Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Why the meter's running...

Once upon a time this space was used to provide me the availability to vent or "rant" which I seem to do on a daily basis. However my "Weekly Rant" has gone the way of the Dodo and soon to be Polar Bear. So instead of Weekly Rants these have become the "once in a great while rants" but it is not due to apathy or disinterest no it is more on the line of my favorite line from the Mel Gibson vehicle "Conspiracy Theory": Mel drives a cab and unceasingly talks to his passengers at one point he looks into the back seat and no one is there whereas Mel states "Well if no one is there... why is the meter running?" Unlike Mel's character who has a quite literally captive audience the two (or thee now that I know my brother is reading these) of you can move on whenever you feel like it. Therefore I need to think of this as why the meter is running.

But why care about the meter at all? Ah this then is the gist, for as I said it was not because of apathy that I broke away from my daily rants (just ask my students my rants are nearly on an hour to hour basis) but rather it was due to the finicky nature of the status quo. I am speaking of those who look upon the internet, on-line journals or "blogging" with abject fear. I am reminded of the Mark Twain saying "We are discreet sheep; we wait to see how the drove is going, and then go with the drove." It seems that we live in a country where freedom of speech only includes what is mandated by those who are in positions of authority. We are seeing people who will end up losing their jobs, careers, livliehood because they utter words dissimilar to the company line. We can argue the company line; this is one of the things I teach: I've heard the arguments and agree in theory with many... but not in principle. Theory because I understand that the social contract we call democracy is but an experimental venture that is proving unprofitable. Unprofitable is not the way of business in a capitalistic society.

It is not threats per se but rather recommendations if you will, that suggest that one not voice their opinion as it seems that some people can take offense at one's opinion. I used to have quotes by famous people all about my classroom: words of inspiration to inspire young minds about knowledge and education. Words by Antole France, Benjamin Franklin, Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Maya Angelou, Barbara Kingsolver -- Bob Dylan: you know all the great  minds... I was, er... instructed to remove them specifically the statement by Mandela "When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty." This as well as these words by Einstein:
"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence." were deemed offensive -- this is the battle then, as an American educator warranted with the task of exersicing young minds to become individualized creative and critical thinkers, to have them exalt in their learning experiences, to become the future leaders and caretakers of this world: without being able to utilize any of the tools within my tool belt.

This then is why this page was removed from my professional education page and why the fury of my words are left unwritten here. But as a drover I must get back to my driving and occasionally when  I turn to look over my shoulder to acknowledge you in the backseat I find there is no one there. But if no one is there, then why is the meter running?

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Monday, August 13, 2007

I am an anarchist!

I shall not rule nor will I be ruled. Anarchy is the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal. Anarchy is the absence of formal Laws, rules, regulatory establishments. Anarchy is the cooperative the voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society. Anarchy is a mode of being, a manner of responding to conditions and relating to others...

This is not utopian or some ideal to serve; it is simply a way of dealing with present circumstances. Anarchy is not lawlessness, chaotic bloodshed; it is not thievery, arson, destruction These monstrosities are features of a capitalistic society. Anarchy means peace and tranquility to all. Anarchy means to strip living of its deadening, mind-numbing theatrics, of its gloom and compulsion. Anarchy makes society an instrument of joy, of strength, of color, of real harmony, so that the poorest sort of a man should find in living both recreation and hope. Anarchy advocates revolutionary changes... an end to capitalist exploitation, the abolition of racist policies, the eradication of sexism and the elimination of political repression. Anarchy is opposed to violence. It is life based on the freedom of the individual, without the intervention of the police. For this reason we are enemies of capitalism, which depends on the protection of the police to force people to allow themselves to be exploited.

We are therefore enemies of the State, which is the coercive, violent organization of society. The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws. Anarchy is the process rather than the finality. Finality is derived from gods and governments, not of the human intellect. Patriotism is a finality not a process. Conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. Patriotism assumes that our world is divided into little spots, each one a unique color of mind surrounded by its own corresponding border. Those who had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the other living beings inhabiting the other spots.

Patriotism is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on their chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose their superiority upon all others. It is the belief that power corrupts, and that people become irresponsible in their exercise of power. Power must be dispersed not because everyone is always good, but because with absolute power people tend to become extraordinarily evil. In the hands of a people whose education has been willfully neglected, the ballot is a cunning swindle benefitting only the united barons of industry, trade and property.

Government cannot exist without the tacit consent of the populace. This consent is maintained by keeping people in ignorance. Voting is not an expression of power, but an admission of powerlessness, since it cannot do otherwise than reaffirm the government's supposed legitimacy. If voting could change anything it'd be illegal! Charity is no substitute for justice withheld. Slavery may change its form or its name — its essence remains the same. Its essence may be expressed in these words: to be a slave is to be forced to work for someone else, just as to be a master is to live on someone else's work. In antiquity... slaves were, in all honesty, called slaves. In the Middle Ages, they took the name of serfs; then indentured servants today, we call them wage earners. What shall we think of a government to which all the truly brave and just in the land are enemies, standing between it and those whom it oppresses.

The most dangerous citizen, to any government, is the one who is able to think for themselves... they understand that governments they live under are dishonest, insane, intolerable Neither god nor master! There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven nor hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds, the more intense the religion of any period the more profound the dogmatic belief, the greater the cruelty and worse the state of affairs.

In the so-called ages of faith, when people really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; millions of unfortunates burned as witches; as heretics there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of God. Who burnt heretics? Who roasted or drowned witches? Who built dungeons and filled them? Who brought forth cries of agony from honest men and women that lit up the countryside –living writhing Roman candles? Who spat filth over the graves of Paine and Voltaire? Christians – of organized religion. Look around the world every single bit of progress in humaneness, every improvement in criminal rehabilitation, every step toward the diminution of war, toward better treatment of races, of people every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christianity, as organized in its churches, is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

This is anarchy: the freedom to exist intelligently unfettered by dogma or doctrine but by interacting eloquently with one another.

Anarchy is as Nelson Mandela said:
“When injustice becomes law resistance becomes duty.”

We need to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world – its good, its bad, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is and be not afraid of it. Conquer the world through intelligence and not merely by being slavishly subdued by fear. We ought to make the best we can of this world, and if it is not as good as we wish for, it will still be better than how we found it.
A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.It needs a fearless outlook and a free intelligence. It needs hope for the future, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.
This is anarchy.