“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this… But we tend to take the situation for granted… (the bullshitter) does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up… (Bullshitters) continue making assertions that purport to describe the way things are but that cannot be anything except bullshit.” ~ Princeton professor emeritus, Harry Frankfurt, 2005 Bestseller, On Bullshit
“[The] erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardised citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.” ~ H.L. Mencken, 1924
Stephen Colbert’s 2005 two minutes on truthiness as bullshit’s brother (embedding forbidden by Comedy Central).
This 12-part series addresses an overarching fact about public education: its design of intentional curricular lies of omission and commission to keep our children and the general public powerless, relatively stupid, and controlled work animals.
Importantly, I do not blame education professionals working in good-faith effort to produce high-quality learning from our children; public education exists in a matrix of control for ongoing empires that I’ll explain in detail within the series’ sections. That said, anyone truly educated in one’s field gradually discovers that public education is a ridiculous substitute for what’s most important to teach and learn. This is Emperor’s New Clothes obvious when pointed to, with this paper’s content including factual assertions that no counterarguments exist outside of shallow and misleading bullshit.
The 12 sections (links to be added as the series progress):
US public education: Bullshit to train stupefied work animals:
- Introduction: defining ‘bullshit,’ demanding comprehensive, objective, and independently-verifiable factual accuracy everywhere in Life, along with freedom to authentically respond (1 of 12)
- ‘US History’ as easily-proved lies of omission and commission to hide the .01% rogue state empire, and cheer for stupefied American myth (2 of 12)
- ‘Government’ as promised design structure blind to destruction of all Constitutional Rights in a dictatorial neocolonial rogue state (3 of 12)
- ‘Economics’ as limited and flawed models while ignoring criminal looting fraud to call debt as ‘money’ and ‘good,’ ignoring game-changing reforms (4 of 12)
- Mathematics so-called ‘real-world’ problems are lie-conceived trivial puzzles condescending to professionals; totally failing to count what’s most important in quality, money, time (5 of 12)
- Student leadership/ASB as entertainment committee with occasional gestures toward real-world problems but never recognizing bullshit ‘Big Lies’ of US rogue state (6 of 12)
- Language Arts fails to communicate inspiration for humanity; losing the human spirit’s self-expression to slavish empire (7 of 12)
- Physical Education fails to declare US national emergency of unfit, unhappy humans in body and mind (8 of 12)
- Fine and Performing Arts limited almost exclusively for ‘pay to play;’ quietly crushing creative self-expression (9 of 12)
- Science captured by the US rogue state; demoted to bullshitting about research, and silenced in real solutions for a brighter future (10 of 12)
- Solutions: education for truth, technology, and love to embrace reality and unleash human freedom (12 of 12)
Introduction: defining ‘bullshit,’ demanding comprehensive, objective, and independently-verifiable factual accuracy everywhere in Life, along with freedom to authentically respond (1 of 12)
Yale and Princeton’s retired Professor of Philosophy, Harry Frankfurt, is likely the most respected living US philosopher. His 2005 bestseller, On Bullshit, is a professional academic paper to do what great philosophers do:
- Distinguish a vital aspect of being human that we don’t sufficiently recognize.
- Provide opportunity to consider this aspect in one’s experience and expression of being human.
- Transform what was present yet undistinguished (and therefore what we are literally irresponsible for: unable to respond) to recognizing and having freedom to respond to (literally having response-ability for).
If you haven’t given Professor Frankfurt five minutes of your time to allow this global expert in his field to talk with you via the above video, I recommend that you do so.
The definition of bullshit is expression (usually talk, but not always) designed to manipulate the target audience into a controlled response of the bullshitter’s choosing.
Bullshit prefers factual discourse to minimize risk of being caught in a lie, so will mostly rely on lies of omission: partial truths that omit facts damaging the manipulative message. However, if all facts are damaging to the goal, then lies of commission must be used: representations that are objectively false, that anyone can factually demonstrate. These must be hidden in piles of bullshit, and if discovered, attempted to conceal in further bullshit and never ever acknowledged.
Frankfurt asserts that bullshit is everywhere; constant in advertising and politics. Humans receive perpetual contrived messages intentionally misrepresenting reality in order to herd our responses for the perceived parasitic benefit of the bullshitter. With advertising, the desired benefit is money. With politics, the desired benefit is power over policy/rules/laws.
As a U.C. Berkeley and Harvard-educated National Board Certified Teacher with awards from two Los Angeles mayors, and embarrassingly high praise from my students in semester-ending anonymous surveys, I factually assert that public education is bullshit.
I’ll define public education as bullshit in this section, and provide abundant examples in the sections about specific areas of curriculum.
Public education is bullshit because it lies in omission and commission about nearly everything important in both the subject area and the larger context of empowering children to become optimally successful, fully self-expressed, and happy.
And this is easy to prove for anyone caring to look where I point.
I tell my students that anyone who becomes educated in their field discovers that public education is at best an inaccurate and intentionally immature representation of reality, to a worst case manipulated series of distortions to stupefy children into willing work animals for ongoing empire.
Of course, that’s too much to keep saying, so upon establishing Professor Frankfurt’s work, I suggest the proper academic term for much of what students feel is wrong in school is bullshit.
Much of what students report they appreciate about their learning with me is upgrading their unarticulated feelings of bullshit in school to having the power to explain, document, and prove their case. The sections of this article series demonstrate specific and usual areas of public education that are indefensible to anyone truly educated as anything other than bullshit, and only persist from professional educators still developing intellectual integrity and moral courage to state the Emperor’s New Clothes obvious.
Another way to distinguish the bullshit in public education is with the Emperor’s New Clothes analogy.
I have a “hobby” of research, writing, and political activism, and used the Emperor’s New Clothes analogy as the title for an academic paper delivered to ~2,000 people at a Claremont Colleges international conference in 2015. In professional consideration before, during, and after the conference no colleagues found any factual errors in this paper in content of lie-started and illegal US/UK/Israel Wars of Aggression, bankster economic fraud to call debt as “money,” and corporate media lying to bullshit people away from simple, obvious, and game-changing facts that are easily verified by anyone caring to look. These conditions of empire only persist from a public bullshitted into believing lies of omission and commission, and will end with the ease of simply opening one’s eyes to look at reality.
The gap between reality and the bullshit rhetoric is tragic-comic.
Yet there it is; both in the largest contexts of policy centered in war, money, and media, and in public education (with control from corporate media texts). The good news is that we have the power to end this bullshit sooooo easily with just a little education and courage.
Let’s consider our Emperor’s New Clothes analogy in depth to empower our recognition of its presence in our real world and in public education. I’ll interchange this analogy with the now-defined term, bullshit.
Our Emperor’s New Clothes analogy has government officials (US/state/school districts), messengers (school administration/teachers/staff), and many in the public claim that the emperor (public education) is “covered” by the noblest of appearances, and those who fail to perceive this are either “unfit for his position” or “hopelessly stupid.”
The game-changing central fact, of course, is that the emperor is naked and not even close to wearing clothes.
These naked facts are easily explained, objectively observed, and proved for anyone caring to look. Indeed, a child points it all out with easy confidence, irrefutable accuracy, and proves the “official story” has zero credibility for any objective observer.
In the story, upon public initial conversations of the facts, the emperor continues the pretense, along with “officials.” However, the illusion is shattered within moments as the “whole town” began speaking about what was clear for everyone upon minimal attention.
If we had to document the facts that refute the official story, we would probably define a few key terms:
- clothes: material for the human body to be worn for adornment and coverage.
- wear: in context of clothing, to have clothes intentionally placed on one’s body. This is opposed to having clothes in one’s closet or dresser not on one’s body.
With just a little work, we refute the “official story,” and use the facts to make ridiculous any argument in support of this official story.
And importantly, if we did have to document our evidence even though clear to a child’s examination within moments, it would take some time to write and read, just as our arguments will take with public education not being close to teach the most important and comprehensive facts along with empowering our children’s unique, powerful, and beautiful self-expressions for a lifetime of evolving virtues.
And this said, if it were true that public education does not produce young adults educated for anything beyond being a work animal for empire, and that what we receive for education is not even close to empower human beings with the most important and comprehensive facts with the freedom to authentically respond, and that this is just as easy to prove as in the Emperor’s New Clothes, wouldn’t you want to invest the time to clearly see for yourself?
Wouldn’t you want such destructive farce seen for what it is by the wider community?
In contrast to the premise that what we receive from public education is bullshit, let’s outline an alternative:
- Comprehensive, objective, and independently verifiable factual accuracy everywhere in Life.
- Empowered freedom to authentically respond with one’s unique, beautiful, and powerful self-expression.
The sections of this series will demonstrate that the most important facts are missing from public education curricular topics. Again, this is Emperor’s New Clothes obvious when pointed to.
Upon establishment of Orwellian lies of omission and commission in curriculum, this quickly and easily leads to another stunning conclusion about public education: its design is to discourage human freedom to engage in factual reality, and thereby crush any authentic response.
If it’s factually observable and verifiable that public education intentionally misdirects from the most important facts, then the bullshit of public education includes manipulative control to provide contrived content meant to create and herd sub-human animals into some future other than empowered with the most important facts. Bullshit, by its nature, is meant to dominate, control, and parasitize others, in this case vulnerable children, into a future removed from their creative capacity. Although history isn’t a guarantee of future design, it’s where to bet one’s money. I bet the design of public education is for our children to serve ongoing empire as their work animals. We’ll easily prove colonial empires never became “former” empires.
We’ll consider data that Americans are awakening to how much they’re being lied-to in omission and commission from corporate media, and searching for comprehensively accurate facts. Successful searching, of course, reveals the naked empire.
A future society and education system of freedom is unimaginable from our current bullshit system, but we can try to imagine what’s possible.
Education for genuine virtue is inspiring because it authentically taps into what humans feel most strongly to develop. We’ve all had experiences of being inspired to improve our performances in what we care most about. This might be in relationships, a sport or hobby, work, etc.
We know from experience that nobody needs to tell us to “be educated” in these areas; we’re naturally motivated and inspired to learn more when our human spirits are unleashed.
Consider the contrast between this natural drive to learn versus the “normal” bullshit experience of public schools sitting at desks asked to learn trivia for desk-done assignments that are then never translated into anything performed or produced in reality. This is repeated over and over and over. Consider the approximate percentage that you were, and children are today, genuinely inspired to learn what is presented in public education.
What is your expert approximation? And hey, you are an expert from your years of personal experience as a student, and years of observing others in school, as well as any experience you have as a parent of school-aged children.
Is the percentage less than half; that is, public education is more bullshit than inspiration?
Is it a staggeringly low number, like 20% or 10%? Is it so low that by far you appreciated time outside the classroom with friends to “learn” with them above and beyond anything within the classroom???
Does your personal anecdotal data support a thesis that public education has been and/or is loaded with bullshit?
As Professor Frankfurt asserts from our introductory quote (forgive me, teachers repeat important points):
“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this… But we tend to take the situation for granted… (the bullshitter) does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up… (Bullshitters) continue making assertions that purport to describe the way things are but that cannot be anything except bullshit.”
Does your personal experience motivate you to see if we can prove with evidence that the problem of bullshit covering public education is its actual dominant factual condition?
I assert we can, easily, and with Emperor’s New Clothes absolute confidence.
Let’s look at specific curricular topics to see the bullshit clearly, contrast it with comprehensive facts, and imagine the powerful and inspiring possibility of education for virtue.
This is a big deal. We’ll have no brighter future without empowering our children with comprehensive facts and the freedom to imagine and create.
This requires your demand.
And without the facts to support your demand, you won’t know where to point for others to clearly see the naked facts.
Note: I make all factual assertions as a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History, with all economics factual claims receiving zero refutation since I began writing in 2008 among Advanced Placement Macroeconomics teachers on our discussion board, public audiences of these articles, and international conferences. I invite readers to empower their civic voices with the strongest comprehensive facts most important to building a brighter future. I challenge professionals, academics, and citizens to add their voices for the benefit of all Earth’s inhabitants.
Carl Herman is a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History; also credentialed in Mathematics. He worked with both US political parties over 18 years and two UN Summits with the citizen’s lobby, RESULTS, for US domestic and foreign policy to end poverty. He can be reached at Carl_Herman@post.harvard.edu
Note: Examiner.com has blocked public access to my articles on their site (and from other whistleblowers), so some links in my previous work are blocked. If you’d like to search for those articles other sites may have republished, use words from the article title within the blocked link. Or, go to http://archive.org/web/, paste the expired link into the box, click “Browse history,” then click onto the screenshots of that page for each time it was screen-shot and uploaded to webarchive. I’ll update as “hobby time” allows; including my earliest work from 2009 to 2011 (blocked author pages: here, here).