Why Don’t They Teach This at Vassar or at UCSC?

Why Don’t They Teach this at Vassar or at UCSC?
A case for dropping out of school, and not going out of your way to go out of your mind
by The Ox and The Cooperative

“Universities and colleges are inextricably linked to all kinds of institutions designed to preserve privilege and order but not to meet human needs. Support from the Department of Defense and many capitalist institutions — with profits ultimately derived from exploitation — or support by tax-free gifts — a levy on the poor to support the education of the privileged — makes our institutions of so-called higher education parasitic, trading intellectual integrity and social-consciousness for their next meal.” — The Cooperative, 1970

They don’t teach such stuff — the blah blah below — at Columbia University or Stanford University (Home of the Bechtel International Center!) where Matt Gonzalez (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Gonzalez) studied. Or at Teachers College, Columbia University, or Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey, or the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or N.Y.U. where I went to school (under a couple of different names). Or at MIT… where Noam Chomsky teaches. Or at any major institution of so-called higher education.

In Matt Gonzalez’ sweet San Francisco office yesterday, someone said that when things got bad enough people would rise up, and do something about it. Well, for all practical purposes things couldn’t get any worse than they are right now. But when some of our citizens do — and they will up the kazoo — you can count on people not being able to do anything more than the citizens of Haiti have been able to do about their intolerable situation. It’ll be too late. Compliments, in part, of our new surveillance and unconscionable other technology, increased self-hypnosis/delusions, and the like.

That same person also said something to the effect that they had risen above being torn this way and that by what he called external forces. Well, to me, smelling Treblinka on rising and falling off to sleep, that’s not very encouraging for the purposes of moving in solidarity. I’m guessing that we can count him out in his quasi-quietism, and I’m forced to appeal… to YOU.

I’m not put at ease by thoughts that so many years from now human beings may very well be extinct. Those thoughts are often expressed by citizens who are seeking an excuse for inaction.

The Founding Fathers hated democracy. Thomas Jefferson was a partial exception, but only partial. For the most part, they hated democracy. The principles of the Founding Fathers were rather nicely expressed by John Jay, the head of the Constitutional Convention and the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. His favorite maxim was, “The people who own the country ought to govern it” — that’s the principle on which the United States was founded. The United States… perpetrator of genocide at home and abroad, past and present. Ugly leader of ecocide in the world, its comforts notwithstanding (its comforts a cause?). All this is easily documented for you, upon request.

It’s hard not to lose a reader talking like this. And it was hard trying to address this obliquely as a professor for over three decades. That’s why I run my own little Home Schooling for University Students (HSUS) these days… where we reminisce about things like Watergate having been an intentional distraction (by the powers that be)… from COINTELPRO and the illegal bombing of Cambodia. And discuss what we can do about our undermining of democracies abroad today. [Salute.]

The major framer of the Constitution, James Madison, emphasized very clearly in the debates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that the whole system must be designed, as he put it, “to protect the minority of the opulent from the majority” — that’s the primary purpose of the government, he said.

In fact, still in the 18th century, Madison made some insightful comments about the interactions between state power and private power. He said, we’ve designed a system in which the “stock-jobbers” (what we would today call investors) are simply using state power for their own ends — we thought we were going to going to create a system which would put enlightened gentlemen in control (Not women, of course!) so that they would protect everyone from the tyranny of the majority, but instead what we’ve got is gangsters in control using state power for their own benefit.

Well, that’s the way the system was originally designed in the United States — and over the next two centuries plus, that basic design hasn’t changed a lot. The “minority of the opulent,” who share a very definite class interest, still have control of the government institutions, both the parliament and the Executive, while the general population remains highly dispersed, separated, and as Madison also recommended, fragmented* …so that people will not be able to unite together to identify and press their interests. And the principle that “The people who own the country ought to govern it” continues to be the dominant feature of American politics.

*Increasing atomization is now guaranteeing that the population remains fragmented, distracted, powerless. That’s one of the blessings of your technology.

Whenever you have a concentration of power like what we have in this country, you can be certain that the people who have the power are going to try to maximize it, and they’re going to maximize it at the expense of others, both in their own country and abroad.

I submit that with the air so carcinogenic in San Jose, L.A., Sacramento, (many parts of) San Francisco, Oakland and elsewhere making large population zones uninhabitable by our own (conservative) EPA standards, it is time to do something NOW. Ditto regarding our increasingly toxic groundwater, and disappearing potable water. Ditto respecting drones. Ditto with regard to our injustice, incarceration rates, Third Worldization of our economy, and much more.

No candidate from either of the two major parties will remotely consider making the institutional changes which are demanded for our health, our sanity, our independence… or by any standard of compassion. And no marginalized representative of any other party is slated to be in a position to even push forcefully for such changes.

It is in that light that I urge the reader to move in solidarity with me with or without embracing TOSCA http://oxtogrind.org/archive/353. In the spirit of wanting meaningful change as soon as possible. Without TOSCA, we might be talking about what’s in SCAT at http://oxtogrind.org/archive/358.

Richard Oxman, author of Rotten to the Core, can be reached at tosca.2010@yahoo.com. The Cooperative wants to end war on the planet, but knows it doesn’t have a shot at it as long as people persist in supporting institutions that compound ignorance with ignorance on the subject. Like the prestigious schools Cooperative members went to… and others. As I am writing these final words, a friend is asking me to ask you (over my shoulder) why no college or university will seriously question modern society’s assumption that development of technology is inherently a desirable, inevitable process? I wonder why. Can you guess why she’s asking that?