The Art and Science of Irrational Education

Diane Alden
June 5, 2002

What is happening to American institutions requires both art and science. From its churches to its educational system, from the government and political party system to the military, an invasive form of totalitarian groupthink has been artfully and successfully applied to those institutions.

Most artistic endeavors require technique of some sort. Even developing an irrational system results in an irrational populace that no longer depends on absolutes or basics or standards. That is true in everything from math and science to literature and government to personal behavior.

That is why our U.S. Constitution is now "flexible." With no absolutes, it is easier to manipulate and set the agenda for a nation. With no absolutes, there can be no actual rule of law. In the end, what evolves is the rule of man.

Yet that irrational system, and the art that creates it, also requires the jargon of science to make the irrationality appear to be clear and explainable.

In the Pursuit of Excellence

There are two unusual sports that I consider to be art forms. One is figure skating, the other is an equestrian sport called dressage. Both are usually individual sports. Both are based on certain techniques, traditions and individual abilities that require talent and determination and discipline.

In order to become great figure skaters, Michelle Kwan, Sarah Conner and Peggy Fleming did not just go out onto the ice and begin to do triple axels and spins. Their teachers did not throw them into an arena and tell them to "discover" or to piece together their art form by "experimenting" or deconstructing every move. That was true especially at the beginning of their training.

These excellent individuals were required to learn certain moves, learn certain disciplines, along with timing and memorization. Training rigorously, they learned to the very marrow of their bones, to muscles that respond without thinking, the moves that the technique of figure skating require.

When they were proficient in the technique, when they had memorized the moves down to their very bones, then came artistry, then came improvisation. After they learned the difficult and tough stuff and committed it to memory, analytical ability and artistry and their personal grace allowed them to achieve excellence.

A friend once told me, after viewing an equestrian event called dressage, that it was like watching the grass grow. But those who ride or know about horsemanship and equestrian sports know that every single rider and every single horse that achieves a certain level in dressage have made a journey of years to get to the point of excellence.

Dressage requires both intellect and physical ability for horse and rider. It demands communication between creature and human that is rare to nonexistent in most sports. But there is technique in learning the art of dressage and years of practice and dedication and discipline.

From training level to Olympic Gran Prix, if you don't have discipline, if you don't learn the moves, if your body does not make them second nature, dressage will never be more than a half-hearted endeavor never taken to its most excellent level. Like figure skating, it requires learning a body of knowledge and committing it to memory in order to take it to its highest level of accomplishment.

The funny thing is that individual excellence is not created out of group activity for either sport. Rather, it is individual effort and willingness to learn certain basics, certain facts, certain absolutes that in the end leads to achievement and progress and greatness. Out of that greatness, other individuals are inspired to surpass and perform great things.

I would suspect both sports, not being group sports, would be anathema to collectivists. They would not be preferred, because they require the individual to rise above the herd.

Modern Education and Its Irrational Roots

In his book "The Ominous Parallels," Dr. Leonard Piekoff of the Ayn Rand Institute does an excellent job of detailing the modern irrational roots of American society. Education, of course, is one of the prime vehicles of that society, by which the modern totalitarians have inflicted both political correctness, irrationality and ignorance on America's people, especially its children, over several generations.

Modern society has its irrational roots in three philosophers: Plato, Immanuel Kant and Hegel. Their philosophy requires one to accept the theory that the individual is not as important as the collective. It requires that the group, society, community, nation, race, proletariat, sex, or ethnic group IS the standard of value.

Every totalitarian dogma – from Nazism, fascism and communism to the collectivist plague of our era called "progressivism" – is cut from that Platonic, Kantian, Hegelian cloth.

In the world of the collectivist, the individual is only as important as his role in the group and how he fits into that group. According to Piekoff, the individual "serves [the group], on his own he has no political rights." He is to be sacrificed for the group, whenever it – OR ITS REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE – decree it desirable. (my emphasis)

Pick an ism. Any ism. From environmentalism to feminism to socialism, fascism and progressivism, the isms, it would seem, have some things in common. Alfred Rocco, the leading spokesman for fascism, states: "For Fascism, society is the end, individuals the means, and its whole life consists in using individuals as instruments for its social ends."

In modern times, the social ends of progressivism were outlined by John Dewey. He made it quite clear that socialization of children was THE primary responsibility of modern education. It was not merely to instill civilization or polite behavior or ethics into the child but rather to socialize him/her for what was best for the collective or the whole. Educating was no longer about learning a body of knowledge but about getting along in a group.

In the 19th century, one of the disciples of this system of education, from the romanticism of the Germanic school of thought, was Edward Everett of Massachusetts. Along with 10,000 of America's East Coast establishment elite, he learned his lessons all too well from German universities, where the thinking of Rousseau, Plato, Kant, Hegel, Marx and Engels was holding sway.

From that era on, our intellectuals began to throw out the philosophical basis that gave us the Enlightenment, out of which the Founders of the Republic created a system for the relationship between the individual and the state. In their system, the individual was more important than the state or the collective whole.

The politics that came out of the Enlightenment was a result of a philosophy – a philosophy that was based on reason over feelings, and the individual over the state.

What came out of Germany and France in the 19th century was a philosophy that threw out and decried reason in favor of the irrational, in favor of the collective, in favor of "feelings" and "instinct."

Philosophy is usually built up, if not created, in universities. As Piekoff relates in his book, "What came out of the towers in this regard ... [is] virtual indecipherable jargon. But that jargon is fatal."

Out of that 19th century philosophy of collectivism came the Nazi death camps and Stalin's purges. As Dr. Piekoff states, "a writer for the New York Times once said, the death camps "were conceived, built and often administered by Ph.Ds."

In other words, the educational system of Europe that promoted a collectivist philosophy did not necessarily also produce an ethical, reasonable or decent human being or society. It only required the willingness of individuals, like Hitler and Dr. Mengele or Goebbels, to make the state and the good of the state the ultimate goal.

In fact, much of Hitler's support came from the intellectuals of his day. They helped settle the rationale for his ultimate cruelty, and "inhumanideconstructionistlectuals" built communism and its cousin, Soviet Bolshevism, just as intellectuals devised the chaos and insanity of modern and postmodern thought, from deconstructionism to progressivism.

The logic and reason behind the Enlightenment were in trouble in America and in Europe.

Out of that dark intellectual chaos, the individual became less important than the whole. Taken to the extreme, in the final analysis the individual is expendable. There is no concern when they are manipulated by some kind of intellectual or physical force or intimidation.

Out of the mental gulags, out of the anti-God, anti-human, one-world-fits-all multiculturalism and diversity, gender politics and all the rest, freedom did not emerge. Rather a blind, silent, frightened, intimidated conformity and stagnation, nowhere more apparent than on university campuses at this very moment.

In order to create the "new man" for the new state, one must first capture the language. Then they must capture the institutions such as the universities. The totalitarians have done that in the United States in the last half-century far better than if we had been invaded by Russians in the '60s. Instead we were invaded by the products of the Frankfurt School of Sociology and its generals such as Herbert Marcuse and Saul Alinsky.

At least if we had been invaded by the Soviets, our wardens and masters would be identifiable as the bad guys. In modern times they are too often teachers, administrators, bureaucrats, politicians and intellectuals. They disarm us by using the best tool totalitarians ever received from philosophy, and that is a new "science" known as psychology.

Jung, Adler, Maslow, Rogers, Freud, Dewey and others became the founders of the brave new world. They gave the politicians the tool to recreate everyone in THEIR utopian image. But to reconstruct humanity, the new totalitarians first have to break down the old man.

Science, math, rational thought are antithetical to what the new totalitarians perceive as recreating mankind in their image. They have even found ways to subvert objective disciplines, along with the facts and truths of math and science in public schools.

The "new" math, the "new" science – all of it is about creating the re-socialized child for what they see as a world state where everyone will be on same level, get along, have the same "stuff." A world where thinking and opinion will be stilted so that no one will ever experience hurt feelings or think something is "unfair."

Rather, it will be a predictable, controllable, but rather comfortable mediocrity and sameness. They will create a vanilla person, a Styrofoam cutout, a robot or pliable person directed by those who THINK they know what is best for mankind.

Eventually, excellence and achievement will only be acceptable or allowed for those who have scrambled to the top of the collectivist heap. The new utopians, the collectivists, are not about freedom, but rather seek to make mankind willing slaves to their worldview.

Manipulating for the Collective State

As education expert and author Beverly Eakman states in "The Culture Wars: "... Americans bought critical changes in behavior, beliefs and worldviews. By applying advertising and agitation in just the right proportions, our adversaries learned they could create a mob mentality and suppress independent thinking. Technically, this is called the science of coercion. If done properly, one can fool nearly all the people all the time."

Mastery Learning, Outcome-Based Education, School-to-Work, Goals 2000, Profiles in Learning – all fads and educational trends put into operation in the nation's school system since the late '60s and early '70s.

Now, those of you who have followed along thus far are asking: What does all this have to do with Immanuel Kant, Hegel, Marx, the Frankfurt School of Sociology, Freud, Jung, Adler, Rogers and Maslow and the price of tea in China?

All these things are connected because they betray and explain a mindset. A worldview, a philosophy that seeks to shape humanity, the individual as a moral relativist, undiscerning, while building a thought pattern that denies or deconstructs facts – even those in math and science.

Because children are not given the grounding by doing the hard stuff of learning, the memorization, the drills, the creation of pattern and discipline, they will never be truly free to THINK on their own. Without the base, the technique, someone will always be manipulating or recreating them according to the latest fad, trend or totalitarian frame of reference that intellectuals usually succumb to.

According to Bev Eakman, one of the techniques that the educational mind Gestapo uses is that "Teaching techniques were ... OBE [Outcome Based Education] inspired: cooperative learning, multi-age grouping, minimal failures, constant retesting and remediation, teachers as coaches or facilitators, inclusive classrooms, and the vacuous mantra, 'All children can learn [at a high level].' "

To prove her case, she relates the story of a group of researchers in Pennsylvania who found the "how to" manual in social manipulation right out of the U.S. Office of Education. "Entitled Training for Change Agents"; or seven volumes of "change agent studies" commissioned by the U.S. Office of Education to the Rand Corporation in 1973-74; or scores of other papers submitted by behaviorist researchers who had obtained grants from the U.S. Office of Education for the purpose of exploring ways to "freeze" and "unfreeze" values, "to implement change," and to turn potentially hostile groups and committees into acquiescent, rubber-stamp bodies by means of such strategies as "the Delphi Technique."

The Delphi Technique, or the Alinsky Method, use change agents, or facilitators, in local school systems to get their latest madness incorporated into the system. If is not incorporated, the federal government will find ways to punish a state or school system that does not comply. According to Eakman, the change agent will "launch a pilot program, form a committee, gain community support and draw out objections and the objectors."

To implement a curriculum, the change agent will instruct the teacher by launching the pilot program. (Saul Alinsky includes among his intellectual followers Sen. Hillary Clinton.)

To gain community and/or parental support for a policy, mandate or curriculum, the change agent will form a committee comprised of the people from whom support is sought. He or she will serve as a lightning rod to draw out the objections (and, more important, the objectors) so that the target group can be manipulated toward an affirmative consensus. The complete descriptive of this person is an "advocate-organizer-agitator."

As Eakman explains, "… the change agent gets the target group to trust him (or her), by making the group believe he/she is on their side, a 'good guy,' someone who really cares what each individual in the group thinks. If the group is composed of teachers, the change agent will say: 'I know how much time you spend on paperwork.' If the group is parents, the change agent will commiserate: 'It's so hard to get kids to want to learn, isn't it?'

"While he is doing this, the change agent is learning something about each member of the target group. He is learning who the "leaders" are, who the loudmouths are, which persons seem weak or noncommittal, which ones frequently change sides in an argument. ... The change agent is well trained in psychological techniques; he can fairly well predict who will respond to what. The individuals against the policy or program will be shut out."

Remember, all of this "stuff" is not so much dry educational or psychological theory about education debated among academic pointy heads, this "stuff" has been or is being implemented in YOUR school system.

In Minnesota, for instance, they re-title warmed-over "innovation" and recreating the modern child from Outcome Based Education or Mastery Learning, which morphs into something called "Profiles in Learning."

The "agents of change" flip around on the titles of their agenda, but it is always the same – that is, to socialize the child according to a collectivist agenda, taking out the basics so that the child is basically ignorant.

Oh, the child can do a "project" with a group, like planning a trip to France or England, but don't expect him to point out those countries on a map, to be able to give a general or overall view of their history or to tell where those countries fit into the Western civilization scheme of things.

They may instead be learning about how ceramics developed in France or what artists put into their designs, creating a billboard that would sell a trip to France, or other ephemeral and JUNK information, but facts, discipline, rigorous learning – forget about it.

One Minnesota teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, stated in a letter to the Maple River Coalition:

My students sure know how to do inquiry research and plan a really cool trip to Europe. But they do not know much about the rest of the world or where places are located. My year was bogged down in all sorts of fun little projects. We are now told, "Students don't have to 'do packages' [Performance packages]. Packages need to be implemented into the curriculum." (The word is "embedded.") Whenever I bring up the need for learning core knowledge, memorizing geographic locations of countries, or testing for key ideas about American government, I am pooh-poohed by many fellow staff members."

My sister, who teaches in Minnesota, can verify what this anonymous teacher has related. Profiles in Learning is something the educrats say they will REFUSE to give up no matter what. The new totalitarians are alive and well and administering the schools of America.

Remember earlier I described what it takes to develop a figure skater or a dressage rider? No amount of cooperative learning, grouping, testing, minimal failures, or inclusive classrooms in the world will ever in a million years create the kind of excellence that is created by individual effort.

Excellence is about one person at a time doing extraordinarily well at a task. But that requires learning a body of knowledge and recognizing that some things are absolutes and not matter of opinion. All knowledge is not a democracy; some of it is the reality, is objective truth.

Not in an eon will a Newton or an Einstein, a Kwan or a top dressage rider come out of the kind of educational establishment or technique that we presently find in U.S. government schools.

Collectivism, progressivism, all the isms deny the primary importance of the individual in regard to the state or some elite's version of the good life. Those who promote it, our intellectual class and many modern politicians, want to remove the individual and control his ability to rise above others.

But without the importance of the individual, without individual excellence, without the Judeo-Christian idea that humanity is gifted by the Creator with certain unalienable rights, it is easy for a philosophy like Nazism or communism or some variant form to become the idea behind the state.

It is the collectivists who refuse to believe that it is faith and reason that allow humans to think through their problems and find reasonable solutions. It is the collectivists in modern universities, in politics, in international organizations who do not want to take the chance on empowering the individual. At heart collectivists trust neither reason nor faith nor human beings.

They seek to have each individual dependent forever and always on an elite, on failed intellectuals, "experts," academe or government. In the end, each of us will give up individual accomplishment to satisfy the organic mindset of the collective.

They fail to realize that out of that individual excellence will come the betterment of mankind. When excellent individuals come together, they can create great systems. But in the end it is the free individual who accomplishes, it is the free individual who cannot be manipulated by the statists, collectivists, "agents of change," educrats, progressives, elites or anyone else whose life depends on command and control and setting the agenda.

Dr. Piekoff relates in his book the statement of a journalist who basically nailed the direction in which the entire American society, from religion to government to education, is headed: "No serious thinker any longer believes in verifiable, objective reality."

Because of that education, including math and science, can be taught in grade school or high school, to socialize children rather than to impart immutable facts like the times tables or the basic laws of physics. Where that leads, the inability to recognize certain truths as absolutes, is toward chaos and eventual dependence and rule by totalitarians.

What is even more ominous is that by failing to educate the young, we are creating a society that will be even more easily manipulated in the future. No amount of money for education is going to change what is basically wrong with the present system. Blaming teachers unions is not even important in that regard.

What is important is to recognize that the entire educational establishment, the philosophy behind it, is coming out of the same cesspool of thinking that gave rise to fascism and Nazi Germany and Lenin and Stalin.

As Piekoff concludes in "The Ominous Parallels":

Our universities are the strongholds of German philosophy, disseminating every key idea of the post-Kantian axis ... with heavy doses of such Wiemarian blends as astrology and Marx, or Freud and Dada, or humanitarianism and horror-worship, along with five decades of corruption. ... [O]ur youth activists ... are the pre-Hitler youth movement resurrected, this time on the political left. ... [O]ur intellectuals and political leadership are content to retain the forms of private property, with public control over its use and disposal.

What I would add is that our political parties have also managed to begin creating the new utopian man using psychology, fads, recreating the language, and intimidating opposition using psychological techniques. The mainstream press and academe do it best of all.

If we continue on this "progressive" and intellectual course, if we train our children rather than educate them, we will have failed this country and the principles on which it is based. Our memory and our legacy will be as destructive of the individual and his rights as 10,000 armies that the Russians or Chinese could have ever mustered.

Reproduced with the permission of All rights reserved.

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27 jun 2001