As an aged veteran of the university, I often like to look around and see what those precocious whippersnappers, the future shapers of American minds, are up to. Here's an exciting example of modern thought. This young lady writes for her school's paper, and has created her own major in "Cultural Politics and Social Protest." Oh, you tiny socialist scamp! She has a recent editorial entitled, "Capitalism is not Democracy." Here are a few gems:
Democracy is a funny word. It doesn't have a universal definition; rather it is defined by different groups of people for different interests. The U.S. government, for example, uses the word democracy to mean neoliberal economics. I would like to try to imagine a different definition toward a different end. Especially in a time of silencing dissent, it is imperative that we try to understand what the potential of working democratically for democracy is. Yep, that dissent sure is silent. That would be why every paper and news outlet feature protests on a daily basis, even if only 5 aged hippies bother to show up.
Paragraph removed...Weird aside about Zapatistas and their benign idea of rulership ...
Racism, sexism, homophobia and the existence of social and economic classes are all obstacles to democracy. These oppressions silence voices and undermine economic and political freedoms. Hierarchies, whether formal or informal, often impede on freedoms and dehumanize those are disenfranchised. Blah, blah, blah. Swiped this straight from her feminist studies manual, no doubt.
The concept of democracy is so warped in our minds right now that we cannot even imagine what it would look like. Democracy does not simply mean representation, but rather reaching consensus and doing what is best for the collective group. Which is what we are doing here. It is the exact opposite of a capitalist system, the dominant definition in the United States--that would be her dominant definition, in case you haven't caught on yet, and that definition isn't anchored in reality.
We cannot quickly transform our culture into one that is truly democratic. Nothing short of a total and complete revolution in our economic system and the way we function could. However, we can try, practice and experiment with democracy at every chance we get. We can question authority, make change within oppressive structures and take power for ourselves. Ahh, I love the smell of nascent fascism in the morning--let's all take power. There is no sharing here! That's REAL democracy, baby!
One of the best ways to begin this process is within the classroom. Children are socialized into the world through many ideological outlets, including media, religion and family. However, many times school is the first opportunity for children to interact with their peers and to face an authority figure in a "professional setting." Children are taught from their first day in kindergarten to listen when the teacher speaks, to raise their hands, to be deferential and to allow authority to define their learning process. If we could begin to change this process, perhaps we could change the way we participate in our society.Ya know, some other great leaders of our time thought that the best way to inculcate change was by "re-educating the children." Hmmm, I wonder who they could be? Suddenly I'm in the mood for bratwurst...
Paragraph removed. Odd blather about trust. Did this poor child never watch The X-Files?
While the United States prepares to launch preemptive strikes on Iraq, we should question who would benefit from this action. Iraqis who are killed will not benefit. Americans in the military who will die will not benefit. Americans who rely on social programs that get cut due to the military budget will not benefit. I will not benefit. And there, in a nutshell, is her argument. It's all about Jessica! She wants to grab the power, re-educate the children, and get rid of any war that doesn't immediately benefit her interests. There is no big picture--there is only Jessica! Whee!
Oil companies, the military complex and President George W. Bush might benefit. But if we are working for democracy we need to assert that this war is not good for the people of the United States, nor the majority of people in the world. Let's see...democracy is kind of about freedom from oppression, terror and fear. Freeing the people of Iraq from an oppressive dictator and the people of the US from fear....eh, never mind. She makes me tired.
Wow, that was amazingly naive and ill thought out. In all fairness, however, this is a college sophomore, and she's just toeing the party line and regurgitating what she's been taught. The most salient feature of this garbage is not that a 19 or 20 year old thinks it, but that more than a few tenured professors and assorted academic intellectuals do, and that they are spoonfeeding this crap to generation after generation with no real opposition. Just think, Jessica will soon be in a position to teach those who are going to take care of us in our old age! Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn't it?