02 Jun 2011

Indoctrinating America

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Israeli Strategic Studies professor Barry Rubin recently visited the United States and experienced with the freshness of an outsider’s perspective the intensity of the indoctrination which has become a constant feature of American life.

What’s most scary in America today may be the deficit and it may be government policies, but for me the scariest thing is the way that traditional American pragmatism, an open-minded search for truth, the reliability of the media and of academia, has virtually disappeared in many cases.

I’m talking here about the media, academia, and the highly publicized public debate, not what all of the people are thinking. Clearly, a lot of people aren’t buying the conventional wisdom. But the important point is that it is the conventional wisdom, the main ideas held by the elite and government, what young people are being taught, and probably pretty much everything half of the population is hearing. I was in California, Iowa, Wisconsin, New York, Maryland, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, and other places.

While this certainly doesn’t apply to all schools, the indoctrination that I’ve seen in one elementary school shocked me. If you really hear what eleven-year-olds are saying to each other you’d be amazed: accusing each other of being racists at the drop of a hat; thinking man-made global warming is a threat to their personal survival into adulthood; viewing America as evil.

If that happens in an educational system — especially in universities — indoctrination means that the more “educated” someone is, the more “stupid” they become.

The decline of professional ethics — journalists are supposed to be accurate and fair despite their personal views; professors should seek truth wherever that leads them, be open-minded, and represent accurately sources and evidence — is staggering. Large numbers of ideas are practically barred from the mass media; silly concepts are put forward that have huge holes in them but are protected from scrutiny or criticism. Some people or movements are always ridiculed; others are always exalted.

There are hundreds of examples of how this works and I see it every day. …
No matter how bad the economic situation, leadership, or policies might be, a country can recover if the people and elite are able to define the real problems and the real solutions. If the connection with reality is lost, all hope is gone. That is one of the Middle East’s central problems. Increasingly, it seems to be Europe and America’s problem, too.

The way cults work is to isolate people from reality and bombard them with a single viewpoint. The victim is cut off from other influences by being told that they are evil and thus to be disregarded. In some ways, that is what’s been happening to America in recent years.

One weakness of this structure is that the arguments it makes and the claims puts forward are so ridiculous that if exposed to articulate and reasoned responses — often, even for a mere sixty-second period — it quickly collapses logically. Its strength is that it has such strong defenses against such exposure.

Another weakness is that the use of institutions for politically motivated exploitation must remain invisible. If someone understands that universities, mass media, and other trusted institutions have been distorted out of their historical, democratic, and American norms then that’s the beginning of seeing through deception.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

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One Feedback on "Indoctrinating America"

SDD

On CNBC this morning a young girl was explaining how her class had been indoctrinated in the notion that the world is about capitalism versus environmentalism. After all, how can one NOT support nature over profits? It’s easy if the teachers aren’t challenged to explain that there are costs as well as benefits to environmentalism and what happens to your standard of living over time if there are no profits. Today’s teachers (generally 20-30 years old) themselves are the product of indoctrination. Such inquiry wouldn’t even occur to them.



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