Posts Tagged ‘Fascism’

Essays by Carl Nelson

February 20, 2016

It's a Small World2

It’s a Small World

(when it’s Fascist)

 

Every story takes place in a country where the character must be sacrificed for the good of the whole and the author is the sole authority.  There is a “greater good” to be achieved.   “Kill your darlings”, is the much quoted classroom tutorial phrase which comes to mind.  In a story there is no Constitution, no Bill of Rights, no questions of debt or expense – because stories are about conflict.  That is, they take place on a war footing.  A great problem is afoot, great things are at risk, strong leadership is required, new thinking is required.  Quibblers need not apply.  Basically a story is a country with a ‘strong man’ ruler where the author owns all means of production.

Even in the Land of the Free we are not so hostile to this moral fascism of the “greater good”.  We honor our military veterans, our fallen, our departed leaders, our selfless citizens who sacrificed for their children, their town, their school, the fire department, the police and all those who are self-supporting, pay their taxes and honor the law.  And as humans everywhere, we think in narrative.

But in our published narratives we demand a little more and peer a little further.  We do an autopsy.  We lift that curtain on the ‘soul’, take the character to task for their choices, dig and scratch right down to bedrock where we assay a true nature and a truth, and decide whether or not they are useful to the greater purpose.  Should the character be obliterated from history or enshrined in the canon?

If you are of the progressive turn of mind and worship at the altar of progressive change, you might want to extend an uplifting book into realms as yet unwitnessed.  Life is indeed better in some stories.  Why shouldn’t this narrative be extended?  Why shouldn’t what reads well, play well?   Why shouldn’t we fight for justice as the hero does in our book?  Why shouldn’t we change the town to run more like it runs in the uplifting story?  Why shouldn’t we demand more of human character?!  And why shouldn’t we enact laws to help shape and sustain these efforts?  Especially, if a particular story has caused a terrific outpouring of popular sentiment?  Who would be so cynical as to not want a better world?

Indeed.  Who doesn’t love Disneyland, where our positive narratives have been infinitely extended.  The characters entertain.  The workers sing and smile.  They arrive and leave through tunnels and back hallways behind false walls and eat and shit somewhere else.   And you don’t have to pay them.  Just one flat fee and it’s all handled.  No one panhandles.  No one protests (except perhaps the long lines).

One afternoon, while at Orlando, we got caught in a stalled attraction.  We were jammed in this dark, echoing tunnel among numbers of other boaters, while children’s voices of diversity – from all over the world – chirruped loudly through overhead speakers, “It’s a Small World”.  Over and over.  A constant barrage of melodic uplift.

 

I felt as if I might lose my mind.

 

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From the Editor’s Perch…

February 13, 2014

Illigitum1

Pouring the Mold / Part Two

 

It’s rare that the average Joe can change society by doing something.  But he will most likely learn something. 

 

Illegitimum Non Carborundum!

And quite to the contrary, most often ‘the bastards’ will ‘grind you down’.  But, at least – if you forge on – you will discover how they did it.

So come with me, ‘Gentle Reader’, as we find from whence these fascistic forces, I have come to talk of, have manifested.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  If you want to find the source of where some aspect of society has gone to hell, you will more than likely find that what has grown to become so awful – began as a simple human urge, often to solve a problem or just to make things a little better.  Someone somewhere felt the need to scratch their ass, and now we are all butt to the skies receiving our ‘voluntary’ government treatment.

Prior to writing “Pouring the Mold / Part One”, (https://schn00dles.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/from-the-editors-perch-99/) I e mailed my son’s teacher.  And this is a portion of what I said: “…my reason for e mailing you this is that I can’t see how doing community service has any bearing on his understanding of Arch/Engineering.  And I can’t see why whether or not he does community service should have any bearing on his grade.  But most importantly, it doesn’t seem right to me that by donating $75.00 to a specified cause, he should be able to raise his grade by what would amount to two letter grades in Arch/Engineering.  I would like an explanation of this.”

And this is the first portion of the explanation I got: “Leadership is an important part of all Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes.  So much so that we are required to have at least 20% of our curriculum dedicated to that end.  (Note: Another teacher’s handout says the State Law requires 5%.)  Part of what I do is have the list of activities that the students may have done (since July 1, 2013) or do during the school year.  I explain to the students that being involved in the community and being in leadership roles is important to employers.  It can especially be important when two candidates are equal in technical respects.  I try to explain that it is much easier for a company to invest in a person when that company believes the employee will be around for a while.  Being involved in the community shows commitment.”

So.  My son – and every student who goes to his school – is required to train to be a ‘leader’, in every Career and Technical Education class, because this ‘leadership’ experience is important to future employers.  He ‘trains’ to become this ‘leader’ by doing (Mandatory) ‘Volunteer’ Service for the Community.  A ‘leader’ in this context, serves the school or town or county or state or country in which you live.  And ‘leadership’ in this context means doing what you are told; meeting your requirements, fulfilling your quota.  And, if we peer a little further down this path, the ‘community’ also means his future boss – which is the company.  And so, in bringing in my son’s future employment prospects, the Left Wing-caring-community-oriented crowd, deftly passes its charge off to the Right Wing-all-business-stop-whining-and-be-a-winner crowd.  And here my son goes, as he is passed figuratively from ‘Mother’ to ‘Father’ – off into the world.

Fascist thinking seems to transcend politics.  The Hitler/Stalin Nonaggression Pact of WWII would be a case of this.  Like animals of the same species, they respect their own.  Their thinking dovetails.

When my son graduates from high school, the school goal is that he already be accustomed to and be well acculturated to the corporate environment.  For example, take this sales company in which people I know have experience:

And just as my son is being told now, they are being told that the company needs leaders; ‘leaders’ who ‘buy in’ to the program, ‘leaders’ who are ‘team’ players.  In weekly meetings the employees are told not to resist the system; that the system has been created to make them become the most successful salespeople in the industry.  They are also told not to let their wives or their families destroy their focus, or to limit their achievement.  They are told to get their family to respect this.  The employees of this sales firm were first required to meet certain sales quotas.  As the years passed increased hours were added.  First it was 8 to 5; then 8 to 6; then 7:30 to 6; then 7:30 to 7, then 7:30 – 7 plus coming in on weekends.  And by coming in on weekends they didn’t mean just a “drive by”, they noted after some resistence.  They wanted a real presence.  Furthermore, to create team esprit, employees are pressured to go out drinking after work hours with the boss and their co-workers.  (Oftentimes to the point of getting little or no sleep, and acquiring DUIs.)  The employees who thrive at this are the ‘leaders’.  And the company, in this respect, is right.  A high percentage of the sales people who ‘buy in’, ‘lead’ in the production stats.  They also lead in drinking, divorcing, philandering, gambling, and partying – and it’s virtually unheard of for anyone to make it there until retirement.  Which is fine, because aging is frowned upon also.

Fascist thought is immensely seductive.  And when looking out at the world through the fascist lens, it is all eminently logical.  Getting others to do what the state wants, or the company wants, by being on board, on the team, and an achieving example does look like leadership.  And a company is always hungry for these sorts of leaders.  And by teaching a young person to absorb these values, a teacher is preparing them for a solid future in a fascist society.  And like most grand schemes, fascism works very well, actually extremely well – until it doesn’t.

 

Family

Family

 VERSUS  

Child Care Center

Child Care Center

Inevitably people become older!  They are going to want to use words honestly.  They will want institutions which have the individual’s best interest at heart – instead of the institutions’.  They will want leaders who have accumulated some wisdom along with their successes and know how to achieve a happy, balanced life.  But most importantly, they will want to control their own lives.  And when they sign their children up to study Architectural Engineering at their child’s school, they will want their children to be taught Architectural Engineering – rather than be manipulated to serve some grander scheme.

The Anarchist in me would point out that the instant where this whole story has gotten off the tracks is where something noble, virtuous and voluntary – has been made compulsory, and fashionable.

BUT…

That’s one scenario.  Here’s the other:  Being part of a group working towards a goal is a big part of modern life.  It’s how nearly every contemporary achievement is created.  And it’s something that has to be taught, just as do math and science and reading and writing.  In this scenario, our student finds a job because he fits in well.  He/she knows how to contribute within a group endeavor.   And through her/his good works he also becomes more than another self-supporting taxpayer but a credit to his community.  He/she believes living in a community comes with social responsibilities and he raises his children to think likewise.  Volunteering is a family tradition.  And this is a very easy school requirement for her/his children to meet.  Moreover, these exemplary citizens might point out to you that children don’t just grow up wild having these traits.  Altruism is exhibited by children who have been disciplined to value it and to exhibit it.  And discipline means coercion.

So.  What’s the difference between raising our children well, and fascism?

I would submit that it is the difference between the family and the state.  And that when we allow support for the family to collapse all around us, we are inviting the state to step in.  And as history has shown us time and again, fascism can look very good…  until it doesn’t.

 

Concentration Camp

A person cares whether the lives they’ve touched have been made better.  The state doesn’t really care if you do your ‘community service’ or pay the $75.00 – or whether you’ve earned your grade in Architectural Engineering or purchased it.  The state only cares that you and they have done as directed.

Photos from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch…

January 19, 2014
Core Curriculum Takes Another Local School.

Core Curriculum Takes Another Local School.

Core Curriculum: an Anarchist’s Viewpoint

 

            When I was much younger, the notion that it was much wiser to learn concepts rather than facts and information of all sorts made sense.  After all, we could always look up the facts, but wasn’t it the task of intelligence to organize these facts into a coherent, usable bit of wisdom one could carry around and use as a mental tool to examine and mine more facts and information to determine meaning?  Wasn’t the point of learning to absorb ways of looking and seeing so that the world became a comprehensible and useable?  Shouldn’t education spread the acquired wisdom of the history of all endeavors?  Otherwise, what’s to keep us from being superseded by the computer?

 

With experience came a different point of view.  When it came to arguing a point, I found facts and examples to be much more powerful tools than concepts.  Arguing from a ‘concept’ was about as effective as pounding a Bible.  Concepts are useful when you are preaching to the choir.  But otherwise, no one has time for yours.  Concepts are something you can fight with, but it’s facts and examples which do the hard work.  People generally hold concepts to be a lot like opinions (and assholes); everybody has one.  About all a concept will do is to start a fight.

Which brought me to my second, more rebellious, notion, which is that a concept is really just a prejudice about reality.   Some say that the facts organize themselves this way.  Others say that the facts organize themselves that way.  In fact, the facts do not do any organizing at all.  It’s the people who have organized everything.  So, when we discuss education, and learning, the question is: how ‘organized’ do we want this education to be’.  The Core Curriculum people (and those who would keep their jobs by enforcing these positions) would maintain (albeit tacitly) that we want it very organized, and from the top down.

 

In essence, what the Core Curriculum demands a student do is to observe the world with prejudice, rather than as it is.  And they would insist that this prejudice be extreme and all-encompassing, and – by the way, created by those far away from you who will ‘know better’.

For goodness sakes, if we are going to have prejudices, shouldn’t they be our own?  How in the world are we ever to change a prejudice, if it isn’t even ours?

Since time immemorial, the populace has yearned for consistency, and has sought to enforce it through force.  But since time immemorial, wisdom has taught us the errors of placing all of our eggs in one basket.  The reason facts occur without prejudice is because life occurs without prejudice.  The only thing which occurs with complete prejudice is death.  Yes, death is restful.  Death is peaceful.  Death will silence all of your questions and anxieties.  The Core Curriculum is a big step towards this ideal state.  And they would start with our children.

Photo from Google Images


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