“Queen Elizardbeast is dead, long live King Charles?!
Yes, for those lucky souls who are so blissfully detached from the 24/7 newsfeeds that you haven’t heard yet, I bring you the news that the longest-reigning monarch in British history, Queen Elizabeth II, is dead.
It’s tempting to interpret the double rainbow that appeared over Buckingham Palace when Her Royal Lowness kicked the royal bucket as a sign that her death is indeed a present from God, but—as I am always at pains to observe upon such occasions—the death of an unrepentant sinner is no victory and there is no solace in the removal of but one of the Hydra’s many heads. If anything, the reign of King Charles will doubtless be even more ignoble than that of his mother.
“The countries of the West are committed to universal, free, compulsory education. The United States first made this commitment and has extended it further than any other. In this country 92.5% of the children who are fourteen years old and 71.3% of those between fourteen and seventeen are in school. It will not be suggested that they are receiving the education that the democratic ideal requires. The West has not accepted the proposition that the democratic ideal demands liberal education for all. In the United States, at least, the prevailing opinion seems to be that the demands of that ideal are met by universal schooling, rather than by universal liberal education. What goes on in school is regarded as of relatively minor importance. The object appears to be to keep the child off the labor market and to detain him in comparatively sanitary surroundings until we are ready to have him go to work.
“The results of universal, free, compulsory education in America can be acceptable only on the theory that the object of the schools is something other than education, that it is, for example, to keep the young from cluttering up homes and factories during a difficult period of their lives, or that it is to bring them together for social or recreational purposes.”
“Education is supposed to have something to do with intelligence. It was because of this connection that it was always assumed that if the people were to have political power they would have to have education. They would have to have it if they were to use their power intelligently. This was the basis of the Western commitment to universal, free, compulsory education. I have suggested that the kind of education that will develop the requisite intelligence for democratic citizenship is liberal education, education through great books and the liberal arts, a kind of education that has all but disappeared from the schools, colleges, and universities of the United States.”
~The Great Conversation: The Substance of a Liberal Education by Robert M. Hutchins, 1952
More by Hutchins . . .
“Because of experimental science we know a very large number of things about the natural world of which our predecessors were ignorant. In the great books we can observe the birth of science, applaud the development of the experimental technique, and celebrate the triumphs it has won. But we can also note the limitations of the method and mourn the errors that its misapplication has caused. We can distinguish the outlines of those great persistent problems that the method … may never solve and find the clues to their solutions offered by other methods and other disciplines.”
“Liberal education was aristocratic in the sense that it was the education of those who enjoyed leisure and political power. If it was the right education for those who had leisure and political power, then it is the right education for everybody today.”
Zuckerkandl! a comic book Hutchins published in 1968, later made into a cartoon short, narrated himself. It’s about disentanglement and living guilt-free and is said to be a parody of Freud.
“American homemakers are increasingly aware of their rich heritage of cooking, of its wide variety as a result of its regional origins. We have the fine culinary traditions of those who settled in Louisiana, Virginia, New England, the South, the North, the East, and the West. No statement of the excellence of the cooking of American homemakers, who are representative of every race of mankind, is complete without a reference to the fine cooking of the Negroes of the South, who are natural gourmets. They seem to have inherited a sort of tradition of good cooking, and it may be that this will have a large place in the final development of a real American type of cookery.”
Introduction, The Gold Cookbook by Master Chef Louis P. De Gouy 1947
Just a couple of decades later, and in another book, on another topic, which to me at least, is not at all unrelated . …
An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power
“When Lyndon Johnson succeeded to the presidency on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, he proved to be a very different president. A decade older than Kennedy, Johnson was fully a son of the New Deal, one with deep faith that government could solve social and economic problems. . .. With the help of an overwhelming electoral victory in November that year, Johnson prodded Congress to pass bill after bill. The Equal Opportunity Act (1964), Mass Transit Act (1965), Appalachian Regional Development Act (1965) Head Start (1965), the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act (1966), Higher Education Act (1967). Along with many other, smaller, programs that involved the federal government in areas of national life it had never before been concerned with, these cause a breathtaking rise in federal expenditures. Nondefense government expenditures rose by a third in just three years, from 1965 to 1968, from $75 billion to $100 billion. Two years later they were $127 billion. Meanwhile, the Vietnam War escalated quickly. In 1965 the defense budget had been $50 billion. In 1968 it was $82 billion.” (P. 382)
Sharing a bold buffet of links and quotes, just because. In case you might be bored and/or in need of new material.
“It’s better to be exploited than be useless.” Dare to differ? And who are you to disagree??
“In any event, I definitely feel like some kind of indigenous, gender-indeterminate, non-binary, African-American woman with an incurable-but-treatable emotional disability trapped in the body of a farty old white man. Fortunately, there’s an ever-expanding range of pharmaceutical and surgical solutions for this. I’ll be looking into some of those shortly. For example, although I’m well past child-bearing age, given the fact that I’m now a woman, I could get a womb transplant and become a “birthing person.” I could birth my very own indigenous, pan-gendered, Jewish-African-American baby and chest-feed it unsweetened soy milk on TikTok! Or I could have my genitalia removed and get a full-body skin transplant! And, of course, there’s no shortage of pharmaceutical products to treat my emotional disability, or my chemical imbalance, or idiopathic dysphoria, or whatever I eventually decide it is.”
“The hookah lounge was barren. The hostess was shocked to see me and the hookah-master was aloof as I selected the blend of tobacco that I would smoke from a hollowed-out grapefruit. I felt it was my duty to order a Corona with lime, so that’s exactly what I did. And then I got out my laptop and began to type:
MOSCOW – Despite the stubborn March cold, heroic young ladies in the Russian capital have already shortened (one might say improved) their skirts by at least 15 centimeters. Surely this should give us all confidence to carry on, even as the pillars of western civilization melt away like the last winter frost. What on earth happened, anyway? […] Fear and mindless acquiescence has gripped the western world, and there’s simply no going back. Cultural, political, spiritual and economic suicide are all around the corner. Maybe even a fun little war. […] Predicting what comes next is easy – just try to imagine the worst possible scenario. Now multiply that by a factor of ten. Your outlook is still too rosy, but optimism is only human. Signed: Edward Slavsquat, an American in self-exile in Russia who sometimes writes things on the internet.”
“Patients no longer complain of inferiority feelings or sexual frustration as they did in the age of Adler and Freud. Today they come to see us psychiatrists because of feelings of futility” – Viktor Frankl
“Daft sensational types have no problem thinking of nature as one big theme-park, there expressly to satisfy their every tawdry infantile desire. Their interest in nature’s welfare is insincere and supeficial. Most people’s attitude toward nature (umwelt) is gnostic in complexion. Nature is not to be loved and understood, it’s to be escaped. While we are here on the planet, we might as well have fun at nature’s expense. We’re on our way somewhere better, where happiness is guaranteed. Nature denies us a lot, and makes us suffer. God grants all my wishes and bestows eternal pleasure. Millions of people have this outlook. It’s the main reason they do what they do, and accounts for a great deal of the irrational nonsense going on in the world. Delicate senses are taxed and sullied by the incessant irrational demand for “more.” In the end one prostitutes themselves to the senses and pays dearly for doing so. One becomes decadent, discontented and compulsively outer-directed.”
“Like spoiled brats we just can’t accept that the ride comes to an end. This is why we aren’t satisfied with one or two versions of any product. There must be hundreds of brands and dozens of flavors and alternatives. We’re never satisfied, but rarely ask why? We never inquire into what sensations are, or that maybe it’s a good thing we’re not in a world of constant sensual edification. What kind of beings would we become if it were otherwise? Are we to take it that we, as humans, simply wish to have pleasure and avoid pain? Or is it more accurate to say that without opposites there can be neither pleasure nor pain?”
Russell would put it forth most succinctly in his “The Scientific Outlook” (1931):
“The scientific rulers will provide one kind of education for ordinary men and women and another for those who are to become holders of scientific power. Ordinary men and women will be expected to be docile, industrious, punctual, thoughtless and contented. Of these qualities, probably contentment will be considered the most important. In order to produce it, all the researchers of psycho-analysis, behaviorism and biochemistry will be brought into play… all the boys and girls will learn from an early age to be what is called “cooperative” i.e.: to do exactly what every body else is doing. Initiative will be discouraged in these children, and insubordination, without being punished will be scientifically trained out of them.”
“In 1953, Russell would update this creepy piece of work and make it even creepier, writing:
“It may be hoped that in time anybody will be able to persuade anybody of anything if he can catch the patient young and is provided by the State with money and equipment… This subject will make great strides when it is taken up by scientists under a scientific dictatorship. Anaxagoras maintained that snow is black, but no one believed him. The social psychologists of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. Various results will soon be arrived at. First, that the influence of home is obstructive. Second, that not much can be done unless indoctrination begins before the age of ten. Third, that verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective. Fourth, that the opinion that snow is white must be held to show a morbid taste for eccentricity. It is for future scientists to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black, and how much less it would cost to make them believe it is dark gray.”
In his “The Managerial Revolution,” Burnham echoes the Fabian Society methodology and Russell’s “The Scientific Outlook,” writing:
“Nevertheless, it may still turn out that the new form of economy will be called ‘socialist.’ In those nations – Russia and Germany – which have advanced furthest toward the new [managerial] economy, ‘socialism’ or ‘national socialism’ is the term ordinarily used. The motivation for this terminology is not, naturally, the wish for scientific clarity but just the opposite. The word ‘socialism’ is used for ideological purposes in order to manipulate the favourable mass emotions attached to the historic socialist ideal of a free, classless, and international society and to hide the fact that the managerial economy is in actuality the basis for a new kind of exploiting, class society.”