Immigration Distorted

Posted to Truthdig in response to:
Cubaqus writes the standard response to any claim that life in Cuba might not be as bad as it is said to be by those who hate Castro and everything he did, conveniently ignoring the fact that under his “brutal” regime, considerably more Cubans enjoy lives considerably better than most Cubans enjoyed before the revolution. The problem with Castro for those who hate him is that he redistributed wealth and resources this, because of limited wealth and resources available, made it so that all had enough but none a whole lot. A trade ban imposed on Cuba by the United States insured that there would not be much to go around. Those who had a lot before the revolution had a lot less after the revolution, not because Castro and his friends took a lot for themselves. As far as I can tell, and I don’t think there is evidence to contradict this claim, Castro and his family and friends did not profit greatly from the system of government he helped to create. I will bet that his and his family’s net worth was considerably less than the leader of most any other country in the world. This may be why Castro was so hated in the United States and why there is so little said about him that is good despite the fact that he did a good amount of good for those who had suffered abject poverty and harsh exploitation under the regime he overthrew, a regime whose leader and cronies prospered greatly at the expense of the majority of the people living on the island.

I have visited Cuba three times now and travelled from one end of the country to the other, stopping almost anywhere I wanted to stop and I did not see a brutalized people. I didn’t see any signs anywhere of the ostentatiousness I would see if I visited any of Donald Trump’s homes or, for that matter, the residences of most of those who serve as politicians in the United States of America. I did not see great wealth beside poverty or workers living in shacks while business owners and investors lived in castles. I saw people who were to the person healthy and literate (unless they were old enough to have lived under the regime the United States supported pre-Castro). I was aware of a good degree of censorship and saw good amounts of propaganda to bolster government and government policies and had a sense that people were somewhat reluctant to say things of which the government might not approve. Certainly I did not like this aspect of Cuban life but I did find the people to something far less than miserable and not at all defeated or terribly dissatisfied with the lives they were living.

Across Cuba, I saw people doing their work, eating adequately, and enjoying cultural trappings that all could afford. The people weren’t miserable and they weren’t suffering the normal consequences of being an oppressed people. They did not seem to be oppressed and I cannot believe it possible that they were all doing what the government told them to do to make visitors see something other than what was the actual reality they were living.

So this article was appreciated because the reality of Cuba is not the reality that has been presented by our free press to the American people. Over the course of many years studying Cuba and its pre and post revolution realities with great difficulty in finding “objective” renderings of those realities, I must say that Americans, for the most part have a very distorted notion of Cuba and the lives lived by Cubans living in Cuba, that distortion intentional and purposeful, offered up in a nation that considers itself to be an open society in which the truth is available to all who seek it. The truth about Cuba is not the “truth” that Americans get and that this is true should cause thoughtful Americans to consider why and what it means in regard to the information they rely upon to make decisions that affect others in their own country and in countries around the world.


Right Makes Good Sense

Below are pieces of text taken from an article by William Kristol. Kristol is, as most know, a staunch conservative. And conservatives like him, are very thoughtful people dedicated to preserving the democracy as they understand the founding documents to have described democracy.  They are the republican intellectuals and their thoughts are always worth studying because they do make good sense from their particular perspective—the thoughts are based in good logic that, when studied properly by those of different political persuasions, is sound, the fault being in the basic premises upon which the logic operates.  These are the people who those who care about the potential and future of democracy should be sitting down and talking to, debating. The following reflects the fact that sometimes good sense comes from the right, that what is right is not always wrong.

That the people can be taken in by demagogues is obvious, has been obvious for a long time before the current election, but a fact of our civil existence that is often ignored by those who accept for themselves the label of “liberal.”  There is a book that I read many years ago, early in my college career, that almost scared democracy out of me, Ortega y Gasset’s The Revolt of the Masses. Today the French President urged the world to be weary of the populist juggernaut that is pushing democracy, democratically, toward demagoguery (  Government by the people can become something other than government that is truly for the people and this through decisions that are of the people.

The idea that grass roots are necessarily attached to good fodder is something of a pipe dream, a dream, however, that can be realized through good education, I think. That Kristol’s concerns are eminently important concerns has much to do with the quality of mind that is the popular mentality of this day.  Holland’s worries concern those who, as the dictionary definition suggests,  appeal to the ordinary people.  What can be wrong with that in a democracy?  As Kristol’s Lincoln citation cautions, it is the ordinary people’s response to such appeals that can destroy democracy or, perhaps worse, turn democracy to serve the tyranny of the people.

Democracy, humane democracy, works only if ordinary people are ready and able to do what democracy trusts they are capable of doing—be well informed and thoughtful, knowledgeable, of good sense, fair minded, and of good heart.

From Kristol’s piece:

Abraham Lincoln commented in 1838 that if the experiment were to fail, the danger would “spring up amongst us. .  .  . If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

And now we have, not to put too fine a point on it, a talented demagogue as president. Demagogues have always been among us, and have always been understood as a threat to liberal democracy. They appeal to the people and claim to speak for the people. President Trump asserted in his inaugural address that “we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the American people.” Power to the people! What’s not to like?

Well, as Federalist 51 points out, “a dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”William Kristol, Daily Standard, “Country First”

FEB 06, 2017





Repost: Supporting All Teachers NOT Good For Country

Written more than three years ago, this piece comes close to making the case that teachers are the problem and I post it again because my experience in education, as student and teacher and teacher educator has been that teachers are indeed the problem, the problematic interface between student and his or her education.  Teachers are not necessarily the problem because they cannot teach well, though there are some who cannot and those who defend teachers know this is true and, for the sake of students, need to do something about it.  Many teachers are capable and, at least when they start teaching, willing to help students grow into wise independent thinkers who want to and know how to participate in the societal decision making process.  They are often not allowed to do the good work they wish to be doing and, sadly, are rarely willing, rarely encouraged by individuals such as Ms. Weingarten or organizations such as the one she leads to demand being treated with dignity, encouraged to fight back when those in authority force teachers to do something other than what they know is best for students and the society.

I hope that the recent events in American politics serve as a wakeup call to those with strong voices in the important discussions concerning education in the United States of America to use their voices to speak to what is wrong and what has been wrong in education for so long, a system that teaches respect for authority no matter who may have attained positions of authority, qualified or not, wise or stupid, good or evil.  I ask that they stop bullshitting people into believing that the system is a good one, that it is the right one to encourage and prepare people for effective participation in the democratic decision making process.  Take heed of the fact that Trump was elected by and electorate that was educated by American teachers in American schools.  And do not pull out the “majority voted” for the other candidate argument.  No matter what the numbers, the candidate who has become the President of the United States should not have become president.  If it is the rules, if it is the lies, if it is the media, the Russians and Wikileaks, whatever it is has something to do with a political (and social) system in a society where government is, by its constitution, by the people that is not working well for the people or for the general well-being of the world in which we live.

We need change and we need it now and the first thing that needs changing is the educational system.  It is the root of all good in a democratic society and, too, potentially, the root of all evil.

In response to comments at My Friend, Randi Weingarten, July 10, 2013

“Today, American public education faces an existential threat to its very existence. We all need to work together, argue when we must, but maintain our basic unity against the truly radical, truly reactionary threat of privatization. As a nation, as a democracy, we cannot afford to lose this essential democratizing institution.” With this I wholeheartedly agree. I think that the important missing piece of the argument is a well rendered description of what constitutes sound educational practices in the context of a democratic society. Indeed, the tests are an abomination and the consequences for educators and students incredibly high, the loss of autonomy, the loss of a right to succeed and retain one’s individuality.

But I am concerned with the lack of discussion of the truly viable alternative to what exists now and I have no doubt that an alternative is necessary and that alternative may mean alternative ways for teachers to conduct themselves. Thus, the urge to defend teachers cannot allow those arguing for better conditions for teaching to ignore the role of teachers in creating and perpetuating the current system. If teachers are teaching under rules and regulations that prevent them from teaching well, then teachers must do something (everything) to change those conditions. If there are teachers who act to prevent necessary change or who do nothing to change the conditions of their work, then they are complicit in undermining the quality of education students receive.

I do not wish to argue about who is to blame, but I will argue that those who wish to improve the quality of education students receive consider what needs to be done to achieve such goal. One thing that has to be done is to define proper goals for instruction and it seems as though those goals are not being defined by teachers or their students. Getting a “good job” and becoming a competent worker, one who advances the cause of American competitiveness in the global economy, is what the current agenda is about. Little is said about goals such as effective participation as a citizen of a participatory democracy or the ability to challenge authorities who proscribe goals that are not the goals they would set for themselves or their own children. Few people want to be obedient workers who take what they are offered even if the offer is an absurd offer, a job that makes one miserable and pays little but is “the only job available.”

Citizens need to take on the forces that oppress them and education does need to help individuals to be able to fend for themselves, to participate in the creation of rules and policies that affect their lives. As Dewey says, people must participate in creating and regulating the institutions that govern their lives for, if they do not, then people have no good reason to give up bits and pieces of their freedom. People, as Dewey argues, in a democratic society give into rules because they believe them to be good and proper in that they allow all to live as free people amongst other free people.

If teachers feel bound by the rules, object to the rules but are not heard by the rule makers, then teachers have an obligation as citizens and as teachers of citizens to do whatever is necessary to make themselves heard. Sometimes this necessitates making trouble for oneself, causing oneself discomfort, putting things at risk, but if teachers are unwilling to do this, to grumble while doing someone else’s bidding, then they are poor role models for citizens of a democracy, a form of government that is revolutionary in regard to its coming into being and its being properly sustained. If teachers are teaching students to be good girls and boys because it is good to be good rather than right to be good because what is good is right, then they are being horribly mis-taught.


Repost: Interference

I repost this piece written in October of 2014 and will repost others that I think are significant to what is currently taking place in the American society.  The harsh criticism of Ms. Ravitch is now over three years old and, perhaps, she has truly changed her way of thinking since the piece was first published.  I argue that her claim to have made a radical turn then was subterfuge, her underlying principles as problematically conservative as they ever were, the only real change being that she now was a strong supporter of teachers, those teachers, in the context of the history of the time trained to do what No Child Left Behind mandated.  Whether or not Ms. Ravitch has come to support the kinds of progressive change needed to bring the nation back to its senses, respond to the era of Trump in a truly meaningful way, is to be seen.  Here is the article with flaws and blemishes:

After seeing ad on Facebook by actor explaining how Diane Ravitch is Education’s hero: Do not buy it, October 13, 2013

As some of you who read my early posts to this site know, I find it difficult, very difficult to take Diane Ravich’s radical turn away from NCLB seriously and this is not because I find it impossible to believe that people can change.  I do not think Ms. Ravich has changed at all, that she is the same Diane Ravich she was when she was a tool for the George W. Bush administration doing every thing she could to make sure that the act that Congress stupidly passed in the name of improvement of the nations schools would be implemented.  She now says she is against government interference in school policy and wants us all to get behind her because she is a champion of teachers and against the Common Core State Standards.

I sincerely believe, after reading a host of her posts on her blog site and many an article in which she has championed herself as champion of public schools and their teachers, that she is not a fraud, but working over people who, after the devastation NCLB caused, want a strong advocate, someone they can get behind who is really behind them, who is not like the Ravitch’s and other educational “leaders” in the Bush administration who demoted teachers to clerks and did everything to control them, control them so tightly that they could not breath a breathe of creativity, could not do what they knew to be right for their students because of the “research based” mandates of NCLB iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act.  NCLB and its conceptualization of research not only ruined schools, teachers, and the education of millions of students, but also undermined the credibility of educational research for, under NCLB it was used to prove true what was false and so that what was false could be used to support educational practices demeaning to students, their teacher, and the whole of the American educational system that NCLB was meant to rip apart and did rip apart.

It is that system, the one that NCLB created by ripping apart schools programs that at least had a bit of progressivism in them, that had an ounce of real humanity in them, that Ms. Ravitch wishes to preserve.  She does not like at all the Core State Standards, and of course she wouldn’t because they offer the antidote to NCLB’s poison, poison still working its way through the system as teachers trained and force to adapt to NCLB realities make up a major portion of those working in the system with the same materials and the same tests to guide a good mount of passes for educational practice.

Ms. Ravitch is only against government interference if it interferes with her notion of what schools should be and what she thinks schools should be is not clear, I think because if she made clear the goals she supports many of those now following would reject her outright.  It was her notions of proper educational outcomes, those she shared with other Bush administration advisors, that created the extant system, just now under repair because of the development and implementation of the CCSS standards that she hates.

I must admit that I do not like many of the same reforms and reformers that she dislikes; I am not fond of the ways in which Ely Broad and Bill Gates are influencing the system, and the discourse, from their high purchases in billionaire land, a place from which it is quite impossible to determine what it is education-wise that us mortals really need or why we even need what we need.  These are not people interested in democracy or in preparing people for democracy by providing through education the tools for empowerment that with the ability to develop informed opinions that they can articulate clearly in the forums of democratic debate.  These new educational leaders do not want to debate; they want to control and that is exactly the role they are playing in the current educational debates, the outcomes of which they win, not with strong arguments but by buying them.

But Diane Ravitch is not the one who possesses the sensible and sensibly democratic counterpoint.  She wasn’t for the people while working for the Bush administration and she isn’t now and there is little in her massive body of commentary that argues for the kind of educational system that would be good and right for democracy.  She, I think, is about the economic order, its stability and not much about the kind of revolutionary fervor good American education, education in line with what the Declaration proclaimed to be the purpose of a form of government such as that developed in the U.S. Constitution to promote involvement in the decision making processes of the society by those whose freedom they agreed to have sensibly curtailed in order to allow for maximum amounts of freedom for the many and not absolute freedom for the few who could afford to buy it and buy it from the poorly educated masses who could be convinced to sell their freedom for the security of a job, too often a job that interfered with rather than enhanced their pursuit of happiness.

I may have missed it, just not read enough or deeply enough to find it, but I have never really found what I need to begin to understand what it is that Ms. Ravitch finds so repugnant about the CCSS, except, it seems, her trouble with Federal government control of schools, this made particularly interesting by the fact that it was not the Federal government that developed these standards but a collation of state’s people who got together to, yes, decide what it was that all needed to have, as a result of education, to function well in a nation in which all can be affected by what the people of one or a few or many states decide or do.  Yes, NCLB allowed states to develop their own standards, but any evaluation of these standards will show that a good many states developed standards that anyone hopeful for the day when all people, where ever they lived would be well educated would have to see as being substandard.  Indeed, there is good reason for the people of California to want the people of Virginia or North Carolina to be well educated!

I think, too, she is horribly disingenuous in her proclamations of concern for children, for other people’s children and their wellbeing, being that she was a leading force in the government take over of schools, a take over of such proportions as to render all other Federal government intrusions into education minor in comparison.  She says she is sorry for this but then argues that the schools we now have, schools that were shaped by NCLB, to be good and the teachers in them good.  Many are good, indeed, but she has never been the champion of the goodness of the truly good, their well-being, or their right to think for themselves as professionals in developing school programs and classroom activities that a professional educator knows to be right and for the right reasons, for reasons of helping children and young adults think for themselves and do it well.

Ask Ms. Ravitch what she believes a successful graduate of a successful school program should be able to do with his or her education.  I have to think, from all I can gather from what she has said is that such a student would fit into American society and help it prosper.  Ask yourself who it is that really prospers by the current reality.  I do not know if she believes at all that the well educated graduate should be an active and effective member of a democratic society, one who can demand of the economy that it work to insure that all people prosper by their work and be able to use the profits of work to create a life of quality, prosperity, and happiness, the latter of critical importance in for the American creed in that it is said in the Declaration that the right to pursue it is amongst those rights that come naturally to human beings by virtue of their being human beings, by nature.

Ms. Ravitch, before her self reported radical conversion, was an active participant in an administration that turned schools into training grounds for obedient employees who would, with out much fuss work for the administration’s true constituents, those who now have received 95% of the current recovery, those who I can, I think justly blame for the situation from which were are now working to recover.  Indeed, she worked for an administration that helped to suck the middle class dry so that millionaires and billionaires could live more comfortable lives than they already were and gain even more control over a system that they had already bought several times over in terms they exert on the political system that now works to pass law that serves best, and sometimes only, their interests.

Blah, blah, blah, nothing but the bashing of the already hurting wealthy.  Still, the money is flowing where it is flowing and the wages of the working classes are going down even though those working fools are more productive than they have ever been.  So, back to the system Ms. Ravitch seems to favor, it is one that will continue to keep the people at bay by teaching obedience, by teaching students not to question authority, by teaching students that it is alright that the work they do is for the good of an economy that doesn’t really care if it eats them alive, the small fraction of the populace nothing but cheap labor for those at the top of the chain.

Yes, look at NCLB and its components and I think a good reading will get one to the motives, none of which had anything to do with nurturing critical thought, independent mindedness, creativity, or anything else that helps to make an individual a real force in shaping his or her own destiny as an effective member of a real democratic society.  Check out what she, along with friends like Checker Finn, and Rod Page, and the direct instruction folk at the University of Oregon, and other conservative educators deliberately took all decision making out of the hands of teachers and teachers of teachers and researchers who were doing research of any kind of which they did not approve, approving only of research and teaching methods that brought the results they wanted.

NCLB, the research they promoted, the research allowed under NCLB related mandates, showed the effectiveness of methods that were patently ineffective, harmful in many ways.  If you wish verification take a look at what was done to show that Reading First, a critical part of NCLB, was succeeding; the research proved that it was, in teaching students things that were not helping to improve reading but only scores on tests that really had little to do with reading!!!!!

Diane Ravich was there through it all and only began to complain when a new administration took over and had to listen, and they did it reluctantly, to the complaints people now felt they could make now that the Bush administration and its take no prisoners behavior were at least being somewhat curbed, the threat no longer so prominent.  The NCLB mandates began to fade because it was becoming apparent that NCLB was not only a failure but a catastrophe that had ruined the educations of millions.  I don’t blame Diane for wanting to be seen as a traitor to her own cause.  I do blame those so willing to believe her for helping to carry on into the future a notion of proper education that is patently improper for a democratic society.  She does not want truly strong teachers in the classrooms.  She wants to carry on the traditions of NCLB.  She likes those who will continue what she had teachers trained to do when she was a part of the Bush administration because her real goals are the same as the goals she supported under Mr. Bush.

As John Mellencamp would say, CHECK IT OUT!


Maynard Institute Fight Fake News Project

In response to:

Project Managers, Fight Fake News with the Trust Project!
We need a project manager at to help shepherd the many project components that we have built over the past year and a half with more than 70 news organizations and distribution platforms. This position requires someone with a creative mind, great organizational skills, journalism and technical experience and a passion for journalism and the role it plays in a diverse society.

To read more about the position and to apply visit this link:


I won’t be applying for the job you are offering, the position related to dealing with issues of distortions of truth and what has come to be known as “fake news.”  I am very much interested in the position, not because I am qualified to apply, but because I know it to be necessary that we who cherish democracy do something to put our democracy back on track, on its intended trajectory to a people’s state in which the people wisely decide futures thorough informed and thoughtful participation in the discourse that is at the heart of true democracy.  I am not a journalist but, rather, a now retired educator who tried over the course of a career to teach teachers how to help students develop the kinds of skills, knowledge, and dispositions that would allow them to effectively contribute to the conversation that is democracy.  I was not as successful as I needed to be in my advocacy for education serving democracy and, now, with people in positions of power twisting truth and, even, twisting the meaning of truth, I know that I cannot really quit trying to do what I set out to do when I became a teacher.

I won’t be applying for the position, but I would like to somehow be a part of the process you are beginning, to investigate means for reinstating truth as true and working to discover ways to make truthfulness a criterion for belief that figures into decision making and action by citizens of the United States of America.  I think I have something to offer the project as an educator because, truthfully speaking, people in a free state will always be free to lie and, in a capitalist state, lying will remain an accepted part of “doing business.”

That said, I do know that there are ways to educate people for the responsibilities that come with freedom and with the rights and obligations of citizenship in a society in which it is the people who are charged with making communal decisions.  The way to honesty, an essential component of the kind of humanity that allows for a humane society, is through education focused on what Amy Gutman (President of the University of Pennsylvania and author of books such as Democratic Education, Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, 1987) describes as the democratic imperative, the ability of citizens to engage in effective decision making.

Deceptions will continue and, at this point in time, those who win by deceiving have deceived vast numbers of the American public into believing that lying is a necessary part of “making it” in this society, in the global society that is understood to be the new and immutable reality under which we live.  Where deception outright does not work, manufactured doubt does, confusion intentionally inserted into conversations where enough fact exists to win the argument by those who do not like the truth because it somehow undermines the righteousness of their behavior.  I think the book Manufacturing Doubt explains the doubt syndrome well.

The remedy, the only genuine one I can think of, is education that truly works to help people develop their ability to think for themselves and to think wisely, such abilities basic to effective participation in a democratic process that leads to wise and humane societal decisions by the people who are the ultimate decision makers in the democratic society.  Growing such abilities is, I know, possible.  The current educational system, however, in ever so many ways, works against growth of this kind, instead working to tell students what they should think and what it is that is important to know.  Students are hardly ever asked to think deeply about that with which they are presented and, when asked to show what they have learned, they are told what it is they should have learned when their achievement is assessed.

Education is the key to building a society that is resistant to deception, to helping individuals develop the kind of mindfulness that allows them to do the work necessary to get at what is true and real through the collection of information that becomes the knowledge base for their thought and the use of their critical abilities to get at what that they have come to understand to be true means, should mean, in regard to making decisions and determining the best ways to act.

Again, I write, not as an applicant for the most interesting and important position you are offering, but to ask for you to find a way to allow me to participate in this project.  I think my thinking may be of value in pushing for democratic process that is good sense enough to insure that the goal is always the good society, the more perfect one that the Declaration argues we are capable, by our nature, of creating.




Humanity, Humanization Umbrella

As I have said many times before on Twitter, those who are concerned with the direction this country has taken as a result of Hillary Clinton and the democratic parties losing an election that couldn’t have possibly been lost (unless a party and its candidate were so centered upon themselves that they ignored a reality they had helped to create through their insensitivity to the real pain others were experiencing), need to, among other things, open themselves to giving sound and honest analysis to the mistakes made so that the causes of so great a loss can be understood, and build a real movement that has at its center a truly humanistic ideology.  Every day I receive numerous requests for money to pay for responses to the consequences rather than the causes.


Today, for example, Paul Ryan announced that the congress that the democrats lost so badly will immediately take up the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood and, understandably, I will be asked by Planned Parenthood and organizations and individuals who support their good work to contribute money to help fight against the ridiculous project that is the republican attempt to destroy an organization that has done incredible good over the past 100 years for millions of women and, of course, in the course of doing so, for men too who benefit by from the family planning services Planned Parenthood provides and by the help it lends the women they know, respect, and love.


I cannot give again, though, because I have, during the course of the election cycle, given what I can to several of the causes in which I wholeheartedly believe and have, with both money and the use of my voice, supported vigorously over the course of my lifetime, amongst these, Planned Parenthood, People for the American Way, the American Civil Liberties Union, and, yes, the democratic party.  If I could, I would give more to all but the democratic party, not to the latter because it is not truly a party of and for the people anymore.


But even if I could give more, I do not think that my contributions would do much good because, over time, particularly with the results of this election and the profound effect it will have on the America for which I have spent my life fighting—as an involved citizen and teacher of citizens—the victories—and there have been eminently important ones—spawn detractors who manage regularly most that is good that those victories have won, detractors who, like those who will be the majority in the new Congress and those who will be part of the new team in the White House, will have enough power to do serious damage to the cause of a sane and humane society.


So, again, I put forth this plea, that those who care about the better society, the kinder society organize for the sake of promoting a unifying ideology that serves well all groups and individuals who care about the building of a society that promotes the cause of humanity, of a fair and just society that supports governance that serves well the goal of a good life for all human beings.


I suggest that somehow all of the groups that exist to serve the goal of a more humane society, and I know that ultimately this is the ultimate goal of all of the good organizations I support, form an umbrella organization, an organization that coordinates and amalgamates so that while the specific issues are address, the broader underlying issues that affect the work of each and everyone of the organizations are address so that the causes represented by the organizations are dealt with in the context of a broader and truly coherent movement.  The activities of the individual organization can easily carried out with mindfulness of the societal and global sources of the inhumanity that, for instance, prevents all from having access to decent health care and good education, that allow good numbers of people suffer injustice and poor treatment governments under which they live, that suffer from lack of the basic commodities—water and food amongst the most critical—they need to live even the most basic of lives.


The “saving” of the planet is, too, a humane cause because the condition of the planet has rather important ramifications for the quality of life human beings can live.  I do not know of a good cause that is not in some critically important way related to the project of humanization for humanization is not only about behavior but about how human beings think in regard to the ways in which they decide to behave.  Humanization is as selfish as it is magnanimous, magnanimity a result of understanding the importance of self and, thus the importance of others because they are too human beings, individual selves.  A movement built on humanization, on thinking about what we do in terms of how it affects human beings, others, will produce empathy and empathy is a key to getting along so well as to not destroy one another or even allow ourselves to act in ways that may harm others.


So, yes, the humane push of all good minded people at once pushing for and toward greater humanization, is as much about creating a peaceful world as anything else and, for those who see corporatization as a global problem have a profoundly sensible, humanely speaking, ideology to hang their complaints on, the corporatization as—obvious, isn’t it—a dehumanizing force and, too, the competitive marketplace that is what capitalism is touted to be, inhumane by virtue of its key element, competitiveness.  Those who are think humanely and who think critically, should have no problem answering those who argue that competition pushes people to good things, to better themselves.


And, indeed it can, if the competition is related to humane goals within the context of a humane society in which those who “lose” are not harmed, not deprived of those things that allow them to live decent lives.  One can lose an argument and benefit and by the intellectual growth that occurs when one comes to see why another’s, others’ views win out, even if still convinced that one’s own were better.  In the humane society, argument exists to make things better for human beings, for the sake of getting things right, getting answers that allow for the best decisions.  Argument in the context of the humane society is what serves as the basis for the dialectic that is at the heart of democratic process.


I propose that we find a way to focus on humanization and force the agenda gently through a process of truth making, involvement in discussions that lead to propositions that can be argued to be humane in nature, right for the goodness of the people of the world and the planet on which we the people live.


Such discussion, open and brutally honest, brutal because settling for something less than the best answer, the answer that is shown to be, beyond most degrees of doubt, the best, the most sensible, the most sensibly humane, are what everyone desires, for the reason that they are humane, aware of their own humanity and the humanity that defines every one of their fellow beings.


Umbrella organization that is guided by an ideology of humanization!  Anyone game to help organize the necessary meet ups?






Response to Rosemary

Posted on Truthdig discussion board:

The work, as Rosemerry states, has more to do with education than anything else, re-education for some that is not about indoctrination for any particular ideology except the ideology of democracy or, perhaps, if there is such a thing, something better. The goal must be to humanize as Paulo Freire would have it, to help individuals get in touch with that which makes them human, a mind capable of reason, reason the amenity that makes possible understandings of the world that allow for sound decision making.

It is this decision making element of life, the capacity of human beings to make good sense decisions, that recommended democracy to the founders of the United States. The Declaration argues for independence from a king who will not respect the “opinions of men.” It does not say directly that those opinions must be respectable opinions, but such is implied in the fact that democracy was the form of government the writers were prescribing. Respectable opinions are based in evidence, evidence that becomes knowledge through verification of veracity and analysis of the significance of the evidence that leads to sensible decisions. Individual “decisions” are what individuals bring to the public forum for scrutiny by “the people,” the best ideas applied to make good public policy.

The problem with the United States of America is that there is not as much demand as their need be for ideas based in evidence and honed through the application of good reason. Quips supplant statements of good proof and much that is legislated has little basis in sound evidence or good reason. Americans receive advertisements rather than good arguments and are willing to buy what they are being sold.

It seems to me that willingness to buy what is being sold through advertisements that are always too short to present reasons why is what Americans are made to accept as proper reason, this taught throughout those years we spend in school where teachers and their textbooks (teachers do not have to reason to understand well what they are teaching) give students the answers the students are made to accept as the “right answers” to the questions asked by those in authority, teacher and text.

Students are, one the tests that “count” never asked to explain how they arrived at the answers they put down in response to the questions asked on the tests and the very short answers they give (sometimes pencil marks in a very small bubble-not much room for explaining), if the reflect directly what the have been told, get them what they need and, sadly, what too many come to want, the pat on the back that is the good grade and the diploma.

So, in answer to the question of what we do, what we need to do, we need to do what Ivan Illich told us to do a long while back, deschool society and retool the schools so that what goes on in classrooms helps students grow their independent thinking ability in such ways that they are able to properly critique the ideas that come before them (critical thinking), present their own ideas and their critiques of others’ ideas to contribute to the process by which people in real democratic societies decide how to proceed.


Communism is the ugly?

I find it difficult to listen to those who are the “news” people on television, even those who supposedly reflect the more “liberal” perspective, the folk who “report” for MSNBC, for instance.  I believe this is because I am experiencing a most visceral revulsion for what pretends to be liberalism but is really about something impossible, benign capitalism.  Capitalism, of the kind that is the capitalism the world has experience over several hundred years now, is, for its basic mechanics, pernicious, inhumane, and lethal.  Yes, communists have killed in the millions.  The beneficiaries (and even many who are its victims) of capitalism regularly point to the brutality of communist regimes, always to the brutality and hardly ever to the goals and the good good numbers of human beings have experienced as a result of communist policies–food in bellies, roofs over heads, medical care for the many–such coming at a price, no doubt, the most insufferable cost in degrees of freedom of the sort that we who like democracy believe to be essential to living life decently.

But, then, those freedoms are not readily available to all–perhaps most–who live in countries that profess to be democratic while doing more to serve capitalism than individual freedoms.  There are good numbers of people in constitutionally democratic societies dominated by capitalism who do not have access to the freedoms the constitutions afford them, the right to an equal voice in the discourse that leads to the decisions that shape people’s lives in those societies, for instance.  Good numbers of people in those societies do not have access to proper medical treatment, healthy food, and decent housing.  They are not afforded fair and just treatment under justice systems that favor the rich over those of modest means and, particularly the poor.  It costs a lot to be well represented in the courtroom and those who have get whether they deserve it or not.

Underlying all of the injustices found in modern day capitalist “democracies” is the kind of voice in government that comes with education that works to develop individuals ability to make sensible decisions, to understand the system well enough to affect it in meaningful ways, to have enough political power to influence the way in which government and law work.  Those who do not have much are at terrible disadvantage in these societies that proclaim liberty and justice for all.

For hundreds of years now, the capitalist forces in the United States of America have had their way with the people, capitalists and their allies doing what was necessary to insure that those who had would continue to have and always at a high cost those who had less and little.  The people’s government became the government of the haves and the haves used that government to insure their would be enough of the population with so little as to believe never having enough was their lot in life.  At this present moment in the history of the United States of America and other capitalist nations that shared a pretense for democracy, the force of capitalism for capitalists and their allies is not enough to get enough even when they possess most of everything including wealth and political power because, now, political power is something purchased and not at all a right of those living in these “democracies.”

The “news” people of whom I spoke at the top of this piece, they do not work for the people, for the general population.  They are paid large sums of money by companies owned by shareholders and, as with all companies, it is the shareholders who must be satisfied if the company is to remain viable and retain its ability to pay its employees the salaries to which they have become accustomed.  Indeed, as they are entrusted with helping the public understand what is going on in the world, that trust is violated when these people are beholden to masters whose goal is make money for a particular group of others and not the whole of the people.

So, though it might upset a good many people, amongst them a good many of the screwed-over by capitalism and capitalist, to read an article that begins by talking about the theory of Karl Marx and his predictions for the inevitable end of capitalism, it is worthwhile to make the effort to look at the current state of this nation and the world in which it exists, through the lens that Marx provided, not so that one can become a communist necessarily, but so that he or she can begin to realize–admit to–the travesty that modern day democracy has become under capitalist regimes, so that thinking about different paths to meaningful prosperity can be taken, paths to societies that work to advance the quality of life of all human beings and not just a few at the expense of the many.

Chris Hedges for Truthdig, January 1. 2017.

“The president-elect represents the late stage of capitalism, when corporations, no longer able to generate profits at former levels, pillage the government and society for profit.

“The final stages of capitalism, Karl Marx predicted, would be marked by global capital being unable to expand and generate profits at former levels. Capitalists would begin to consume the government along with the physical and social structures that sustained them. Democracy, social welfare, electoral participation, the common good and investment in public transportation, roads, bridges, utilities, industry, education, ecosystem protection and health care would be sacrificed to feed the mania for short-term profit. These assaults would destroy the host. This is the stage of late capitalism that Donald Trump represents.”