Most People Are Sheeple
This little rhyme has been running through my mind as of late.
I think it every time I stand at a crosswalk, and see groups of people standing there, mindlessly waiting for the blinking white "Walk" light before they proceed to cross the street while texting on their iPhones...when any observant person can easily see no oncoming traffic for hundreds of yards in either direction. Do you really need a blinking light to tell you it's safe to cross a street with no oncoming cars in sight?
I think it every time I stand in line at a grocery store and see some morbidly obese person with a cart full of processed, packaged junk "food" products, or the long lines of cars cued up at the fast food restaurant drive throughs. Can you not see yourself in the mirror everyday and make the connection between the junk in your trunk and the junk you put into your mouth?
I think it every time I see someone with an Obama or a "GO Green!" bumper sticker on their sub-compact, hybrid car driving precisely at the speed limit in the left hand lane of the freeway, oblivious to the people behind them trying to pass the even slower senior citizens clogging up the other lanes. Do you really think anyone is impressed by your expressed support for "Our Most Historical President Ever?" Do you really think sporting environmental slogans on your hybrid vehicles are doing your part in "saving the planet?"
I think it every time I hear people discussing how "terrible Tiger Woods" is. Hello....if Tiger had been the one to hit his cheating spouse with a golf club, no one would be calling HIM a victim or worthy of a multi-million dollar divorce settlement!
I am finding myself experiencing a continually diminishing threshold of tolerance for the indoctrinated behaviors and beliefs manifesting themselves in the brainwashed citizenry of our BraveNewWorldOrder.
And it all goes back to the very root of our problem...the institutionalized, bureaucratic system that we call "Public Education" that is largely responsible for churning out a population of sheeple, easily herded, cajoled and controlled by their Tell-A-Visions.
Former public school teacher, and author of Legally STUPiD: Why Johnny doesn’t have to read, R C Murray, uses Orwell's term, Proles, which is pretty much the same thing as "sheeple" in his recent article, Our Prole-Producing Schools.
In order to fix any problem, we have to identify the source of the problem, and although there are at least seven principal malefactors I’d blame for our big government problem, I blame our public schools the most. In fact, I’ve made it my life’s goal to tell all Americans why they shouldn’t have their children in public schools.
For four years I taught in and fought The System, which is not the failure many folks think it to be. For 150 years, public schools have been doing exactly what they were designed to do – produce proles – that functionally illiterate class of people Orwell saw as the “hope” for Oceania, a fictional country ruled over by an all-powerful government called The Party or simply Big Brother. Do you think it’s coincidental the current administration talks so much about hope to his disciple-constituents, the majority of whom can barely read and write and who pay no taxes?
While I certainly agree with R C Murray's main point here, I don't think the goal is illiteracy...after all, you need all the proles -- sheeple -- to be able to at least have somewhat competent reading skills so they can read and absorb all of the official propaganda in print and on Tell-a-Vision. What the schools really do is produce a mass of people who are incapable of original thought...people who mindlessly submit to authority and willingly do as they are told; to know their PLACE.
Individual knowledge and personal beliefs too often conflict with government goals. This is the reason for one of today’s teaching strategies, “Group Learning.” Those diverse learners mentioned earlier cannot understand what they read (if they can read at all), and they can’t explain their thoughts (if they have any) in writing, so they need help. Public schools now place at least one accelerated-gifted student with two or three diverse learners in a “small group setting” in which they “work together” to complete a learning project.
In reality, the AG student does all the work, but everybody gets the same passing grade. No child gets left behind. In Legally STUPiD, I satirically propose “Group Testing” for all standardized tests. One AG student is paired with two diverse learners (a.k.a., proles) who simply copy his or her answers on their score sheet.
It’s a learning experience for everyone. The AG student learns his or her role as a productive member of society whose taxes are necessary to support the non-productive proles depending on him. The proles learn to support politicians who support them with entitlement programs. In a nutshell, this is how our Constitutional republic has become a socialist state!
Now THAT would be an education in how the "REAL" world in today's America works...
Another public school teacher, Jerome Kohn also contributed to today's LewRockwell.com with an article, When a School Gets Sick, which goes into more details on the current situation with regards to the latest initiatives being carried out in our "Public Education" system:
Being a libertarian, I have never been comfortable working in a government-run public school, but a PowerPoint presentation at a recent faculty meeting made me realize just how monstrous the system really is. The presentation was on something called RTI (Response to Intervention), and it began with a slide entitled "When a kid gets sick..." While RTI is hailed as a revolutionary new approach, it is really just an old practice dressed up in new jargon. With both RTI and its predecessor, nonperforming or uncooperative students are identified and treated as if they suffer from some kind of illness.
In either case, the process typically ends with parents seated at a long conference table facing grim-faced teachers, administrators, counselors, social workers and perhaps even a psychiatrist all armed with file folders full of evaluations and test results. The remedy these "experts" prescribe usually involves placement in some Special Education program (i.e. low expectations dumping ground) and sometimes even the prescription of some dangerous mind-altering drug like Ritalin. Few parents ever object to or question these measures. Many parents even insist on them believing this special treatment is necessary to help their "ill" child. Supporters of RTI may protest that they are only trying to help and that Special Education or drugs are only last resorts. That may be true, but they fail to see the stigma attached to the child being labeled and processed like some kind of lab rat, and they fail to acknowledge the record of failure for all of their "interventions." Most important, they fail to even consider that the problem may be with the school and not with the child.
May? I think it's an almost certainty! More specifically, it's little boys who are naturally rambunctious and inquisitive who are simply out of place in the strict, regimented and dumbed-down curriculum of our BraveNewSchools who are deemed "ill" and dosed up on Ritalin.
But everyone knows about how the system does a disservice to the "special education" students...the learning disabled and intellectually challenged students caught in the gears of the system.
I found Kohn's other point much more illuminating in diagnosing the true purpose of our education system - his observations of the "gifted and talented" students. The "achievers." Those kids deemed "bright."
Being labeled gifted means entering a fiercely competitive world of point mongering and grade grubbing. Honor students work extraordinarily hard to please their teachers and other authority figures. In academics, they fight for every point and are always looking for "extra credit." Typically, the parents of these students are also highly involved (i.e. applying pressure) and express tremendous concern about their son’s or daughter’s grades. At parent-teacher conferences, it is only grades in fact that come up for discussion – never learning. For the honor student, getting a "C" (and for some even a "B") on a major test, project or (God forbid!) on a report card brings on a personal and family crisis. It never occurs to these students or to their parents that these grades are merely the subjective evaluations of their teachers who know little to nothing about the person they are evaluating. Indeed, the parents know little to nothing about the teacher doing the evaluating.
Nevertheless, the honor student’s self-esteem and parental approval is completely tied to the teacher-assigned letter grades. In addition to obsessing over grades, honor students also join many clubs and go out for competitive sports. Many times they do this because they actually enjoy such activity, but just as often they join for the same reason they fight for grades – because it is expected of them and because they believe it is the key to getting into a big-name university. The life of the typical honor student is a life of frenetic activity, competition, homework and anxiety. Rarely is there time for reflection, solitude or contentment. Upon graduation from high school, many honor students know only that they are to go to college. As for what they want to do with their lives or what their real passion is, most have no clue. Many will never know.
I remember when I was in 5th grade, and my Mother tried to get me to enter the "gifted and talented" program at my school. My testing scores put me in the top percentile in my class, but the G&T teacher told my Mother that she wouldn't accept me into her class because of my behavioral and attitude problems (I spent many an afternoon in detention or in the Vice Principal's office getting yelled at).
I remember at that time feeling devastated by her rejection. I knew most of the kids in that G&T class, and I KNEW I had the intelligence to match or surpass most of them in educational achievement. Now I laugh at the memory of my rejection. I have always had a problem with mindless submission to authority, and after thinking about what Kohn relates here, I'm now 100% sure the G&T teacher was absolutely right in denying my admittance into her program.
Still, Kohn's most relevant point that resonates with me is this:
As for learning, most adults I know have forgotten most of the subjects they allegedly learned in school (even those they got A’s and B’s in), and what they do remember is usually politically correct nonsense. Witness how many parents are unable to help their children with their homework. We learn only those things we genuinely want to learn.
Forcing students to take classes in subjects they are either uninterested in or not ready for is pointless and only frustrates student and teacher alike. At best, teachers in our public schools are mere entertainers filling the dreary hours of the school day. Despite all the clever classroom activities, worksheets, and projects, how many former high school honor students ten years after graduation can still factor a quadratic equation, prove a geometry theorem or explain and classify the different types of rock in the Earth’s crust? Unless they are professional mathematicians or geologists, who really cares if they can?
This is so true on so many different levels.
I spent 5 years in my State University. I took all sorts of different courses to satisfy my liberal arts curriculum requirements. I had a cumulative 3.6 gpa in 5 years of college...and yet there are only a few classes I attended in which I learned something that sticks with me to this day, 10 years later.
But those things I endeavored on my own to study and practice? Like playing musical instruments, or martial arts? I genuinely wanted to learn those things, and I certainly gave myself a real education in those areas of my interest...no degrees, institutional hoop-jumping and other bureaucratic institutionalization were required for me to seek out a true education.
Unfortunately, it seems the only thing students actually do remember from their government-provided education is the government’s propaganda. One has to wonder, in fact, if such indoctrination has been the purpose of government schooling all along. How else but through indoctrination does one explain people’s willingness to vote to raise their own taxes, sacrifice themselves or their children to the government’s military, or continue to hold to an almost cult-like belief in a system that has an unbroken record of failure? To get a sense of the damage, compare the attitude of today’s typical American with that of our non-schooled ancestors. The spirited self-reliance, daring and individualism that once defined the American character have been replaced by a docile dependency and mindless conformity.
I wonder no longer. Our educational system was designed precisely to condition our children into docile dependency and mindless conformity...the hallmark characteristics of sheeple.