Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The American Aristocracy

Follow-up Notes on Near-term Availability:

1) I am challenging the management class that constitutes a significant segment of my consulting business. Education, particularly college education, is funded by the state with the principle goal of churning out a managerial class which buys into the maintenance of corporate power. The danger of post-secondary education is attenuated by exerting enormous pressure on students to focus on jobs. This is essentially job training, not education. Education, the promotion of critical thinking and analysis, is dangerous to the maintenance of corporate and state power. Indeed, it's dangerous to the institutions of education which are themselves authoritarian. While at U.C. Berkeley as a graduate student, the enormous social pressure to recognize and conform to the authoritarian hierarchy within the University was blatant.

The American corporate management class has an enormous psychological stake in being blind to tyranny. College is about buying into the illegitimacy of corporate power, and more deeply buying into corporatism. The great hope of the managerial class is to become a member of the hidden American corporate aristocracy. Job ads admonish applicants to be a "team player." Show me an ad extolling the virtues of "speaking truth to power" but that is the very nature of critical thinking and what I define as education. Everything else is "job training." The latter is antithetical to democracy. Show up, don't talk back, turn in assignments on time, respect the chain of authority. This is public education and corporate workplace defined, and it is the antipodes of democracy: Don't show up, talk back much, and reject authority, exercises critical thinking.

Talking back much is the core functional component of democracy. I saw precious little of it while teaching. Students learn early on (by the second grade?), that the educational system is rife with hypocrisy.

Paradoxically, the most ardent advocates of corporate tyranny (and state tyranny by analogy), as well as the most resistant to critical thinking, are the most highly-educated segments of society: the managerial class. The illusion, and arrogance, of the managerial class is that they possess independence and freedom, but in fact are the most rigidly constrained by stereotypical, automatic behavior. Drones. The self-perceived value of the managerial class is defined by the very existence of the underclass, which the former manage, as a corporate aristocracy.

The great internal challenge for the corporate aristocracy is to function as an apparatchik of the American feudal economic system while mouthing the words of democracy. No oxymoron is more evident in American society.

The goal of modern, state public schools is to produce conformity, while internalizing an illusion of independence and freedom. The least free people in society are the educated class because they have the greatest stake in maintaining the status quo.

2) ....to be continued.

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