Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Is the academic world defending democracy? or corrupting it?
It is often said that colleges are defenders of democracy where ideas are debated freely; this is necessary to protect democracy and it is also necessary to get the information the public needs to them, and enable them to compare all ideas to make the best decisions possible when participating in the democratic process.
Unfortunately the cost of college keeps it out of reach for the vast majority of the public and, even worse, a close look may indicate that the best ideas with the most credible research often takes a distant back seat to the ideas with the most political support, especially in the media; however there appears to be an enormous amount of academic support for these political ideologies, even when they don't stand up to scrutiny.
A close look at almost any given subject, especially if it impacts economic ideologies that benefit the wealthy or foreign policy, either directly or indirectly, indicates that the beliefs repeated over and over again in the media, and by the highest profile politicians or academics often presented as experts, is not the most reliable. However it takes time on any given subject to sort through the details and figure out where the more reliable research is.
People more accustomed to checking alternative media outlets or reading non-fiction books that aren't promoted much by the traditional media are much more likely to find out about this. Once people do check enough different subjects it should be clear that the best academic work isn't being presented to the majority of the public or used to make the most important political decisions.
As I explained in numerous posts including John McCain really isn't a War Hero; North Korea Nuclear Test Propaganda Is War Mongering and many more previous ones the vast majority of research about foreign affairs is rarely mentioned in the media while they repeat propaganda to maintain a permanent state of war over and over again. For example, on a few occasions they might remind the public about the Iranian coup with the help of the CIA in 1953, or that the Reagan government sold arms to both sides of the Iran/Iraq war and other activities then quickly forget it; but they will repeat Iranian retaliation over and over again without reminding the public what they're retaliating against.
Like other subjects there are some more credible college professors or reporters doing a much better job reporting this; however the reporters have to work for alternative media outlets assuming they find work at all, with less resources and both the professors and reporters like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein, Stacy Mitchell and many more including those contributing to the American Empire Project (additional sources available for other subjects will be listed at end of post) are treated like radical fringe professors, if they're mentioned at all by the traditional media. In most cases they ignore them since even mentioning them might bring attention to them and if people check their work they might realize that it holds up much better to scrutiny than the traditional version of truth presented by the mainstream media.
Establishment ideologies often have many of the same characteristics of a cult. They repeat their version over and over again with charismatic speakers often using a variety of psychological manipulation tactics. This isn't a fringe conspiracy theory, at least if you use the strictest definition of the word conspiracy, since the vast majority of the information that they're downplaying isn't completely secret but it is almost absent absent from political and media discussion on this subject or many others. Some of the alternative media outlets or professors that do more credible research explain many of these manipulation tactics so that those inclined to take the time to read them can compare them and confirm it for themselves.
In "Shock Doctrine" Naomi Kline describes hoe Milton Friedman used to speak in a very charismatic and authoritarian manner like a preacher when promoting his fiscal ideology. Most of his students were almost certainly from the upper class and raised to expect to be part of the political class that controls the system. This enabled them to promote their ideology abroad where there was the least amount of resistance for decades. However it eventually began to backfire especially in Latin America where thy finally learned how to stand up to them. This kind of cult mentality can only last so long before it backfires when it does so much damage that society can't function properly, and that is what happened. Milton Friedman's ideologies was forced on Latin America for a long time with the help of tyrants supported by the United States government like Pinochet and numerous others by violently repressing their people. But the news reported to the United States public was very different and they didn't report when they were distracted with the war on terror after 9/11 that a lot of their puppet governments were in the process of being overturned partially reversing the process.
This is also clear when it comes to the recent water crisis in Flint Michigan, which has been part of a pattern of behavior for decades, although it has only made it into the mainstream media recently. Alternative media outlets including Maude Barlow author of "Blue Gold" and Susan Clark and Woden Teachout author of "Slow Democracy" have reported on this crisis years ago long before most of the public ever heard of it. Numerous communities around the world have been facing major problems with their water thanks to the privatization practice of extremists following Milton Friedman's ideology. The most extreme cases have been in third world countries where the mainstream media feels no need to report on but there have been some less extreme examples including in France where one of the leading privatizers is founded and Gloucester Massachusetts, among others which are only reported at the local level. By only reporting it in low profile places they enable the multinational corporations to pull the same scam one time after another.
This is very common among an enormous amount of environmental research, where the best researchers report on astronomical amounts of damage around the world but they can't get any coverage in the mainstream media or attention from the majority of the political establishment. People in third world countries are routinely standing up to corrupt multinational corporations because the damage is already threatening their lives, yet the media refuses to report on most of it. And the economists are often portrayed as the so-called experts; on top of that the energy companies buy up enormous amounts of media time to portray themselves as environmentally friendly while they're causing all this destruction.
It is virtually guaranteed that many more of these examples will be exposed in the years to come, and in many cases they already have been exposed, at least at the local level.
This will guarantee a growing backlash since multinational corporations can't hide the enormous damage they're doing forever.
The same practice goes with one subject after another. When it comes to advertising to children, which most people don't think about very much, the most effective research exposing how deceptive it is and how it is impacting education and even interfering with the democratic process don't get any media coverage. This may seem trivial to most people, but when children are targeted by advertisers, even in schools, they often spend more time thinking about them than their education; and researchers have demonstrated that it impairs the development of critical thinking skills and even impacts their ability to scrutinize promises from politicians threatening their ability to participate in the democratic process.
If there's any doubt about the impact of advertising on the economy or quality of life, imagine of they send advertising expenses through the roof along with lobbying, shipping, union busting, and legal expenses that don't benefit consumers through the roof while cutting expenses that do benefit consumers how will that impact the value and quality of consumer goods or service?
It would of course be a disaster and yet this is happening even though politicians, media pundits, and academic experts rarely if ever mention this to the majority of the public.
There are numerous academic sources defending the current patent and copyright system based on the claim that it provides incentive for innovation yet a closer look indicates that it provides more pay, in many cases for copyright lawyers than it does for authors. Now that we have new computer technology it is much more expensive to prevent the free distribution of information than it is to spread it even when it comes to educational information people need to participate in the democratic process. The government routinely subsidizes medical research or other kinds of research then allows multinational corporations to have patents any way and is even extending them enabling the multinational corporations to gouge consumers.
Yet this isn't reported to the vast majority of the public and they try to portray those that exchange information as "pirates" as if they're the ones destroying our education system by giving people the information they need to participate in the democratic system. Researchers that try to minimize this or correct these problems like Lawrence Lessig, Robert McChesney or John Nichols are treated like fringe "radicals" and little or no high profile discussion takes place to find a more effective system to educate the public in a fair manner.
There are an enormous amount of academic sources that study politics in a manner that is far more likely to manipulate the public than educate them so they can look out for their own best interests like Karl Rove, Frank Luntz and many more who get far more attention than those that try to expose their manipulation tactics. When it comes to choosing the leaders of many colleges they routinely chose those with the most political connections among the wealthy rather than those that do the best work, like Lawrence Summers, William Bulger, or John Silber, all of whom are often paid batter than those doing the best work that stands up to scrutiny, assuming scrutiny is actually applied.
In most cases this scrutiny isn't actually applied, or at least not in a high profile manner; the best research is often relegated to lower profile alternative media outlets or books that most people don't read.
This also applies to authoritarian child rearing methods for children that often lead to escalating violence and blind obedience to authority especially in the military. This is often used differently along class or racial lines. Those that are expected to do menial labor are much more likely to be taught in an authoritarian manner while those expected to develop critical thinking skills for more complicated jobs are often taught using less authoritarian methods that help encourage the development of critical thinking skills necessary for advanced education.
This escalates in institutions like the military or police academies where recruits are put intensive boot camp where they're taught to blindly obey orders without question and hazing is often used to intimidate anyone that thinks for themselves. the psychological research for these boot camp techniques are done in the academic world without explaining it to the majority of the public so they won't realize they're being manipulated.
The good news is that even without political clout or an enormous amount of resources the more sincere researchers have been able to do a much better job than those with the most political connection but they have little or no opportunity to get their point across to the vast majority of the public. As I said this doesn't fit the strictest definition of a conspiracy, since it isn't completely secret; however the best researchers are limited to low profile methods of getting their points across while the political establishment has centralized authoritarian control over the mass media and the leading political parties and the system to interview and elect politicians.
Sometimes it is almost like the most trustworthy are only allowed to speak in "free speech zones" where hardly no one is listening; which might as well be a conspiracy.
Do we really need all these academics that are more concerned about manipulating the public for benefit of the wealthy instead of looking out for the best interests of all?
I've written dozens if not hundreds of posts about additional material to back up mt conclusions most of which can be found on my table of context but the following are a few of the external sources cited here followed by some of my relevant previous posts about the academic divide and some of the more reliable sources on various subjects:
Blue Gold The global water crisis and the commodification of the world's water supply A Special Report issued by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG) by Maude Barlow She followed this up with a longer book by the same name and another called "Blue Covenant."
The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein - Infoshop.org PDF
Slow Democracy by Susan Clark and Woden Teachout
And these are my previous posts:
Roy F Fox on unethical targeting of children by marketers
Roy F Fox Harvesting Minds, Channel One Indoctrination of Kids
Wal-Marts unethical marketing to children
Michelle Obama pushes token advertising restrictions while ignoring research that calls for more
Copyright violators are thought criminals
Lawrence Lessig encouraging an Educational Commons
Fundamentals of Psychology
Philip Zimbardo, Lucifer Effect, Stanford Prison Experiment including information about how this may be used for indoctrination purposes when military puts recruits through Boot Camp.
Corruption or Bias in the American Psychological Association
Eli Roth’s Milgram/Obedience experiment much more extensive than most people realize
Political Psychologist Are Suppressing Democracy
Does child abuse and bullying lead to more violence?
Child abuse and bullying link in study long over due
The real victim rights advocates
Cause and Effect of Hatred
Coming soon real reform ….. or book burning? Genocide?