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Crimethink must be punished
Feb 29th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Child Faces Criminal Charges After Using Weapon Emojis on Instagram. A Virginia 12-year-old faces criminal harassment charges after posting an Instagram message that said “meet me in the library Tuesday” followed by gun, knife, and bomb emojis. [Hit & Run]

The charges are a smokescreen. What this girl is really being persecuted for is thoughtcrime, for using an emoji of a gun. They don’t have to actually get a conviction, just send a message to show the other peasants what will happen to them. If they didn’t, people might escalate to more serious thoughctrimes like drawing pictures of guns with their crayons, or even something truly unforgivable like pointing their fingers and saying “bang.” By going after one girl, no matter the outcome, they’ve given the other inmates of their government school a powerful lesson on why they should “exercise [themselves] in crimestop.”

Missing the point
Sep 16th, 2014 by Ken Hagler

Common Core Will Make Schools in U.S. More Like China and That’s Not a Good Thing. The New York Times recently published a fascinating interview with Yong Zhao, a professor of education at the University of Oregon. Zhao was born in China; unlike many American intellectuals, he does not think U.S. schools should try to emulate China.

[…]

Chinese schools stamp out individuality and make kids spend all their time preparing for exams that are focused on “narrow intelligence.” This produces fewer creative and entrepreneurial people, which is precisely what the authoritarian national government of China wants, according to Zhao. [Hit & Run]

The problem is that stamping out individuality is also precisely what the US government and many American intellectuals want.

Quote of the Day
Nov 28th, 2010 by Ken Hagler

Schools exist to teach children two things: conformity and submission to authority. Anything else a child learns is completely incidental. This is why bullying persists. Forcing children to go to school and be around bullies is part of training them to believe they have to submit to horrible people for the rest of their life.

Rorshak

The result of public schools
Nov 17th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

America the Illiterate. We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.

There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nation’s population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year. But even those who are supposedly literate retreat in huge numbers into this image-based existence. A third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. Eighty percent of the families in the United States last year did not buy a book.

The illiterate rarely vote, and when they do vote they do so without the ability to make decisions based on textual information. American political campaigns, which have learned to speak in the comforting epistemology of images, eschew real ideas and policy for cheap slogans and reassuring personal narratives. Political propaganda now masquerades as ideology. Political campaigns have become an experience. They do not require cognitive or self-critical skills. They are designed to ignite pseudo-religious feelings of euphoria, empowerment and collective salvation. Campaigns that succeed are carefully constructed psychological instruments that manipulate fickle public moods, emotions and impulses, many of which are subliminal. They create a public ecstasy that annuls individuality and fosters a state of mindlessness. They thrust us into an eternal present. They cater to a nation that now lives in a state of permanent amnesia. It is style and story, not content or history or reality, which inform our politics and our lives. We prefer happy illusions. And it works because so much of the American electorate, including those who should know better, blindly cast ballots for slogans, smiles, the cheerful family tableaux, narratives and the perceived sincerity and the attractiveness of candidates. We confuse how we feel with knowledge.

[…]

The core values of our open society, the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense indicate something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to understand historical facts, to separate truth from lies, to advocate for change and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways of being, that are morally and socially acceptable, are dying. Obama used hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds to appeal to and manipulate this illiteracy and irrationalism to his advantage, but these forces will prove to be his most deadly nemesis once they collide with the awful reality that awaits us. [Information Clearing House]

It’s popular for people to say that public schools are failing, but all of this demonstrates that they have in fact been a brilliant success at their actual objective.

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