Barbarians at the Gates…

It has long been the interpretation of historians that the spread of liberal education across America led to a radicalization of the youth in the 1960s and 70s, and some have implied that there was, in response to this, an effort to denude education of those elements that lead young people to think in revolutionary ways, by associating the goals of education, not with moral or ethical transcendence, but as a means toward financial security. As an accident of this process, critical thinking has given way to discipline as the overarching theme of educational development. In other words the metaphor of the poet, as a model of educational mastery, has given way to the ethic of the soldier.

Now, my point here is not to belabor the obvious, but to point out the unforeseen consequences of purposely perverting the internal logic out of which we derive the notion of authority. If we give people, en masse, the rights of authority without the deeper knowledge of responsibility, then we give power to those who might not be aware of it even when they are using it. In other words, we unleash, instead of radicalized liberalizing power, unconscious and anarchistic power…destructive power…power that knows only itself as an organizing principle…power without a price…power that feeds on itself, and feeds on the disempowerment of others…a kind of political zombie.

If we once let loose a wild bunch of hippies as a result of spreading liberal arts to the masses, and as a result pulled back some of the more liberating aspects of classical education in order to shore up the authority of the state, while maintaining an illusion of the educated citizen, then we have now let loose a wild barbaric mindless swarm of people who insist on exercising political power merely because they have been taught that it feels good to do so.



  1. universaltron
    September 1, 2010

    by chance are you talking specifically about the tea party?

    interesting post. makes me think about what type of education would or should be required to be an active citizen. it seems like the less you know these days the more likely you are to be followed and or be known as an expert. Glen Beck for example and Limbaugh are both not college graduates and even confessed idiots. not that an education matters these days. if their goal was intellectualism and truth instead of upholding ignorance as the standard for which America should pursue i would let their lack of education be a non-issue.

    maybe there is a way to mask one’s education or interest in intellectual pursuits in order to lead such lost individuals out of the forest and away from the city’s gates.

    how does one separate the dogma from intelligent discourse?

  2. Akbar Lightning
    September 1, 2010

    what comes to mind is this:

    people hate education because it was a prison…

    so those who excelled in school are the most suspect…

    and there is a truth in this we must cop to…

    however, the baby has been tossed out with the bathwater…

    so, like angry children, those who were abused by an illogical grading system are fighting back by reveling in absolute ignorance and stupidity, enjoying it, knowing somehow that it is powerful, simply because it makes no sense…

    it is like the dada movement on the other side of modernism…everything is like the flip side now, a backwards dance away from the 21st century…all the bad guys are good guys, and all the good guys are bad guys…

    watching that glen beck march on washington was a real eye-opener, and i realized that we have entered into an age of great repugnance…

  3. universaltron
    September 1, 2010

    this is a good point. i have yet to see it this way. Glen Beck is a messiah figure currently. I believe he would want nothing more than to be a martyr as well. He joked about it too last weekend about possibly being shot. Something like that would grow this movement of ignorance even more. Their masses would swell. It is as if we have reached the tip of intellectual progress and now we are on a downward spiral into the dark ages.

    What is also funny that goes along with this a bit is that the most popular post on globatron currently is this:

    I didn’t know why so I gooogled health care reform is communism and realized for those keywords that post ranks third on Google and fifth on and

    This was a quick post and has been long forgotten. But to see the interest in those keywords and how it has brought traffic to the site is simply amazing. What are people thinking. Is this a serious internet search? Do people truly believe that health care reform is communism or are they just googling to see what the “crazies” are saying or does it even matter?

    Do you have a solution? Are we to accept our place? Has progress (a dirty word now by the way) been replaced by ignorance? And if so are we to join the party? Help tear down the walls and help enter the age of darkness versus hoping for a new age of enlightenment.

  4. Akbar Lightning
    September 1, 2010

    there is no solution, other than self-improvement and reaching out with a different message…

    we live in a crazy time…personally, if i were design a virtual game, this would be ideal…an open-ended narrative that could be either heroic or tragic….lots of evil bastards, and lots of great people too, an intense level of diversity and surprise…it’s perfect in my estimation…

    anger is the primary obstacle…and i suffer from it too, but when i do, i lose points…

  5. logocentric
    September 6, 2010

    very interesting post. i’ll have to meditate on it and respond later, probably in the form of another post. thanks for the ideas.


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