert Wagner, and Bruce Lee discussig the series, which came about very much from Bruce Lee wishing to bring aspects of the Tao to the American culture. Bruce Lee was set to be the star, but was replaced by a more western looking halfcast Chinese/American searching for his American Father. Lee was devastated when the studios said they could not use a Chinese looking lead for the role. I couldn’t find him on any of the credits, so perhaps he withdrew from the project at some stage.
    Those old Shaolin masters sure taught me some good shit as a teenager in the 1970’s. It is hard to beat David Caridine’s overall performance, however. (Light years ahead of his later ‘Death Race 2000’)
    Some may think this is off topic.
    If so I disagree.
    These are issues of how at a human level people treat others in the shadow of Empire. There is the planet, the other life forms, yes. There is also haw we treat others, and that can be transformed, which… ‘when taken at its flood’… to borrow from Shakespeare, can lead to a new relation to the extended Biosphere.
    Any other Kung Fu series fans out there?

  • OzMan

    Kung Fu was compulsive viewing for me in the 70s and led to a life long practise of Chinese martial arts. However, as with many things, it’s best not to try to relive those happy childhood memories. The series hasn’t aged well and once you know a bit about Chinese martial arts it’s hard to watch Kung Fu without appreciating David Carradine’s kung fu(*) sucked and wishing Bruce Lee had gotten the role. Still, the character Carradine portrayed was pretty cool.

    * Kung fu in Chinese actually means to practise diligently or to try to attain a state of perfection. It does not refer to Chinese martial arts although it has come to mean this in the West.

  • Yorchichan

    Yes. I have seen interviews of Bruce Lee where he explains what he calls his unique ‘Free Style’ of combat. He seems to transcend technique, at least in principle, such that instincts prevail. I can only conclude that that comes from an essentially free mind, that has attempted a lot of styles and techniques, or at least fought with experienced opponents of those styles, and felt restricted. That was my impression from listening to Mr Lee in interview.

    I did a few years of Wing Chung in my twenties, but I was never a serious contender. I rather like Bruce Lees definitive take on fighting in the movie, “Enter the Dragon”.
    Lee meets an aggressive competitor on the way to the island for a very exclusive fighting tornament. The other guy wants to fight Lee just to prove he is tougher. Lee suggests they do it on a small island that comes by. As the aggressive guy enters the rowboat, Lee explains his philosophy of fighting: ‘The Art Of Fighting Without Fighting’

    Pure poetry, and very very smart.

  • OzMan

    It’s difficult to know what to make of Bruce Lee. I wish he could have lived longer and gone on to make some better movies. Strange how both him and David Carradine died in such unsatisfactory ways. Bruce Lee was extremely charismatic and if the documentaries are to be believed he was prepared to put his phenomenal skill on the line. But was he “enlightened” in any way? I think enlightened people, martial artists or otherwise, only exist in the movies.

    I’ve done a few years of wing chun too. Started out when I was a university student by learning with Lama Dondrup Dorje, as he now appears to have reinvented himself (I’m such a cynic).

    These days all I aspire to are a perfect YiLu and ErLu. To the untrained eye, I perform these forms much like Master Su, but in reality there is no comparison.

  • Education, like Morocco says, is a “loaded” term. To me the entire problem with education is that we’re supposedly trying to prepare students for a nebulous “future” that is changing before us as we teach the same crap from the distant past that has little to no relevance to any future they’ll encounter, while it makes no mention and gives no guidance for how to cope or live in this unspecified time. Secondly most of education is decidedly NOT based on current research into how the brain works, fails to incorporate the different styles of learning (or make any exception to the standard pedagogic time-constrained method), and fails miserably at motivating students toward their own discovery (and mastery of what their own interests tell them to pursue). Public education in particular is too tied in to the whole funding dilemma – tax dollars based on the district the school is in, well-roundedness being sacrificed for standardized testing (ie. Where are art and music nowadays?).

    True early-educators like Steiner are ignored while the public is continually dumbed down with mediocrity. There is no room for a good teacher in this environment – you go along with the program or you don’t have a job. It’s all dictated by some “board of education” that is comprised of elected ordinary people who have agendas but no idea what they’re doing.

    In the higher ed field, most courses at too many schools are taught by us migrant worker adjuncts who get paid a fraction of the rate of the one or two full-timers with guaranteed raises each year and all the other percs of “tenure.”

    It’s pretty obvious that it isn’t working any longer.

    Here’s a good read on it:

  • very interesting, informaitive, insider perspective on ‘higher’ education, guy, worthy of more comment later. right now i wish to share something else:

    last night i went to bed around my usual time with usual degree of fatigue, not upset about anything, figuring as usual to fall asleep quickly and get a good night’s rest (thanks to use of banned medicinal mj i use almost every evening for this purpose). however, things didn’t go as usual. couldn’t sleep, so after an hour got up, had a bit of (not too much) caffinated coffee ice cream, watched a little educational tv, got a couple hours sleep before having to get up to pee. nothing too unusual here, i sometimes have to do this once a night, get back to sleep without difficulty or delay, as i did this time. however, this time, my sleep is disturbed by lengthy, difficult, emotionally upsetting dreaming. in these dreams, i’m much younger, perhaps adolescent, again living with my parents (now deceased) and sister, but with my current perspectives and maturity. in the dream, i’m trying o sleep to no avail, thanks to the inconsideration and immensely annoying habits of my family of birth, going throughout the house making noise, starting but not finishing chores, shutting windows i’d left open for cool invigorating air, leaving tv’s blaring in empty rooms. in the dream i’m constantly getting up, shutting off or turning down these tv’s, re-opening windows, and being enormously annoyed by all this and by the messy, irrational chaos in general throughout the house. after what seems a long time i finally awaken from this dream. only a couple hours after going back to sleep. a couple hours of sleep, but hardly restful, considering all the upsetting activity of my dreams.

    how this maybe relates to the featured essay above and the general theme of NBL is that in surreal my life experience, this dream has often been surreality. particularly as i’ve gotten older and more discerning (or set in my ways), i’m usually aware of and mildly to greatly annoyed by perceived stupidity by others, both close relatives and ‘distant strangers’, in my environment. on top of this, i’m occasionally reminded of my own astounding poor judgement (perhaps most recently in the decision to adopt a cute kitten who unsurprisingly is annoying the hell out of me with demands for attention and destructive instinctual behavior like chronic clawing of upholstered furniture, among other things). thus, in my ‘personal’ life there seems to be much incorrigible stupidity, mirroring the incorrigible stupidity of our shared public life, so frequented pointed out and lamented here.

    incorrigible stupidity. the bane and downfall of our ‘too smart for our own good’ species.

  • TVT

    Better to lay awake all night than take drugs to help you sleep. No one ever died from lack of sleep. Well, not directly, anyway.

  • Tom

    Ah… sorry to be a pain… but the link you provided is the same one Guy has posted. Um what the…

  • the virgin terry

    Sorry to be the one to break it to you buddy, but your losing it! Some free advice, lay off the Oija, and long enough to detox, start walking 15min per day, and let your mind relax.
    I once playrd and studied Chess so much I started dreaming the solution to games I lost tht day, five moves ahead. The crazy thing was I was in the habit of writing down the moves of the games I played at a few cafes. I managed to write down one dreamed solution as I woke up. Several weeks later laughing with some chess friend,( a former NZ champion), and we got out the notes and he was and I was too, astounded to see that this was a real solution. The friend was experienced enough to tell me it was a forced submission had i made the critical move, which I didnot see in the actual game play.
    So the long and short is that intense real life situations can bleed into and invade your dreamscape for a time. Sounds like you need a different calm situation.
    Oija, or not to Oija? That is the question for some.

  • Morocco Bama

    This story, and the reproduced copy of the comment by a reader of the article pretty much shows that the Machine of Empire will force the submission of even the very basic parental nurturing/protecting instinct to its ends. Time and again we see the examples of how financial factors succeed in shifting human values to the most absurd twisted ways.

    I still believe my earlier analysis in a previous posting is true – that the loss of the Feeling and Intuitive functions is a root driver of the Empires success. These are the personal, compassionate and communally devotional relational functions of the human being.
    Without them we are truly lost.
    Witness the evidence amassed just through this one web portal by Guy about his cry in the dark for the living planet.
    Thinking and Sensation alone lead to a valuless array of unrecognisable objects in a void. Only Feeling and Intuiton give us the experience of love, empathy and an equal coexistance with all beings in a living world.

  • Morocco, maybe there is some blind-leading-the-blind in the current education system, but since it’s the *adults* who run it, it’s on them to fix it. It can’t very well be left to children to figure out. Just like you can’t expect children to figure out how to make a dysfunctional family not be dysfunctional anymore.

    I’m not arguing for or against Montessori. Whichever system we choose, adults will run it. That said, I don’t think ALL the current teachers are THAT bad. Many would be the first to say the system is broken. If they were really blind, they wouldn’t see it in the first place.

  • Morocco Bama

    I take your point and by extension Robins about ‘Excellence” in education. Those questions you just asked are coming from the big lie of Belief In Progress, BIP. In the mid 1980’s there was a Postmodern Moment, and I subscribe to this examination and analysis of Empire. Fueled by an unprecedented growth and integration in world communication there was a moment, and it is only ever a moment, even in the life cycle and development of an individual, where there is a deep reflection on the lies and limitation, call it corruption, of the Ego. The analysis that the Post Modern commentators put up were seroius flaws of deliberate omission, and positive actions and propoganda to divert the majority of human labour and attention to the activities of Empire. Some of these critiques were housed in the Art speak of that time. Deconstruction was one. That is in a way an attempt to unpack linguistic and cultural ideas, lies and myths that serve Empire interests. When one deconstructs a soical/ecomonic/cultural activity, like say family life in the twentieth century in North America, you basically interrogate the question of how did we get here from an earlier ‘place’?
    As many know the Manhatten project was frogmarched into existance with the ‘threat’ of the other Empire getting it first. Effectively however, these PTB have subjugated world populations to that device.
    Another identified cultural lie is the dominance of Patriarchy, which has been established for many thousands of years, but the rise of Feminism, and the empowering of women as ‘Auteurs’ allowed thier stories to be published, circulated and honoured.
    The Post Modern Moment was quicky drowned out by commercial interests, becuse the comodification of art was challenged to such and extent by that stage that the art object disappeared altogether, and that was not going to wash with TPTB and a lot of art dealers and art market investors.
    I cannot stress enough that the Post Modern Moment in an individual is where they see, very clearly the self made straight jacket that Ego and Empire require, and they can grow beyond if they choose.
    Large entities do not function in the same manner individuals can, so the Machine of Empire collectivley drowned out the ecological, feminist, native people’s and Belief in Progress concerns with investment in war fear, and personal technologies that give the appearence of intellegence and knowledge.( Shipping News to Daily Papers to Radio to TV to Personal Computers to Internet to Play Stations to Laptops to Mobile Phones to ipods to ipads to iphones… to perhaps implants)
    It seems that Education as a special area of human cultural distrubution of knowledge, skills, and critical thinking also succumbed to the dilution and deliberate devaluing, but with enough comprehensive propoganda to delude most into taking a dry biscuit for something nourishing.
    I find it dryly amusing that after many many decades of separate specialised early subject education, divided into Maths, English, Geography, Chemistry, History etc it is now considdered a high order teaching, and learning outcome to be able to work accross several disciplines. It is as if you are some kind of genius if you can do what the integrated Montesouri educators have been saying for a long time, not to mention Hunter Gatherers way back when. Again Empire seems to thrive on specialisation, especially in sciences, and of course with the high human ‘need’ for precision military weopons.
    Where would we be without them?

  • DOH!
    yeah Ozman – wrong link (i had just sent this one to someone and didn’t pick up the one i wanted for here) – thanks fer noticin’!

    Where i was going with this thread was the point that “the problem” of education is a multi-faceted one but it’s basis is in the following context.

    here we go:

  • Morocco Bama

    Also I agree with Margarets in that many teachers stay in the broken system not only to pay their mortgage or to collect their retirement super, they do it for their students. They conform to the FUBAR system because they see little alternative when counterposed with their own needs and those of their own families.

    Also you wrote:

    “If those vital functions of which you speak, the “psychical” referred to by Maria Montessori, are stunted and suppressed during those early formative years, then all this that we’re seeing and talking about is the result.”

    That is how I feel, however, I wish to assert that stunted people, in these terms, are able to grow beyond these early years of systemic neglect or asymetrical indoctrination, or ‘Education’ by and for Empire. I do not subscribe to the Moron hypothesis I often see written here that people are so selfish and stupidly self interested they do not respond to real humanity. Many do resist, and some intractably, but I believe that is many times simply the character, not the culture.

    I have experienced in my own life, relating to many many ‘ordinary’ people who seem the morons posters refer to that when you get close and interact that is where the rub is. They can relate if you offer it first.
    Anyhow, it is clear to me people can and many want a better way of living with the planet, many just need visible examples of others doing so. The Permaculture movement is almost mainstream now, once a creckpot way of growing wrinkled overpriced food.
    As I’ve posted before people need to meet remarkable people, and they are changed.
    Yes, sadly, there is not much time for such a project to work and have an effect on the Planet and Biosphere.

  • Autodidact-ism is under appreciated.

  • Morocco, I don’t think the majority of teachers are “purposely obliterating human potential”. They’re doing what they can in a system even they admit is flawed. Maybe they didn’t know how flawed it was when the first decided to become teachers. But what can they do, now? Quit? They’ve got bills like anyone else and jobs are scarce. Overthrow the system? If only teachers had that much power! They have their role to play in the solution but they can’t be expected to do everything.

    If your whole deal is that civilization is bad and we should return to hunter-gatherer society, I kind of agree with you. But jeepers, teachers aren’t to blame for the whole mess.

  • off-topic (?) or just to add dimension to the “causes” column – the following interview ties in to my last post regarding poverty as a mitigating factor in the death of education.

    Mark Karlin: You begin “Days of Destruction Days of Revolt” with a visit to and reflection upon the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the poorest and perhaps most hopeless Native American settlement in the United States. Indian reservations were a tragically ironic result of the American revolt to throw off the shackles of being a colony, only to become a colonial power over the indigenous residents that lay in its way to achieving “Manifest Destiny.” Is this irony the reason why you begin your journey across the “sacrifice zones” of the United States at Pine Ridge?

    Chris Hedges: This is where the dark ethic of endless expansion and limitless exploitation, of ruthless imperial conquest, subjugation and extermination of native communities, began in the name of profit. Commercial interests set out to obliterate native peoples who stood in the way of their acquisition of the buffalo herds, timber, coal, gold and later minerals such as uranium, commodities they saw as sources of power and enrichment. Land was sliced up into parcels – usually by the railroad companies – and sold. Sitting Bull acidly suggested they get out scales and sell dirt by the pound. The most basic elements that sustain life were reduced to a vulgar cash product. Nothing in the eyes of the white settlers had an intrinsic value. And this dichotomy of belief was so vast that those who held on to animism and mysticism, to ambiguity and mystery, to the centrality of the human imagination, to communal living and a concept of the sacred, had to be extinguished. The belief system encountered on the plains and in the earlier indigenous communities in New England obliterated by the Puritans was antithetical and hostile to capitalism, the concept of technological progress, empire and the ethos of the industrial society.

    The effect of this physical and moral cataclysm is being played out a century and a half later, however, as the whole demented project of endless capitalist expansion, profligate consumption and growth implodes. The suffering of the other, of the Native American, the African-American in the inner city, the unemployed coal miner or the Hispanic produce picker is universal. They went first. We were next.

  • The Olduvai theory divides human history into three phases. The first “pre-industrial” phase stretches over most of human history when simple tools and weak machines limited economic growth. The second “industrial” phase encompasses modern industrial civilization where machines temporarily lift all limits to growth. The final “de-industrial” phase follows where industrial economies decline to a period of equilibrium with renewable resources and the natural environment.[4]

    The decline of the industrial phase is broken into three sections:

    The Olduvai slope (1979–1999) – energy per capita ‘declined at 0.33%/year’
    The Olduvai slide (2000–2011) – ‘begins … with the escalating warfare in the Middle East… marks the all-time peak of world oil production’.
    The Olduvai cliff (2012–2030) – ‘begins … in 2012 when an epidemic of permanent blackouts spreads worldwide, i.e. first there are waves of brownouts and temporary blackouts, then finally the electric power networks themselves expire’. This is partly connected to fossil fuel production, as coal and natural gas are significant fuel sources in electricity generation, but it is unclear how nuclear power generation fails, if at all.
    End times folks – what else matters

  • Blackouts Increasing In The U.S.

    By Peter Goodchild

    20 July, 2012

    For about the last ten years, electrical power failures in the U.S. have been increasing. Citing the figures of Massoud Amin at the University of Minnesota and those of the Eaton Blackout Tracker, Lisa Margonelli (2012, 13 July) concludes that annual outages have doubled since the early 1990s. She adds that it will require “$17 billion to $24 billion over the next 20 years” to improve the grid and reverse the trend. The figures she cites for blackouts of all sizes can be matched by those for the really big blackouts, affecting at least 1,000 people for at least one hour. For example, from 1965 to 2000 there was roughly one major blackout in the U.S. every two years. From 2001 to 2011, on the other hand, there was an average of about one every six months. The year 2011 alone had six big ones.

  • U.S Drought and India’s Blackouts: Here’s the Connection

    This one is a very interesting read about some of the tangled webs that civilization has woven.

  • Last one:

    “Not that this surprises me much, since Michelle Rhee pretends to be some kind of “different Democrat,” but it’s really pretty nervy of her to show up at the Democratic National Convention with a film funded by right-wing education deformers and pretend she’s “one of us.”

    StudentsFirst is screening the film “Won’t Back Down” in the middle of the Democratic National Convention in an effort to convince everyone her brand of education deform is the best pathway forward.

    I wrote about this last week. The film is financed by Philip Anschutz, notorious winger. And StudentsFirst is spearheading an effort to deform New York schools in concert with right-wing funding sources. See this report revealing Romney and Republicans’ involvement:

    •StudentsFirst NY Board Members and funders are contributing over $2 million to Mitt Romney and Super PACs working to defeat President Obama;
    •StudentsFirst NY is using a complex web of multiple tax designations and different names to shield donors and funders from scrutiny on campaign contributions and political activities;
    •StudentsFirst NY is out of touch economically and ideologically with the education stakeholders—the students, parents, communities, and educators—it claims to represent in New York City;
    •StudentsFirst NY is supporting market-driven restructuring and privatization of schools that goes even further than what Mayor Bloomberg has implemented in the past decade;
    •StudentsFirst NY is using a plan developed by Bain & Company and advocating actions that will treat public schools the way Romney’s Bain Capital treated companies.
    No self-respecting Democrat should be caught dead at this screening. I plan to be out front with my camera to see who supports public schools and who doesn’t. Please reach out to anyone you know who is attending the convention and encourage them to stand firm for public education.”

    So politics plays a very powerful part in public education and its devolution.

  • Morocco Bama

    I watched the video link on Chemtrails.
    it seems worthy of considderation. Lots of unknowns.
    I did a little online research into chemtrails a while back, and found some people speculating they were originally, but maybe now not limited to, establishing a vector based land warfare 3D radar map for combat and military purposes. Whatever the deposited material is it allows, so the story goes, military computer modelling of oover land imagery, which greatly enhances operational and situational awareness for military situations. Aparently this process has been widely used over sea without the need to spray areosols, I’m not certain why. But there was a problem with the land area and areosols are used to obtain a clear fix in those theaters of war, (coming soon?).
    The link strongly suggests a recent purpose is to control seed and local crop production, to monopolise food production by big agribuisness. I don’t have any way to verify this, but it is not something that would surprise me.
    Howerver, as Kathy C and I mockingly speculate, the aliens will soon show their hand and we can then know why we have been herded and geoengineered and overpopulated, and for what purpose. Harvesting? who knows?
    Your links are always furtile ground to doubt the compassion of some of humanity. Keep it up, I’d rater use up our monthly download on them than my kids watching cats on utube.
    First thunderstorms and rain here for over a month just beginning as I type. High winds too. Some developing hail too.


    What do you think the liklihood of us getting the hot summer you have recently experienced, come next January here in Australia?

  • Madmanintheattic Says:
    August 21st, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Simply thank you for your reply.

    Btw. What really changed my attitude of being a (personally responsible) member of this “single most” crime in history of man, committed by my ancestors, is:

    History of oil.

  • Worldwide Energy Shortages:

    Energy Shortage

  • Emotional drivers and the longer-term value systems associated with them, are non-verbal and also non-rational but can be shaped by repeated exposure to cultural memes. This is the method employed for control. Instincts are even more basic, are innate, and steer both emotion and values. Appeal to instincts and emotions is an important part of acquiring and maintaining control. 

    Societal (hierarchical) values derive from accepted social norms and provide important hierarchical (vertical) controls. Communal/community values derive from horizontal interactions, and are tolerated by hierarchies only insofar as they do not impair hierarchical control.

    At times when progressive resource depletion and scarcity bring into question the power of the hierarchy to provide for the needs of the controlled, the legitimacy of such hierarchical control comes into question. The hierarchy has then to redouble its efforts to maintain control, often requiring draconian measures. Efforts to establish and nurture communities that are not dependent the hierarchies will threaten to reduce the reach of such hierarchies, and will be met with efforts, both gross and subtle, to stifle community-building.

  • I’ve written and posted a new, link-filled essay. It’s here.

  • “I did a little online research into chemtrails a while back, and found some people speculating they were originally, but maybe now not limited to, establishing a vector based land warfare 3D radar map for combat and military purposes. Whatever the deposited material is it allows, so the story goes, military computer modelling of oover land imagery, which greatly enhances operational and situational awareness for military situations. Aparently this process has been widely used over sea without the need to spray areosols, I’m not certain why. But there was a problem with the land area and areosols are used to obtain a clear fix in those theaters of war”

    Oh brother. Look, I happen to know quite a bit about maps and GIS and these speculations are truly ridiculous. The technologies used to generate the images do not require chemical deposits. I have never, ever heard of such a thing outside of the chemtrail conspiracy community. Exactly what chemicals are used and how to they improve the data and images, according to the theory?

    Of course the military uses maps, they always have, for centuries. Using better technologies to create better maps isn’t a red flag any more than your using Google Maps instead of a paper fold-out one is.

    BTW “vector based” is just a data model – points, lines, polygons. It has a bazillion uses other than military ones.

  • Bernhard

    ‘Robert Newman’s History of Oil’ was one of the most entertaining and sophisticated deliveries of the significance of oil to industrial economies I have seen. Great post. It fills in a few blanks too.

  • margarets
    I appreciate your knowlesge on the subject. I was merely restating soething I found on the interweb, which I think I stated, and only as a possible theory. Your answer provides a useful addition to how I now see the explaination I posted. In the dark a little light is both helpful so as not to fall or run into furniature, but not enough to see the whole room.

  • Ozman, fair enough.

    I just get frustrated when people (in general) fill in the gaps in their knowledge with some personally appealing myth rather than looking into it. I’m in the midst of an insane online debate on another forum about my city putting in a bid for the summer Olympics. Same deal – people figure they already know all about the Olympics and rabidly resist any evidence that contradicts what they want to believe. And it’s just a sporting event! Not something of real importance like global warming or pollution or war. Argh!

    Re: chemtrails, personally, I don’t see why “they” (whoever is supposedly behind it) would bother. There are many other ways to effectively get chemicals spread around and they are all already happening.

  • Morocco, you have no idea how much I know or don’t know or have researched about chemtrails, or how I arrived at that statement. So there is no contradiction. I don’t care if you see one, because I’m not impressed with YOUR reasoning abilities. The film you linked to a was a pile of rubbish, it had crazy amateur stamped all over it. One idiot pointed at the sky and said it’s not the right shade of blue, so “something’s not right”. Please.

  • “You have thrown the baby out with the bathwater by pointing to one silly part. ”

    Dude, it’s a comment on a blog, not a PhD thesis. For the sake of brevity, I chose one EXAMPLE of the poor analytical methods used in the film. Even people who believe in chemtrails can’t agree on how to identify them, what is in them, who is behind them, why they are happening, or what the effects will be on plants, animals, etc. It’s an evidence and methods free-for-all.

    Since you didn’t get it the first time: I DON’T CARE what you think. I do not want to have a conversation with you. Stop addressing comments to me.