"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Mar 7, 2012

Burn 'em all...

...every college, university, prep school, public school, voc-tech and kaplan learning center. All of 'em. To the ground. Or, more. And, worse. Then, remove any remaining top soil or greenery and give it to whoever wants it, so long as they have neither property and deed nor claim to any private land.

After, salt the ground what remains.

If you're interested in liberty, and freedom and the end of larger hierarchies, that is. Because school is Enclosure. It's literally enclosed space, from which the majority are excluded, regardless of rhetoric to the contrary. And as with other common human endeavors, discoveries and creations taken and captured into the folds of merit society, learning and education have been lifted up and out of the body of people and set aside as private enclaves or bureaucratic fiefdoms. School is how cruelty is commoditized in the flesh of its victims.

School is also where the tyrannies of the family are expanded and reinforced into the obedience routines of the citizen, soldier, shop-keep and employee.

It's how we are trained to separate into leaders and led. It's how the form of power perpetuates.

And don't get all nit-fucking-picky about your corner of academia, or cry "anti-intellectualism" or the rest of that wasted breath and finger clacking. The flame ain't intended for learning and figuring things out. It doesn't burn knowledge, or prevent its diffusion;  it doesn't obstruct the joy of a new thing, newly discovered.

It ought burn for the Enclosure itself, for the Enclosed space, where the mind is monetized and curiosity comes with a price tag.

If you don't like it, you know how your bread is buttered. And that you're an adversary and enemy of human freedom, of an easier life for everyone, of any honest effort to counter-act the vile things that men do and teach to their children.  Any of the other notions you've got in your head about how you're on the side of the good guys, angels and white witches of a better tomorrow are lies if you "but, but.." the prospect of the torch put to academia. To the entirety of it, from the shittiest community college to the lab rooms of Johns Hopkins and the whole of fucking Yale.

And you can finally dispense with the self-deception about what kind of people you produce and who they'll end up serving. You can get on with your other compromises. You can mutter, "fuck it, I'm one of the bad guys," with good conscience and a surety of reward for taking your place and rank in the merit world. You can congratulate yourself that you don't hate the gays out loud or think "fucking nigger" the next time a black kid cuts you off on the way to work. You can give yourself a medal for not making a crude remark to the receptionist. Because that'll be all you've got: a veneer of toleration with which to comfort your guileless guilt, while you take a paycheck to break children and teenagers down further into objects and their future owners.

Otherwise, there's so much that is flammable.


Unknown said...

There was a time when I thought that the intellectual was a person of well meaning but now I view intellectuals as people like Tommy Friedman a person who uses intellect to stand the world on its head. It seems to me that they are the justifiers of the evil that humans do to the planet and each other. We look at Harvard and Yale and we see they produce “leaders” and people that promote war. Stanford University is also the home of the Hoover institute or whatever it is called, home to people like Condi Rice. Universities began as a place where the privileged met with their peers and forged their lifelong contacts to further and garner the privileges of the wealthy and that is what they are today. Community colleges are also part of the money scam where lenders put the screws to the unwary who attend them thinking that it will help them survive in an increasingly hostile world only to graduate with a huge debt and no way to pay it off and we see that people are now imprisoned for their debts, debtor prisons in fact. So yes, college is part of our indoctrination nation.

Anonymous said...

sometimes you are a scary man

anne said...

rob, .. . are you putting together too closely ..intellectual ,of the intellect of reasoning and other ..with what one is part of in schooling , i have something of the same dislike for what schooling does to people as pen jack .. ,and find that the intellect ,of reasoning and other has nothing to do with schooling .. . ?

Devin Lenda said...


discipline them all EQUALLY!, says the NYT.

How wrong it is to discipline blacks differently than whites...
whoops, should have stopped at the word "discipline."

Solar Hero said...

I never really had the nerve to go as far as you do until I read Timothy Brennan's Wars of Position -- he especially tears into post-colonialism and identity politics as the kinds of forces you sketch out here...

Unknown said...

I think intellect is overrated and emotions are underrated in their importance to what humans do. I firmly believe that schools are a form of indoctrination. Here in the states from the very beginning kids are forced to pledge allegiance to the flag and the power structure it represents. Then they are taught a false history and given a skewed view of the state. College is an extension of this and it does shape young minds, or warps them depending on your view.

anne said...

that wasn't what i was meaning , of trying to say rob, .. . ,

anne said...

rob, sorry ,i'm very distracted by other things that are going on here where i am .. , .. maybe i misread something .. , but intellect and schooling don't go together .. , of the most intellectual of those that i've known ... it had nothing to do with schooling ..

Pharrell said...

Yeah! this is the Jack Crow I like: the one who goes head-on against the meritocracy (heh, I know you don't care which Crow I like and which I don't but, I'm just sayin').

But yes, you hit on what nearly everyone in younger generation has now noticed, whether it's the lit theorists who ask if the "subaltern can speak" or the sociologists advancing their careers against the backdrop of excluded. The game in academia is a little fancier than before -- it's analogous to Democrats delivering their "progressive constituency" to their Wall Street contributors -- but it’s the same game nonetheless: enclosure, exclusion, and careerism. The fact that enclosure happens by claiming to speak for the "dispossessed" is no different from the new oil commercials that show scientists teaching kids in Somalia. No one is fooled.
The thing is, most people see this. But because academia is so gutted of actual jobs the ones who advance for the most part are the ones who believe the indoctrination.

This is what made the presence of all the usual academics down at Occupy Wall Street so damned irritating. What are a bunch of tenured boomers who helped to squander the last vestiges of the middle class doing preening themselves against the backdrop of young people without jobs who are actually camping out there and doing the difficult work?

Unknown said...

Anne, I agree with you that intellect isn't a result of school and I didn't mean to imply that. Probably my fault for not being clear enough. Intellectuals as such are part of the indoctrination since they are often propagandists who twist facts.

Unknown said...

Also that they often come from places like Harvard or Yale.

Pharrell said...

ah forgive me for posting twice but "it's" has the wrong antecedent in the 6th line. I meant something like, "the younger generation sees through the members of the older generation, whether those members are lit theorists yapping about the speaking subaltern or sociologists, etc."

alltheyoungdudes said...

All true. But there is no escape, Jack. Enjoy this dialogue from one of the more honest elites:

"Q: what constitutes American success?

A: Money in the bank, a house in the country, one's name in the columns.

Q: What else?

A: The deference of department store clerks, a place at the table of one of the country's better corporate boardrooms, invitations to the White house and the Academy awards ceremony, the homage of headwaiters, a Pulitzer prize.

Q: Why then rail against the people who possess in large abundance the objects of your desire?

A: Because they achieve them by dubious means.

Q: But what means are dubious in a society that raises selfishness to the power of supreme virtue--good for business, good for the stock market, good for America?

A: some means are better than others.

Q: To whom do the distinctions matter? To the president of the United States?

A: the president is made of wax

Q: To ABC news?

A: the media grovel for ratings.

Q: To the members of congress or the deans of universities?

A: the members of congress and the deans of universities spend 80 percent of their time bobbing for the coins of subsidy.

Q: Why then refuse to play by the house rules? Why decline the invitation to the beggars waltz?

A:I am a person of moral quality

Q: But who will thank you for your fine phrases and stalwart principles?

A: The editors of the New York Review of Books.

Q: If you're not in, you're out, and when was out a better place to be?

A: Long ago and far away and sometimes in the poems of William Butler Yeats."

-Lewis Lapham

Roseanne said...

The big problem is that the elites pull their "divide and conquer" shit. So they have the conservatives attack academia, and then the proggies feel that it's "liberal" to support academia in turn. Why that unbelievably obvious trick continues to work, I have no idea. Then again, maybe none of this stuff works.

alltheyoungdudes said...

liberals are the modern day Priest Class. The churches have become universities. They run most of the big media/entertainment companies and are embedded in the civil service to a large degree. The liberal is best represented by the "teacher" who thinks smart people should run things.

conservatives are the modern day Merchant Class. They run wall street and most other major corporations. The business man thinks the rich should run things. For this reason, the priest and the merchant have hated each other for a long time.

While both exert power over the masses and sell their own myths through their respective organizations, neither group can rule alone.

the Warrior Class is the final key. Today it is represented by the Pentagon and your local police station. The are the simplest and most brutal. For them it is the strong that rules the weak.

The three work together (in my mind) to bribe(merchant) deceive(priest) and force(warrior) any population into slavery. This has been replicated in most societies to varying degrees since the dawn of time. It might lean more heavily to one or the other depending on circumstance. For instance a theocracy or communist dictatorship would favor the priest and warrior class while most western countries lean toward the merchant and priest.

Sorry for going off topic a bit with this theory. hope you find it interesting.

Liberals are modern churchmen

the pied cow blog said...

Hi Jack,

You don't happen to have a well-defined opinion on this issue, do you?

In my own experience, however, I don't find schools to be any more or less malevolent than any other institution.

The most dissenting and clear-thinking person I ever met was my 8th grade math teacher. Without going to school I would never have read Thomas Hobbes or Nietzsche.

So schools have at least some redeeming value.

True enough, there's little doubt that schools are, by and large, institutions that have as their main product graduates (or dropouts) with a particular type of social refinement that functions primarily to serve the economic interests of the ruling elite.

But that's true with just about every institution that carries the stamp of social legitimacy, insofar as the main object is the advancement of elite privilege.

Matter o' fact, I think a convincing argument can be made that schools are less malevolent than most social institutions, because they produce at least some free thinkers, which is a decided improvement over such other social institutions as investment banks, military contractors and police gangs.

d.mantis said...

the pied cow blog,
I think your description of 'some free thinkers' are the exception not the rule.

As anne and rob discussed upthread, it could be argued that those in question had nothing to do with schooling.

Anonymous said...

plus, burning schools are bound to produce(?) way more "freethinkers"

Jeremy said...

well, while Crow may be right that the more radical move is not to make distinctions between one form of schooling and another, we can perhaps agree that some places are worse than others. so academia is worse than, say, public high school, the bullshit-meritocratic-Ivy-League-University of Chicago-Stanford-UC System-connection is worse than other places, etc.

Pharrell said...

Pied Cow,

I dunno, we've all been indoctrinated into believing that "meritocracy is better than the police." That is the one thought that all educated people must not question: it is their ticket to showing that they are "liberal."

But is it true? Are Ben Bernanke and Larry Summers better than the slightly dickish cop down the street?

Ehhhh, see, that's where Jack Crow is getting at something. the idea that the Ivy Leaguer can point to the cop and say, "you, young cop, I don't know _how_ you sleep at night!" is just self-serving self-righteous brainwashing, when, as Jack points out, if he knew any better he would be saying, "I know how my bread is buttered...Fuck it, I'm one of the bad guys."

mp said...

eh, when Jack gets black and white, he gets blind violent, so every comp teacher with a hard-on for Edward Said's as culpable as Larry Summers. please, dude.

anne said...

of helping someone to grow .. . with out being overbearing ..

Jack Crow said...

Whoa nelly. Busy next few days. But, good stuff here.

Off the cuff (since you two seem to disagree the most) -


An admittedly stark example, but I imagine the fact that orgasms occur on porn film sites hardly negates that rapes, coercion, exploitation and abuse occur at much higher rates.


It's not really black and white. I think academia is Enclosure. There's no reforming that, but that doesn't mean that I see the issue without nuance.

BDR said...

*Whoa Nelly?* I -knew- you were Keith Jackson.

The Red Queen said...

I've got a lighter! Who's got the gasoline? (figurative lighter, figurative. Someone has to deal with TSA later this month. It's a joke!)

davidly said...

A black & white reading of this text might lead one to believe that it's calling for the execution of somebody's favorite teacher. I read it more as a call to unfettered access to "said" teacher.

Jack Crow said...


Had to google Keith Jackson. Amused.


That's the spirit. I'll bring the Tequila, too.


The play's the thing, conscience of kings, and all that. Thank you.

fish said...

The schools are a funny place. Occasionally students actually believe that the teachers really mean the stuff they say about free thinking and end up learning.

Sure it is a bit of a bug in the program, but it is a pretty good bug. Problem is, too many people ignore the bug and go on their merry way running the program as intended.

Then it's just the protectionist racket Jack describes.

David K Wayne said...

He doesn't suggest arson, but you should check out John Taylor Gatto on this subject.

PR said...

Wow! Someone got their feathers ruffled. As long as these institutes churn out graduates like George W. Bush and Rick Perry I can't see any problem.

Jack Crow said...

Gatto (whose solutions I do not share) is the singular person who changed my decrepit mind, on the matter, Mr. Kasper.


Couldn't all that learning be done without the Enclosure?


Aren't they the point? Both to produce them, and those who do what the Bush-Perry-Obama's tell 'em to do?

fish said...

Couldn't all that learning be done without the Enclosure?

I think so, but I am not sure. Like a meditation room allowing someone to remove his or herself from the surroundings to better achieve the desired results, the enclosure does create a defined space where specific things can be explored more fully without distraction and with access to more resources than can be mustered without the power of institutional resource aggregation. There is probably value to that.
The problem as you rightly point out, is access. Access is granted through status and money. There are also the institutional forces that reinforce status quo and indoctrinate (that word seems more conspiratorial than the reality).
I feel like if access could be flattened without destroying the good aspects of enclosure, then the university would be a powerful place with value to society. Right now it is just power and I am not sure what I am suggesting is even possible.

Jack Crow said...

Took me a bit to get back to you, fish. Sorry about that.

I guess where we differ is in the belief that a room set aside for meditation is preferable to learning how to do it in ordinary space.

fish said...

I think the talented can learn anywhere, but the less adept can benefit from a more focused environment.

The Buddha sat in front of a wall and was enlightened, I mounted a flatscreen to mine. Enlightenment is going to be a bit tougher for me...