This morning a friend made a comment about the horrendous grammar she was finding in America today. Why was it so bad? And, why did some people bother to correct improper grammar. Rather than leap off into Ebonics or the evils of texting, or typing, etc, I took a different route to answer her. Here is my response.
Some thirty million adults in the U.S. do not have the skills to perform even the most basic tasks such as adding numbers on a bank slip, identifying a place on a map, or reading directions for taking a medication. Eleven million Americans are totally illiterate in English.
Only twenty-nine percent of Americans have basic reading and computing skills. One out of every twenty Americans lacks the ability to understand what is going on in the world or to develop an informed opinion for voting.
With an illiterate, uneducated American citizenry, unable to understand what's happening in the world, it's no wonder that a fascist cabal has been able to take over. After all, they hijacked the system in the early 1900’s when they bought the companies that published the schoolbooks and began to infiltrate the universities with their minions to shape the educational policies they wished Americans to have. In this case it is primarily the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers.
Thinking American citizens must always be aware that what goes on in society is the result of the planning of its rulers; they create precisely the social, psychological, economic, and ideological conditions which will realize their goal of excessive wealth for themselves and impoverishment for the working class. They are patient. They know this does not happen overnight.
Therefore, it is no accident that America's schools have slowly eroded and that the intelligence of the average American has become so debilitated. American learning has plummeted and public school performance has nose-dived ever since the middle of the twentieth century because it was planned that way. Having been eddercated in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s I saw an incredible difference in the things my children were taught in school and had to fill in as many gaps as I could myself. This is up in Canada where we get similar problems in literacy and comprehension as well.
In each culture, the public meanings, ideas, and skills transmitted through educational institutions - schools, academies, monasteries, universities - and through the media - newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, Internet - have always been determined by the small ruling elite - politicians, financiers, warriors, priests, scholars, scientists, corporations.
In most cultures, the "ruling ideas" have fostered violence and class warfare. In only a few instances in have the "ruling ideas" fostered the betterment of common people and society at large. The last example of such a benevolent era was the eighteenth century Enlightenment, which encouraged people to develop broad understanding in all fields of knowledge. Highly educated, intelligent groups in Europe and America developed toward a democratic way of life, created constitutions, and founded institutions for public education.
During this Enlightenment period, words and phrases such as "liberty," "freedom," "natural rights," "pursuit of happiness," "consent of the governed," "informed citizenry," came into being for the first time or were first understood by humans through their own experience. America has served as the beacon of these Enlightenment ideals, maintaining its faith in "the power of knowledge and reason in self-determination!
Predictably, the very people who place American presidents, senators, and representatives in power, through the use of their multi-billion dollar fortunes, are the same monied interests that have deliberately destroyed American education. The Rockefellers, Fords, Morgans, Browns, Harrimans, Du Ponts, and other ruling families want obedient, efficient workers, not thinkers.
Here is their philosophy straight from the mouth of a Rockefeller: "In our dream, we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or science. We are not to rise up from among them authors, orators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians. Nor will we cherish even the humbler ambition to rise up from among them lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we now have ample supply.”
(How do we spell god complex?)
“The economic well-being of the nation depends on the presence of a large number of men who are content to labor hard all day long. Because men are naturally lazy they will not work unless forced by necessity to do so. The education of the poor threatens to rob the nation of their productivity. . . Every hour those poor people spend at their books is so much time lost to society. Going to school in comparison to working is idleness." - Bernard de Mandeville
"We must overcome the fetishism of the alphabet, of the multiplication tables, of grammars, of scales, and of bibliolatry. It would be no serious loss if a child never learned to read. American working-class children are a great army of incapables, shading down to those who should be in schools for dullards or subnormal children, for those whose mental development heredity decrees a slow pace and an early arrest." G. Stanley Hall, Hopkins University
The most controversial issues of the twenty-first century will pertain to the ends and means of modifying human behavior and who shall determine them. The first educational question will not be 'what knowledge is of the most worth?' but 'what kinds of human beings do we wish to produce?' The possibilities virtually defy the imagination.
The future role of literacy in the workplace has been stated by Pierre Dogan, the president of Granite Communications, a company that is developing software for hotel housekeeping. They state that so long as maids can read room numbers, they will be able to check off tasks completed or order supplies by simply touching pictures on the screen. This way one can create a work program with prompting including iconic images. That makes it very easy to use a completely illiterate workforce.
Then there is this very important aspect of literacy. Those who can "read" in the grammar school sense but who cannot read: understand the meaning of the words they see. There are those today, for example, who "read" about such things as worker layoffs and American corporations relocating their manufacturing plants in China or Indonesia, but who do not understand the meaning of what they "read." It is just words and facts, no deeper levels of comprehension.
Another kind of modern-day "illiteracy" occurs as people "read" or "hear" the "news" in newspapers or on TV, and allow themselves to be taken in by the propaganda that such "news" involves. This is where the mind controlled aspect of a populace comes in. This allows for the propagandizing of a culture towards an ultimate goal of the leaders, usually for their own aggrandizement.
Hal Becker ex-Media Expert for the White House said, “I know the secret of making the average American believe anything I want him to. Just let me control television.... You put something on the television and it becomes reality. If the world outside the TV set contradicts the images, people start trying to change the world to make it like the TV set images.”
Living in an age of repression, we become accustomed to it. So what if our schools no longer teach people how to read or think, no longer help students gain an understanding of why human liberty is so precious and precarious. All forms of media present images of "cool," illiterate, violence-prone savages dressed in the latest styles and exhibiting the popular ego-centered attitudes.
Unable to understand the creativity of a well-written novel or screenplay, no longer capable of appreciating the depths of classical music, they move in a grey world of ego-gratification and violence. Soon the false values become identified as the true, and we have movies such as Pulp Fiction, The Godfather, and The Little Mermaid touted as masterpieces.
We only gain awareness of the oppressive nature of contemporary society when we become the victim of unemployment or a mugging or some other mishap. Trained to be oblivious to the plight of others, we fail to see the hundreds of thousands who suffer from homelessness, lack of medical care, and wage slavery. This is the source of much of the blind intolerance we run across here in Yahoo for example.
Since people are encouraged to pursue their own interests, there is no feeling of solidarity and hence no possibility of concerted effort to overcome the oppressive conditions. It seems perfectly normal that a two-class society is rapidly developing.
With new billionaires being created every year while millions of workers are laid off, denied welfare, and their tax money stolen by wealthy looters in such scams as the Enron/Anderson swindle, the savings and loan fraud, the Mexican "loan" scandal, and the IMF repayment to wealthy investors who suffered from the Asian stock market crash. And then there is Wal-Mart and its ways, we won’t even go there! But they are in the lead for the types of employment we discuss here.
For the oppressed to be able to wage the struggle for their liberation, they must perceive the reality of oppression not as a closed world from which there is no exit, but as a limiting situation which they can transform.
America today is a combat zone where the War against Intelligence is constantly being waged. Unfortunately, the rulers are currently winning: Americans are progressively losing their ability to understand what is happening in the world around them.
Americans are unable to see that the Bush administration is using the pretext of the war against terrorism to destroy essential constitutional liberties. Billions of dollars have been stolen by the wealthy while the working class is devastated through unemployment and lower wages.
If one class possesses all the wealth and the education, while the residue of society is ignorant and poor, it matters not by what name the relation between them may be called; the latter, in fact and in truth, will be the servile dependents and subjects of the former.
Americans are rapidly losing a sense of the values that made the country great. Anti-intellectual, racist or right-wing multiculturalism has replaced education, bought-paid-for politics has replaced democracy, funneling billions to the fat-cats has replaced statesmanship, and attacks on constitutional liberties has replaced political and judicial oversight.
Wake up n smell da coffee folks.