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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

201. Serving The Imperial Virus: The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto from archive.org

Serving The Imperial Virus 

Toynbee thought he could calculate Britain's jeopardy if it allowed the masses dreams of 
independence by a comparison with the Soviet Russia where revolutionary dreaming 
once dictated social arrangements: 

In Marxian Communism we have a notorious example in our midst of a modern Western 
philosophy which changed in a lifetime quite out of recognition into a proletarian 
religion, taking the path of violence and carving its New Jerusalem with the sword on the 
plains of Russia. 

The working-class proletariat conceived by Toynbee is in a permanent childlike state, one 
that requires constant management. Because of this ongoing necessity, a second 
proletariat must be created, "a special social class" which represents a professionalized 

proletariat, "often quite abruptly and artificially" gathered by the national leadership to 
aid in managing the lumpish mass of ordinary folk. 

The size this bureaucratic cohort will reach depends upon the circumstances which call it 
into being. If the dominant minority decides to wage war, for instance, a vast enlargement 
of noncoms and line officers will occur; if it decides to concentrate public attention on 
charitable benevolence, a mushrooming of social work positions will ensue; if the public 
is to be kept fearfully amused and titillated by the spectacle of crime and law 
enforcement, a new horde of police and detectives will be trained and commissioned. The 
social management of public attention is a vital aspect of modern states. To the extent 
that schools, together with commercial entertainment, control an important share of the 
imagination of the young, they must be heavily involved in such a project. There is no 
possibility they can be allowed to opt out. Social management of public attention through 
schooling can be seen as very similar to management of public attention by corporate 
advertising and by public relations initiatives. Mass production demands psychological 
interventions intended to create wants that otherwise wouldn't exist. Among its other 
roles, school is an important agent of this initiative. 

The professional proletariats created to do this important task and others like it can be 
seen, says Toynbee, to be "a special class of liaison officer" between the governing 
minorities and the masses. This English way of seeing middle classes clears some of the 
fog away. Consider the real- life effect of an abstract rule of first allegiance to 
management on those schoolteachers who work too intimately with parents, or struggle in 
children's interests too resolutely — inevitably they become marked for punishment. Good 
teachers from the human perspective are natural system-wreckers. They don't fit 
comfortably into a service class designed to assist governing elites to manage. Their 
hearts aren't in it. 

Toynbee is brutally candid about where loyal pedagogues fit: "As the [imperial] virus 
works deeper into the social life of the society which is in the process of being permeated 
and assimilated, the intelligentsia develops its most characteristic types: the 
schoolmaster... the civil servant... the lawyer...." 

Quill-Driving Babus 

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