Morale and pay, brilliance and respect

 

About our local school district what may be relevant to many other school districts: Two posts to Facebook maybe worthy of wider distribution.

Anyone else think that it is time for a thorough review of the district’s operations? Morale is a signifier of the health of an organization and I would bet that there are a good number of students whose feelings towards their schools are nowhere near as good as they should be, in some part, due to the way their teachers feel about their jobs and the causes for these feelings. The problem has been for a very long time a focus on graduation rates rather than student involvement in activities that stimulate thoughtfulness and enthusiasm for learning what is being taught. Teachers are pushed to prepare students for passing tests and to move them along at whatever cost, this forcing teachers to push out students they know are not ready for what comes next. The job is about numbers and hardly about helping individual human beings grow well intellectually and emotionally. If one likes young people, cares about their futures, only a foolish teacher would be happy about the district and its goals.

In my post (the one above) I did not speak to the issue of pay but how one is able to live one’s life is dependent on what one is payed and teachers should be able to live much better lives than their current salaries allow. The thing about pay is that it has much to do with how the importance of people in our society is judged. This may not be a good thing but it is a real thing and it affects how people are seen and how they understand their worth in the society. Teachers, good teachers, the ones who understand how to make it possible for others to understand the world well are incredibly smart people, the best brilliant and there are limited numbers of these in the universe. That all teachers are not of this class is terribly unfair to students and to a society that needs highly thoughtful people to make it work as an effective democracy. Not all teachers are as smart as students and society deserve them to be and pay–along with which comes degrees of dignity, self-respect, and acceptance of their authority–is is not only important for what can be bought but for the kind of respect–self respect and respect from others–that is confirmed by how much of it one receives. Stupid movie stars receive more respect in our society than the most brilliant teachers! Money, like it or not, does attract and to attract the best and brightest to teach our children, teachers need to be awarded with decent pay, those truly highly qualified to teach. A minimum $100,000 salary is not unrealistic if the reality we wish to create is one that supports sensible and humane democracy. Good teachers, using a sensible scale of importance and effect, are worth at least this.

Why Socialism is Necessary

Socialism can work with a market economy, one that is regulated enough to insure that the economy serves the country and its people first and foremost. In proper socialist market economy, by law, vital commodities and services, health care and medicine, would be state controlled because they are vital to the people’s well being. So too defense industries, transportation, infrastructure, and so on. The state would, in regard to private businesses, enforce regulations necessary to insure that these entities provided adequately for workers and that products and services were safe and what they were advertised to be. In many ways, for periods of time in the United States when there existed a more kind and generous governing class, government did exert more control in the name of the health and welfare of the people. The reason that a new injection of socialism is needed is because the government of the people is no longer that but, rather, a government by a few for a few people, the regulatory function of government undermined by the ability of the monied to write law and have it enforced in their favor. That is why we are talking about socialism again, not because it hasn’t been a force in American society, but because the elements of government that serve the common good have been eroded to the point that the harm is being made more noticeable. The push back that should have occurred to right what was going wrong did not happen, this in good part because of a two party system with neither party truly on the side of the common good so that all the majority of people got was a bad deal.

Deny the dopes. Extinguish dopiness.

What some of these new female congressional representative represents is everything those who have ruled over everyone else by virtue of their being white and most of them male is the end of the game. They are concerned that they will loose power illegitimately gained, often by holding others more capable than themselves down by denying them resources and access. There is possibility for democracy to actually break through and it scares the shit out of the good old boys and girls who have lived comfortably off those they prevented from having what they deserved. Trump is their hope and he is a dope like many of them theirselves. Sadly, they still hold considerable undeserved power because the dopes have somehow–maybe by controlling the school system–made it possible that there are enough dopes out there to support them despite the poor treatment they receive at their master’s hands.

We need to take the dopes out of power and we need to help the dopes who put them there to stop believing that the shit they receive is all that they deserve.

That would be revolutionary. That would make possible democracy that serves the good of all.

Tame Capital

From Bob Fulkerson: Nordhaus symbolizes all that is wrong about the environmental movement’s embrace of conventional economics.
“Remarkably, Nordhaus—like most orthodox economists—has never bothered to consider this question. The growth-is-good mantra is so baked into our consciousness that to question it seems almost crazy. Indeed, growthism is hegemonic to the point of transcending ideology. Politicians on the left and right alike hold it up as the single most important policy objective; they may quarrel about how to make growth happen, and how to distribute its yields, but on the question of growth itself there’s no daylight between them.”

Me:

This is why it is important to understand that when all is said and done, there is but one perspective that is sponsored in our current political system and that is a capitalist perspective. It goes unchallenged in our political debates because there exists no viable opposition. There is advocacy, sometimes, for small fixes but never, at least in the mainstream of politics, any for fixes meaningful enough to cause a change in direction even if such is vital to survival. The cost to real people, to most people, of a society in which profit, not people or their planet, is profound but, terribly so, it is profiteers who have the money to buy power and they use it consistently to insure continued profits. The cost to others is always but a minor consideration if it is a consideration at all.

One more thing: We–people who really do care about people and planet–continue to react to incidents when we should be using our energy to deal with causes. The cause of most all of the problems progressives fight to solve can be linked to our–now global–economic system. Money is power because money buys power to buy more power. The fix is in nixing this equation, making it unworkable, ineffective. If we save a forest, while we are doing the work, some other forest somewhere is being destroyed, and so it goes and will continue to go so unless we tame capital, force those who hold the bulk of it to use it for the good of planet and humanity, this, to some extent, necessitating its redistribution.

Empathetically Weak. Empathy is Weakness

Nevada Sagebrush article

This shouldn’t have to be a topic of discussion on campus but it must be because there are terrible people running around doing terrible things to others. It is terribly sad that we live in a country where violence is a regular part of life and that young people have to find ways to cope with their legitimate fears of being harmed. Those who do harm to others, those who make others live in fear are, simply put, bad people, bad because they lack something of critical importance to a civil society, empathy.

How can some people be so numb to the pain they cause others? Perhaps it has something to do with the not so hidden ethos that is accompanies capitalism, the underlying theme that is actually appreciated more than we are willing to speak of that makes winning more important than compassion, that causes many who wish to “succeed” to ignore the cost of their success for others.

There exists in our society a tension between practicality and compassion and a notion of practicality that inures people to empathy for empathy prevents a person from acting boldly and decisively. Empathy undermines a “winning spirit.” He or she who would not hurt a flea is a fool!

The answer to violence in our society is empathy. The answer to violence in the world is empathy. But empathy threatens threatens the empire because the empire thrives on division, on the one against the other, one winning and losers and winning and losing. It is an empire and it is ruled by those with the least compassion, the least amount of empathy. Such people “get things done.” They get what they want. They get their way. And to get there, they have to push others out of their way even if it means killing them.

Nevada Sage Brush: “Anti-semitism, racism and prejudice, ADA accessibility and sexual assault on campus were the primary agenda items. Attendees were broken into smaller groups to create a more intimate setting for a conversation.

Anti-semitism was focused on during the town hall due to a swastika that was carved into the wall of Peavine Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 30. Due to the vandalism, a hate crime investigation was opened.”

I STILL DO NOT LIKE GEORGE H.W. BUSH

I STILL DO NOT LIKE GEORGE H. W. BUSH AND FOR VERY GOOD REASON.

When George H.W. Bush was president, I thought him to be, for many a good reason, a bad person and not a good one. So did many of those now praising him. Okay, he got older and maybe he became a better person. But that is not what he is being praised for; he is being called a great man and a great leader FOR what he did as a public servant.

Are we so stupid as to forget the past, to revise history for the sake of some weird sense of propriety? To praise those whose beliefs and deeds do great harm is symptomatic of something far worse than bad ideas, an inability to understand where they come from and the real beliefs of those who propagate them.

“In a 2009 speech, George H.W. Bush said that Bill Clinton was not his enemy, but his friend.” (From CNN). What I get from this is that there is a class of people in this country who view politics as a game amongst friends. What is difficult to like about this is the cost to others of their playing at this game. To gain election, they accentuate important differences in world view so as to give hope that alternatives to the status quo are possible. In reality, within meaningful contexts of how the world is and will be, they only are different enough that little that is truly important will be affected no matter who wins at the game; things will remain pretty much as they are because as they are, things are pretty good for THEM.

Political opponents in a truly democratic system offer alternatives, representing different ways of going about–it should be–making life better for those who participate in the electoral process. What is most important IS their differences and the debate over how to go about doing things that ensues.

In the case of our modern day “democracy,” the differences are so insubstantial that those with what seem to be critically different political views, who possess different perspectives on how the lives of others should be considered, can reconcile so quickly. That the “opponents” can not only come to respect one another–even if the actions of one or the other is not respectable, even outright inhumane– but also come to see greatness in that other, is a sign that the game is but spectacle, of no gravity.

The truth of the matter is that other people, hardly ever the players themselves, are hurt by those so made respectable and great. Lives are destroyed and people killed. The electoral process, because it has little to do with meaningful differences between the “choices” offered is, to, spectacle, a hollow gesture to a democratic process that really does not exist.

Not what you learn in your government classes.

What government course never taught

Consider the classes you had in school, the textbooks that were used, to teach you about American government.  What you learned couldn’t have been much further from the truth. The illusion created by those who have taught us, the illusion that most of those who have taught us take to be the truth, has had the effect of destroying democracy.  We do not vote ever on what is true and real.  We hold in our minds versions of truth that have been created for us by those who have something, often much, to gain from our being deceived and accepting the deception as the best we can get to shape our understanding.

The American government, the illusion of government by and of and for the people that is the common and constant notion of government most Americans possess, keeps the people in line, keeps the people from doing what a well informed people who believe in the value of legitimate democracy would do, rebel.

The architects of our modern government did not build what they built for the good of the people.  They built what they built out of greed for money and power and a profound kind of cynicism that has come to be understood as the proper state of consciousness for those who wish to be truly successful.

These cynical, greedy, deceivers of public and owners of our politicians and our politics are now being exposed.  That their exposure will in anyway have an effect on the game they created to insure themselves to be the winners in our politics, the owners of our government, the only players with any real chance of winning, is another illusion that will allow them to win even in their losing.  Their people, their family and friends will fill the positions in the scheme they leave vacant while serving their terms, if they serve terms, and the money and power will continue to flow where it has been directed to flow for so very long a time now that few know of any other direction to consider.  “It is what it is.”

So, Roger and Paul and Charlie (he really is no angel) and the prodigy of Mr. Atwater and Mr. Ails and, yes, Mr. Schumer and Ms. Peolosi and all the others who have succeeded at politics has also succeeded in making people think that what they have put in motion is irreversible and it is irreversible unless people being to reject so much of what they have learned and use their minds to learn for once what is true.

Then there would be hope for something better.  Unlearning what one has come to be convinced is true is at least as hard as learning something new.