Jack Saturday

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Response to Bob Herbert Of The New York Times

From: "Jack Saturday"
Sent: July 21, 2005 10:29 AM
To: bobherb@nytimes.com
Subject: Your July 21, 2005 Column

Dear Mr. Herbert:

In response to this part of your July 21 column:

"And whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, if you'd like to see a wiser, more creative and more effective approach to such crucial problems as war and peace, terror, international relations, employment, energy consumption and so on, you'll need to rely on a much better-educated and better-informed population than the United States has now."

Wisdom, creativity and effectiveness in world problems have never been sought or offered by the public school system. Just let a child try being creative on a test, particularly an IQ test-- or ask a question of his or her own on the test, or critique the teacher or the teacher's approach.

Educated New Yorkers are aware of John Taylor Gatto's revelations about the origins and explicit purposes of the US public schooling system--and these purposes having nothing to do with the kind of intelligent, individual thinkers (who can also think with others) required to bring solutions to the tremendous crises now threatening on many fronts.

True, "higher" education draws a few gifted disciplined people to its rewards-- but surely you don't believe that there are going to be enough jobs for all should they magically achieve the ambition to succeed in school-- or that suddenly entrepreneurialism will boom. Outsourcing now seeks the technically educated where it is cheapest-- another good reason to continue the US system's project of dumbing kids down into obedient consumers of Wal-Mart products with the pittance they earn there, never mind serving the debt system. What Alvin Toffler called the "covert curriculum"-- obedience, conformity, and rote, repetitive work, suit just this purpose. These three ingredients are a bad mix for creativity and wisdom.

"To produce a labor force which would not seek an independent livelihood." (Gatto's answer to "what is schooling for?")-- but instead consider themselves lucky to work for Wal-Mart.

Schooling won't do it, Mr. Herbert-- education might-- but education might lead thinkers-- like Bucky Fuller for instance, an autodidact who was issued 49 honorary doctorates, to blaspheme, with such ideas as paying everyone handsomely to stay home and follow their own inclinations to wisdom, creativity, etc, as some of us have done with the trusty great teacher Mr. Internet.

5% of the population is all that's needed to produce everything we consume, and 15% arguably for essential services, says Gatto, citing a Harvard study. Automation is still revving on the tarmac and about to take off. We need to look things in the face, Mr. Herbert. We find that home-schooled kids in many cases are doing as well and better than many who passed through that system that costs more than the Pentagon.

The solution is liberty, a word you must cherish. That means permitting free lives and free choice by guaranteeing everyone a basic liveable income, a base from which to start. From there, with the desperation of how to secure the basics lifted, creativity and entrepreneurialism, backed by a level living floor, would burgeon. If you have faith in humanity, you will expect freedom to be good for people. If you have none, you will expect that in freedom people will become degenerate. Gatto puts forth a potent argument that people have already degenerated-- because of public schooling.

Thank you, sir.

"Jack Saturday"

Victoria, Vancouver Island,

From: bobherb@nytimes.com [mailto:bobherb@nytimes.com]
Sent: July 21, 2005 10:30 AM
To: "Jack Saturday"

Subject: Thanks

Thanks for your thoughtful email. It was greatly appreciated. Please be assured that I read every message but because of the volume I cannot respond individually to each one.
Take care, Bob Herbert

Jack here: these top journalists are supermen-- He received (in his busy day) my email from across the continent, read and evaluated it, and replied-- all in one minute!


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