We hear a lot about the state of public education in this country. As a product of the system, wife of same, and the parent of four attendees of public schools, I know all I want to know about state standardized tests, social promotion, junk science, altered history, centralized socialistic management, and the achievement of a lowest common denominator in just about every aspect of learning. I also know plenty of folks who, after reaching the age of 35 or 40, have recovered enough to actually begin to actually think for themselves. Often, it is the basic math about the Social Security pyramid scheme that wakes them up.
The stereotypical counterpoint to public education is not homeschooling, which has an extraordinary success record. Instead, it is the private schools of the American elites, modeled on those for Europe's upper classes, that we think of as "ideal" or "setting the standard."
Schools like the one George Bush attended, and private colleges like those attended by many of his key advisors.
Yale and Harvard, and the prep schools that feed their gaping maws like so much partially digested avian effluence, give us "educated" men and women. You'd better believe it.
These folks have led the country from Washington for many years, and they dominate politics today. And frankly, while usually wily and conniving, sometimes seeming as warm and comforting as a favorite blanket, these guys don't know much about how things really work. What's worse, unlike a lot of folks recovering from their public educations, these guys seem uninterested in the reality that lies on the other side of Washington's power deck.
When it comes to the use of language, one need only listen to a speech or read an epistle by George W., or Don Rumsfeld, or L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer to realize that they do not understand the meaning of words and their desired relation to observed and measured reality. More importantly, they don't care. For Bush, and company, Republic becomes Empire, government of, for and by the people approaches centralized social and economic lockstep, language is a tool not to explain or describe reality, but to obscure it. Orwell, Samuel Clemens, and H.L. Mencken saw it in their day and tried to warn us.
When it comes to math, the performance of our leaders is equally perverse and appalling. North Korean nukes, able to hit the United States proper, do not equate to Iranian nuclear facilities not yet built. Yet George W. Bush tyrannically screams into his echo chamber that, "He will not tolerate" the latter. Seriously, we have folks living in straitjackets with less cognitive dissonance. Poll numbers, constantly watched, reported, and skewed, have meaning to these people, while facts on the ground, whether the number of Americans picked off every 24 hours in occupied Iraq, or the amount of WMD we will decide to go to war over, or the number of tons of freshly printed United States paper currency required to drown the Baghdad economy, are all irrelevant, unreal.
When it comes to science, even the EPA (which isn't traditionally known for hard science) has problems with the administration. Political revisions of a quasi-scientific document on climate change were demanded by our Ivy League educated masters. These changes transformed the final published document into "an embarrassment to the agency." When you can embarrass the EPA in scientific veracity and objectivity, that's something to write home about!
Jude Wanniski's clear explanation of exactly what yellowcake is tells another aspect of the degradation of basic science in this administration. I thought yellowcake from Niger was some heavy-duty uranium bomb precursor, based on Bush's justifications for the takeover of Iraq, including, "[Saddam] recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Beyond the use of the debatable words "recently" and "significant," I found it shocking that yellowcake is only three tenths of one percent Uranium 235. To enrich that uranium to the 90% density required for a nice new nuclear weapon requires uh… "significant" processing capability, using facilities that were uh…"recently" destroyed (during the Gulf War of 1991). Hmmmm.
There are other examples of this — but I'll just share with you what a neighbor told me the other day. He used to run a small computer repair business before he went into raising horses full time. He hauls horses all over the country and travels to Europe every few months to buy and sell. He didn't go to an Ivy League college, and it's entirely possible he hasn't had much college at all. We were talking horses mostly, but in a side discussion he told me the government is lying. Pretty much about everything.
He didn't know anything about me personally. Of course I agreed with him, based on my own personal observations from my time in the military, but he would have said it in any case. Powerful stuff, that honesty.
People who live with reality every day don't really understand the state, which lives in a world of its own creation, a fantasy world funded by our tax dollars. Public school survivors or not, I do believe there are a lot of folks who can see the Emperor's naked backside, find it remarkably unattractive and insulting, and aren't afraid to say so.
Washington's spinmeisters will probably call them ill-educated, unsophisticated, or maybe just idiots (and not the useful kind). But by fairly and objectively applying language, math and science, we can call them by their correct name. Patriot!
June 21, 2003
Karen Kwiatkowski [send her mail] is a recently retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She now lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley.
Copyright © 2003 LewRockwell.com