Chomsky on Education

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    knave
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    Chomsky on Education

    Post  knave on Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:35 pm

    Looks like a new topic is needed here, so here's an interview with Noam Chomsky concerning education.


    What's the purpose of education in current society? Say, in the United States.

    Well, we know the clichés about what it's supposed to be.

    Yeah, I'm not asking that. What's the real purpose?

    A lot of the purpose is just training for obedience and conformity. Actually, there has been a substantial movement since the 1960s in this direction. The 1960s were very frightening to elites. Liberal, right wing, whoever, they didn't like the fact that too many people were just becoming too independent. The literature focuses on the crazy fringe, which existed of course. But what really worried them was not the crazy fringe, but the mainstream of the activism, which was civilizing the country. It was raising questions that were difficult and unpleasant. You know, war, sexism, all sorts of things. But the real problem is people were just becoming too independent. And in fact, it was so overwhelming that they couldn't even keep quiet about it.

    I mean, we've talked about this before, but there's a very important book which everyone should read, the first publication of the Trilateral Commission, the liberal internationalist elite of Europe, the United States and Japan. And that's the liberal side. And they were worried about what they called excessive democracy. Groups of people who were usually passive and apathetic were beginning to enter the political arena, press their own demands...too much pressure on the state. We have to have more, what they called, moderation in democracy.


    http://www.zcommunications.org/chomsky-sessions-3-education-and-economics-part-i-by-noam-chomsky





    Last edited by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:31 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : let's just copy 2-3 paragraphs and include a link to the full article)
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    Re: Chomsky on Education

    Post  Tezcatlipoca on Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:35 pm

    I love Chomsky. I think he's bloody brilliant and I'd give my left nut for the world to have 10,000 more men and women just like him.

    I'm only halfway through the interview but I just had to comment on this before going any further.

    Don't allow children to be creative, inventive, explore and so on and so forth. Make sure they pass that next test. And, in fact, there's pressure, because the teacher's salary depends on it. And, you know, a lot of pressure, evaluations and so on. Well that's, all of us, anyone who went to a good school like we did got there because we were obedient enough to do this idiotic kind of stuff.

    So fucking true. They've totally gotten rid of all the music programs in schools in the US and Canada. It's such rubbish. Hell, I was actually ridiculed by my high school guidance counselor for wanting to go to art school. Sad: "You'll be making $500 a month if you go into art" were his exact words. And the funny thing is he thought he was actually trying to help me. Not to suggest I could have been the next Van Gogh or even that there necessarily ever will be another revered artist in our time. We're too conditioned to see art as a waste of time.


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    Re: Chomsky on Education

    Post  Maugrim on Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:54 pm

    Tezcatlipoca wrote:So fucking true. They've totally gotten rid of all the music programs in schools in the US and Canada. It's such rubbish. Hell, I was actually ridiculed by my high school guidance counselor for wanting to go to art school. Sad: "You'll be making $500 a month if you go into art" were his exact words. And the funny thing is he thought he was actually trying to help me. Not to suggest I could have been the next Van Gogh or even that there necessarily ever will be another revered artist in our time. We're too conditioned to see art as a waste of time.

    I must also agree on the belief that Chomsky has a true gift for seeing the world for what it really is and not being afraid to be brutally honest about his beliefs.. I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone with nearly as much insight and intelligence.

    On a similar note we here in Toronto have gone from having a mayor who was very engaged with the arts and was truly passionate about them to some retard tea party wannabe who despite his promise to magically cut costs and taxes without impacting services has been a colossal failure. We have had multiple public meetings at city hall that went well into the wee hour of the morning with people speaking out against his desire to cut the arts, major events and so forth... Most controversial was his attempt at waging war against public libraries.. him and his brother want to shut a whole lot of them down.. The mayor's brother made headlines in Britain because he admitted to not knowing who Margaret Atwood was..

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    Re: Chomsky on Education

    Post  Lysser on Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:19 pm

    Chomsky's a hack!

    Just kidding. Actually, one of his books is sitting on my night stand. I love reading about his theories on linguistics.

    In regards to the comments about education--

    You know, it always puzzled me why we were farmed through school like a bunch of bovines going to the slaughterhouse. "They" (ambiguous term, I know) believe in such linear thinking and education models. It makes me believe that they 1. are clueless 2. don't give a shit about educating our kids. 3. have evil ulterior motives.

    We need to find ways to encourage HOW to learn and discover rather than memorizing and taking a test. Give them the skills to learn at every moment, to see the world through observant and discerning eyes, and teach them that it's OK to analyze those experiences in a non-conventional way. We learn through experience and it's probably both.

    When I was teaching 7th grade English, I was required to spend about 2 weeks preparing them for the state standardized testing. They will retain little to nothing that we went over. We basically just analyzed how to choose an answer instead of understanding the big picture and why they're asking the question in the first place. I want kids to not only know the answer, but to know WHY and to see the big picture. No Child Left Behind made me want to punch George Bush (and his whole panel of education "experts") in the face, and I probably would if I wouldn't be tackled and killed by secret service men.

    I find this type of linear thinking permeates into the professional world in the adults I train at my job. They tune me out when I try to explain the big picture to them because they want to "get down to what they have to do" right away. First, that shows their impatience, and it's disrespectful. 2. They keep fucking up because they fail to see the big picture and WHY we do things the way we do, so they are furiously and frustratingly learning all of these minute details and it all becomes a muddled mess and they are left asking me how to do things every other minute. There have been only 2 people I have come across at my job who are not tainted by that manner of thought. By making education all about obedience and conformity, we are fucking ourselves over as a country, falling behind in innovation and creative thinking. Jobs and Wozniak didn't change the world because they were A+ obedient students. That's why Steve Jobs' speech at Stanford is so perfect and so popular.

    I understand the reason standardized testing came about. I understand they want to hold teachers accountable and make sure kids at least know their ABCs and 123s and can fucking comprehend a paragraph they read. I get it. It's just that between the theory and the result things go horribly wrong. By the way, I also think that tenure is a load of shit.

    I'm so grateful that my school emphasized the importance of music education and that I took private piano lessons as a kid. It made me think differently. It made me better at math. It gave me such an amazing sense of imagery. It made me more in tune (no pun intended) with my emotions. I also had a typing class in middle school, and I had never really typed before in my life. Because of piano, my brain knew that typing was exactly like playing the piano, and within a week, I was typing at about 110 words a minute. Art class boosted my self-esteem and made me realize it was OK to be unconventional. I knew more about computer than my computer teacher in high school because I had a computer at home in which to teach myself and let my mind wander into entropy.

    /rant

    Anyway, this is all stuff we KNOW, and we suppress it. If we're being held down in order to be a mass of controlled citizens, then a revolution is indeed in order. But how will we revolt the education system? What would you do?

    I saw something on the tube the other day about a lady who started a special kindergarten program. The kids are outside all day long learning and discovering through nature. They are encouraged in their curiosity and to work as a caring community. It may sound bullshit hippie to some, but the kids seem damn happy and smart as hell.


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    Re: Chomsky on Education

    Post  Lysser on Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:33 pm

    OMG ALYSSA. TLDR. LOL OMG UR STUPID>


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    Re: Chomsky on Education

    Post  knave on Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:47 pm

    Chomsky talking about "unpersons":

    AMY GOODMAN: Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit returned home today after five years in captivity in Gaza in exchange for 477 Palestinian prisoners. Another 550 are slated to be released in two months. Forty of the Palestinian prisoners will be deported to Syria, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan. In his first interview, Gilad Shalit expressed support for the freeing of all Palestinian prisoners. While Palestinians are holding a massive celebration in Gaza today, Palestinian prison support groups note over 4,000 Palestinians remain locked up in Israel.

    We turn now to MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned linguist and political dissident. He spoke Monday night here in New York at Barnard College about the Israel-Palestine conflict, the prisoner exchange, and the Middle East, overall.

    NOAM CHOMSKY: About a week ago, the New York Times had a headline saying "the West Celebrates a Cleric’s Death." The cleric was Awlaki, killed by a drone. It wasn’t just death; it was assassination—and another step forward in Obama’s global assassination campaign, which actually breaks some new records in international terrorism. Well, it’s not true that everyone in the West celebrated. There were some critics. Almost all of the critics, of whom there weren’t many, criticized the action or qualified it because of the fact that Awlaki was an American citizen. That is, he was a person, unlike suspects who are intentionally murdered or collateral damage, meaning we treat them kind of like the ants we step on when we walk down the street. They’re not American citizens, so they’re unpeople, and therefore they can be freely murdered.

    Some may remember, if you have good memories, that there used to be a concept in Anglo-American law called a presumption of innocence, innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Now that’s so deep in history that there’s no point even bringing it up, but it did once exist. Some of the critics have brought up the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which says that no person — "person," notice — shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Well, of course, that was never intended to apply to persons, so it wasn’t intended to apply to unpeople.

    And unpeople fall into several categories. There’s, first of all, the indigenous population, either in the territories already held or those that were expected to be conquered soon. It didn’t apply to them. And, of course, it didn’t apply to those who the Constitution declared to be three-fifths human, so therefore unpeople. That latter category was transferred into—theoretically, into the category of people by the 14th Amendment, that—essentially the same wording as the Fifth Amendment in this respect, but now a person was intended to hold of freed slaves. Now that was in theory. In practice, it barely happened. After about 10 years, the category of three-fifths human were returned to the category of unpeople by the divisive criminalization of black life, which essentially restored slavery, maybe something even worse than slavery, actually went on 'til the Second World War. And it's being reinstituted now, past 30 years of severe moral and social regression in the United States.

    Well, the 14th Amendment was recognized right away to be problematic. The concept of person was both too narrow and too broad, and the courts went to work to overcome both of those flaws. The concept of person was expanded to include legal fictions, sustained—created and sustained by the state, what’s called corporations, and was also narrowed over the years to exclude undocumented aliens. That goes right up to the present, to recent Supreme Court cases, which make it clear that corporations not only are persons, but they’re persons with rights far beyond those of persons of flesh and blood, so kind of super persons. The mislabeled free trade agreements give them astonishing rights. And, of course, the court just added more.

    But the crucial need to make sure that the category of unpeople includes those who escaped from the horrors we’ve created in Central America and Mexico, try to get here—those are not persons, they are unpeople. And, of course, it includes any foreigners, especially those accused of terror, which is a concept that has taken a quite an interesting conceptual change, an interesting one, since 1981, when Ronald Reagan came into office and declared the global war on terror, what’s called GWOT in current fancy terminology. I won’t go into that here, except with a comment, a note, on how the term is now used, without any—raising even any notice.

    So take, for example, Omar Khadr. He’s a 15-year-old child, a Canadian. Now, he was accused of a very severe crime, namely, trying to defend his village in Afghanistan from U.S. invaders. Obviously, that’s a severe crime, a serious terrorist, so he was sent first to a secret prison in Bagram, then off to Guantánamo for eight years. After eight years, he pleaded guilty to some charges. We all know what that means. If you want, you could pick up a few of the details even in Wikipedia, more in other sources. So he pleaded guilty and was given eight more years’ sentence. Could have—would have gotten 30 more years if he hadn’t pleaded guilty. After all, it is a severe crime, defending your village from American aggressors. He’s Canadian, so Canada could have him extradited. But with typical courage, they refused. They don’t want to offend the master, understandably. Well, the crime of resisting aggression, it’s not a new category of terrorism. There may be some of you old enough to remember the slogan "a terror against terror," which was used by the Gestapo—and which we’ve taken over. None of this arouses any interest, because all of these victims belong to the category of unpeople.

    Well, that—coming back to our topic now, the concept of unpeople is central to tonight’s topic. Israeli Jews are people. Palestinians are unpeople. And a lot follows from that as clear illustrations constantly. So, here’s a clipping, if I remembered to bring it, from the New York Times. Front-page story, Wednesday, October 12th, the lead story is "Deal with Hamas Will Free Israeli Held Since 2006." That’s Gilad Shalit. And right next to it is a—running right across the top of the front page is a picture of four women kind of agonized over the fate of Gilad Shalit. "Friends and supporters of the family of Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit received word of the deal at the family’s protest tent in Jerusalem." Well, that’s understandable, actually. I think he should have been released a long time ago. But there’s something missing from this whole story. So, like, there’s no pictures of Palestinian women, and no discussion, in fact, in the story of—what about the Palestinian prisoners being released? Where do they come from?

    And there’s a lot to say about that. So, for example, we don’t know — at least I don’t read it in the Times — whether the release includes the Palestinian—the elected Palestinian officials who were kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel in 2007 when the United States, the European Union and Israel decided to dissolve the only freely elected legislature in the Arab world. That’s called "democracy promotion," technically, in case you’re not familiar with the term. So I don’t know what happened to them. There are also other people who have been in prison exactly as long as Gilad Shalit—in fact, one day longer. The day before Gilad Shalit was captured at the border, Israeli troops entered Gaza, kidnapped two brothers, the Muamar brothers, spirited them across the border, in violation of the Geneva Conventions, of course. And they’ve disappeared into Israel’s prison system. I haven’t a clue what happened to them; I’ve never seen a word about it. And as far as I know, nobody cares, which makes sense. After all, unpeople. Whatever you think about capturing the soldier, a soldier from an attacking army, plainly kidnapping civilians is a far more severe crime. But that’s only if they’re people. This case really doesn’t matter. It’s not that it’s unknown, so if you look back at the press the day after the Muamar brothers were captured, there’s a couple lines here and there. But it’s just insignificant, of course—which makes some sense, because there are lots of others in prison, thousands of them, many without charges.

    There’s also, in addition to this, the secret prison system, like Facility 1391, if you want to look it up on the internet, a secret prison, which means, of course, a torture chamber, in Israel, which actually was reported pretty well in Israel when it was discovered, also reported in England and in Europe, but I haven’t seen a word about it here, in at least anywhere that anybody’s likely to look. I’ve written about it, and a couple of others. All of this is—these are all unpeople, so, naturally, nobody cares. In fact, the racism is so profound that it’s kind of like the air we breathe: we’re unaware of it, you know, just pervades everything.

    Coming to the title of this talk, it could mislead, and it could be interpreted—misinterpreted—as supporting a kind of conventional picture of the negotiations, such as they are: United States on—over here and then these two recalcitrant forces over there; the United States is an honest broker trying to bring together the two militant, difficult groups that don’t seem to be able to get along with one another. Now that’s—it is the standard version, but it’s totally false. I mean, if they were serious negotiations, they would be organized by some neutral party, maybe Brazil, and on one side you’d have the U.S. and Israel, on the other side you’d have the world. That’s literally true. But that’s one of those things that’s unspeakable.

    http://www.zcommunications.org/israel-palestine-prisoner-exchange-u-s-assassination-campaign-in-yemen-by-noam-chomsky

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