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Old September 26th, 2016, 12:20 PM   #1
Hellenist
 
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endoctrination, education and culture


History lessons are very important for transmitting a culture and defending democracy in the classroom. I am looking for a good place to discuss this.

There are two ways to have social order, culture or authority over the people. A democracy and liberty demand we use culture and avoid authority over the people. Failure to do this leads to social unrest, a higher crime and welfare rate, and a much higher cost in the form of paying for law enforcers and prisons and all the corruption! Failure leads to a police state. Without the culture, people become demoralized and destroy their liberty and democracy. Without the culture, the American Spirit, that is the high-spirited feeling we get when we believe are doing the right thing, dies.

What is indoctrination?

Quote:
indoctrination. ... Indoctrination often refers to religious ideas, when you're talking about a religious environment that doesn't let you question or criticize those beliefs. The Latin word for "teach," doctrina is the root of indoctrinate, and originally that's just what it meant.
indoctrination - Dictionary Definition : Vocabulary.com
https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/indoctrination
The word indoctrination has been perverted to mean preventing people from thinking for themselves. Nothing could be further from the true meaning of the word, which is to teach people how to explore truth and govern themselves with reason. In Athens and Rome, education was very much about thinking for one's self and being civic leaders. We adopted the Athenian/ Roman model. True that is a simplistic statement as education changed as social need changed, but our democracy comes out of the Enlightenment, which followed discovering the ancient documents.

It starts in Athens as a new vision of the gods being ruled by reason, and the story goes, Athena, taught men to govern themselves as the gods do. Rhetoric and logic are extremely important to this education and arguing our case in every aspect our lives from politics to agreeing on the best way to educate our children.

Perhaps the word indoctrination became such a bad word because indoctrination is the number one goal of religion, and it is the nature of religion to be exclusive, rather than inclusive. Religion tends to be the enemy of liberty and democracy, especially when education stops transmitting the culture for democracy and leaves moral training to the church. Monotheism has created a very serious problem in our world, and we know it is behind most wars and nationalism that leads to war. Religion is good for war and war is good for religion. Ignorance and war are the result of religious indoctrination, and that to be avoided.

However, know originally free public education in the US was secular and about indoctrinating children to be good citizens, independent thinkers with good moral judgment based on reason, capable of making the world a better place. I want to argue this secular education with cultural mythology (history) is necessary indoctrination that makes our morale strong. It is what is required for liberty, justice, and a healthy democracy.
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Old September 30th, 2016, 09:36 PM   #2

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All of this is highly subjective.
1.) I would argue that there is a much greater precedent for governments espousing a lack of religion/anti-religion to have killed far more people than any religious nation ever has. (See: Maoist China, Stalinist Russia, Khmer Rouge)
2.) Religion and nationalism have very frequently been at odds with each other throughout history, i.e. Jacobins in France, Reformation England, Bolshevik Russia, Maoist China. I would have to argue that there is also a precedent for religion and nationalism to be antithetical to one another.
3.) When was the last time you took a history class in America? I'm 19, just left high school. I am sad to report that they are as secular and progressive as you can get. Religion is mocked and looked down upon in many classes. At least, that was my experience.
4.) Leaving moral training to the church? I've been friends with a fellow who is now a Catholic priest, he was in high school when I was born; I've known him almost two decades. He's a very thoughtful individual, moderate in thoughts and actions, and very reflective. As a youth, one of the demographic you seem to be concerned with, I am happy to provide an inside perspective: it's not the religion that makes someone inadequate for being a citizen, it's the education system. And the education system's issue is not that is conflicts with religious views, nor is it that the education system is espousing religious views itself. The issue is that our public education system is god-awful, we have the worst public education out of the developed world. If you want to see improvements, write to your local congressman to help save this country's education system.

I have to agree with you that the teaching of history in America is extremely poor, but I have to disagree with you as to why they are wrong.
I believe that they are wrong because the revisionist agenda they espouse makes people overlook bad things and highly little peculiars. I hated American History in school because there was always a good month of "YOU'RE A WHITE SOUTHERNER, YOU SHOULD FEEL ASHAMED!". It wasn't historic at all, it was sheer political indoctrination. (Sorry for using indoctrination in the non-archaic meaning). And World History was much the same, white people were imperialist devils and look at all the shiny things Native Americans made. I'm not saying that bad things weren't done, but history isn't about trying to send people on a guilt trip.
We need to take a more neutral perspective on history and analyze the good and bad, but also realize that there will never be one clear answer to many questions history has to offer, and also realize that there will very infrequently be merely good or merely bad.
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Old October 1st, 2016, 07:18 AM   #3
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The indoctrination before 1958 was different. It was controlled locally and parents had a strong say in what their children learned. Your area would not have approved of education that made the South look bad.

This is the Publisher's Forward in a textbook titled "America's Own Story" published in 1954. This would be after the second world war and before the USSR sent Sputnik around the world, proving it not only had an atomic bomb but the technology to deliver it anyway it wanted.

Quote:
The "Living America Series" is dedicated to the preservation of the American way of life.

There are those who seek to destroy this way of life. We who believe in it must protect it. One of our greatest protections is a sound understanding of what America really means.

Our children must learn early in life what the American way is- and how it came to be. They must learn not to take for granted the rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." They must understand, and value, our great heritage if they are to preserve it.

The "Living America Series" of social studies texts aims at a fuller appreciation of, and participation in, a living America. It is not only for "citizens- to- be," but for "citizens- who- are"- the boys and girls who attend American schools.

Last edited by athena; October 1st, 2016 at 07:37 AM.
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Old October 1st, 2016, 07:34 AM   #4
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HongRengan, Before the Civil War the North did attempt to change the culture of the South with education. The South became aware of this and began publishing its own text. I would dearly love to add one of them to my collection, but they are not apt to show up in Oregon. The point of this thread is to say, yes, education is used for such purpose. However, following the 1958 National Defense Education Act, that purpose became destroying our national heroes and preparing everyone for the Military Industrial Complex, just as the Prussians did to Germany when they took control of Germany.

One of the first things the Prussians did when they took over Germany was centralize public education. Then education was used to destroy Germany's heroes and praise efficiency exactly was we have done in the US. This focus of this education is technology for military and purpose. When this happened in the US, one of my teachers announced the purpose of education had been changed and it was now preparing the young for a technological society with unknown values.

Our past education was for good citizenship in a nation preparing everyone for liberty and democracy. That education was all about values and character building.

Last edited by athena; October 1st, 2016 at 07:41 AM.
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Old October 1st, 2016, 07:45 AM   #5

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Call it what you will, forcing one perspective upon children, without presenting alternatives, and allowing for a free pursuit of these alternatives - which includes consequence free discussion of differing perspectives, is propaganda in my mind. And, by the way secular dogma can be just as exclusive as any religious dogma. Just ask those who were sent to the prisons and gulags in Nazi germany, Stalin U.S.S.R. and Mao China. Can elementary children engage in this kind of critical thinking? Unlikely. Should they be indoctrinated? Not in my mind. Focus on the basics: spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, physical ed, art, music and computers. Can middle school, high school and university students engage in this kind of critical thinking? Yes. Is it happening? Those of you who are in these settings, or recently removed, you tell me?
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Old October 10th, 2016, 07:22 AM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by athena View Post
History lessons are very important for transmitting a culture and defending democracy in the classroom. I am looking for a good place to discuss this.

There are two ways to have social order, culture or authority over the people. A democracy and liberty demand we use culture and avoid authority over the people. Failure to do this leads to social unrest, a higher crime and welfare rate, and a much higher cost in the form of paying for law enforcers and prisons and all the corruption! Failure leads to a police state. Without the culture, people become demoralized and destroy their liberty and democracy. Without the culture, the American Spirit, that is the high-spirited feeling we get when we believe are doing the right thing, dies.

What is indoctrination?



The word indoctrination has been perverted to mean preventing people from thinking for themselves. Nothing could be further from the true meaning of the word, which is to teach people how to explore truth and govern themselves with reason. In Athens and Rome, education was very much about thinking for one's self and being civic leaders. We adopted the Athenian/ Roman model. True that is a simplistic statement as education changed as social need changed, but our democracy comes out of the Enlightenment, which followed discovering the ancient documents.

It starts in Athens as a new vision of the gods being ruled by reason, and the story goes, Athena, taught men to govern themselves as the gods do. Rhetoric and logic are extremely important to this education and arguing our case in every aspect our lives from politics to agreeing on the best way to educate our children.

Perhaps the word indoctrination became such a bad word because indoctrination is the number one goal of religion, and it is the nature of religion to be exclusive, rather than inclusive. Religion tends to be the enemy of liberty and democracy, especially when education stops transmitting the culture for democracy and leaves moral training to the church. Monotheism has created a very serious problem in our world, and we know it is behind most wars and nationalism that leads to war. Religion is good for war and war is good for religion. Ignorance and war are the result of religious indoctrination, and that to be avoided.

However, know originally free public education in the US was secular and about indoctrinating children to be good citizens, independent thinkers with good moral judgment based on reason, capable of making the world a better place. I want to argue this secular education with cultural mythology (history) is necessary indoctrination that makes our morale strong. It is what is required for liberty, justice, and a healthy democracy.
Interesting themes here. A bit looking only to the US belly, but I think that we can approach this in a wider perspective.

The official school system is, when it works properly, a way to integrate children in their culture, i.e. in their countries culture, history and political system. The official school is a way to format new people into the accepted practices of their countries society, i.e. social and moral norms and guidelines.

Obviously I don’t agree with the sentence “Without the culture, the American Spirit, that is the high-spirited feeling we get when we believe are doing the right thing, dies.” because I am not a citizen of any American country.

But, like you, I see the educational system as an indoctrination system. Naturally a democracy like the quote Athenian one will indoctrinate his citizens with a specific mentality, and a theocracy or a dictatorship will indoctrinate their citizens in a different way. So the educational system is always a tool in the hands of the state and for our experience it seems every type of systems try to make some use of it.

The relation between the state and a religion seems to be still an open issue even in the West, more than 200 years after the French Revolution.

Even so most of the Western countries seem to have a significant independence of any religion, apparently noted more in Europe than in the America, and able to maintain a secular education to their youngsters, while trying to provide moral guidelines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HongRengan View Post
All of this is highly subjective.


3.) When was the last time you took a history class in America? I'm 19, just left high school. I am sad to report that they are as secular and progressive as you can get. Religion is mocked and looked down upon in many classes. At least, that was my experience.
When mocking begins in a history class… it is not a history class anymore… it is a mocking class. It is a fail in the system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HongRengan View Post
4.) Leaving moral training to the church?
Moral training objectives of a church can be significantly different from the moral training objectives of the country. So it is always an error to leave them (at least solely) to any church.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HongRengan View Post
I'm not saying that bad things weren't done, but history isn't about trying to send people on a guilt trip.
We need to take a more neutral perspective on history and analyze the good and bad, but also realize that there will never be one clear answer to many questions history has to offer, and also realize that there will very infrequently be merely good or merely bad.
Agreed.
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Old October 10th, 2016, 12:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodger View Post
Call it what you will, forcing one perspective upon children, without presenting alternatives, and allowing for a free pursuit of these alternatives - which includes consequence free discussion of differing perspectives, is propaganda in my mind. And, by the way secular dogma can be just as exclusive as any religious dogma. Just ask those who were sent to the prisons and gulags in Nazi germany, Stalin U.S.S.R. and Mao China. Can elementary children engage in this kind of critical thinking? Unlikely. Should they be indoctrinated? Not in my mind. Focus on the basics: spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, physical ed, art, music and computers. Can middle school, high school and university students engage in this kind of critical thinking? Yes. Is it happening? Those of you who are in these settings, or recently removed, you tell me?
What is a good alternative to socially acceptable behavior and understanding the principles of democracy?

Should children be indoctrinated? Absolutely our liberty depends on it. Our democracy depends upon it. The following is from an 1883 textbook titled "Fifth Reader". I wish I had started the thread with this quote.


Quote:
Education in the United States

1. For the purpose of public instruction, we hold every man subject to taxation in proportion to his property, and we look not to the question whether he himself have of have not children, to be benefited by the education for which he pays. We regard it as a wise and liberal system of police, by which property and life and peace of society are secured.

2. We hope to excite a feeling of responsibility and a sense of character, by enlarging the capacity and increasing the sphere of intellectual enjoyment. By general instruction, we seek, as far as possible, to purify the whole moral atmosphere; to keep good sentiments uppermost, and to turn the strong current of feeling and opinion, as well as the censures of the law and the denunciation of religion, against immorality and crime. Education, to accomplish the ends of good government, should be universally diffused
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Old October 10th, 2016, 12:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulius View Post
Interesting themes here. A bit looking only to the US belly, but I think that we can approach this in a wider perspective.

The official school system is, when it works properly, a way to integrate children in their culture, i.e. in their countries culture, history and political system. The official school is a way to format new people into the accepted practices of their countries society, i.e. social and moral norms and guidelines.

Obviously I don’t agree with the sentence “Without the culture, the American Spirit, that is the high-spirited feeling we get when we believe are doing the right thing, dies.” because I am not a citizen of any American country.

But, like you, I see the educational system as an indoctrination system. Naturally a democracy like the quote Athenian one will indoctrinate his citizens with a specific mentality, and a theocracy or a dictatorship will indoctrinate their citizens in a different way. So the educational system is always a tool in the hands of the state and for our experience it seems every type of systems try to make some use of it.

The relation between the state and a religion seems to be still an open issue even in the West, more than 200 years after the French Revolution.

Even so most of the Western countries seem to have a significant independence of any religion, apparently noted more in Europe than in the America, and able to maintain a secular education to their youngsters, while trying to provide moral guidelines.



When mocking begins in a history class… it is not a history class anymore… it is a mocking class. It is a fail in the system.



Moral training objectives of a church can be significantly different from the moral training objectives of the country. So it is always an error to leave them (at least solely) to any church.



Agreed.
I think we share many agreements. I speak of US education because that is the one I know best, not because its education is the best. My intention is to make it clear what that education has to do with our liberty and also what it has to do with manifesting a democracy. Obviously, democracy is not manifested with warfare. We can not enter another country and destroy its infrastructure and established government and walk away leaving behind a healthy democracy! So what I am saying applies anywhere in the world, and any country that does the same thing better, Great! I write about this because I think the 1958 National Defense Education Act has been very destructive to our democracy, giving us the worst political years possible!

I am so glad you said this

Quote:
Obviously I don’t agree with the sentence “Without the culture, the American Spirit, that is the high-spirited feeling we get when we believe are doing the right thing, dies.” because I am not a citizen of any American country.
The connection between morals and morale is universal. It is the same for a fanatic Muslim as it is for the president of the US. When people believe they are doing the right thing, they have high morale. What is not universal is how we determine what is the right thing? People who believe they know absolute truth because they study their holy book, are absolutely dangerous. People who believe they are God's chosen people, and they can know the will of God, and that God's will is always in their favor, are pretty dangerous. When these people do not have education for liberty and democracy, but they have the right to vote, a nation can be in big trouble, and if this nation has military power, the problem can become an international one. So how do we determine what is moral? That is the difference between a democracy and a theocracy or autocracy.

Quote:
The relation between the state and a religion seems to be still an open issue even in the West, more than 200 years after the French Revolution.
Absolutely! and I am so glad you said that. Joseph Campbell explained the importance of mythology is to transition youth to adulthood and prepare the young for citizenship. We in general, have not been understanding of that. We have so much work to do! As a few people in Athens wrote stories of the gods, a few Americans and textbook writers understood the importance of mythology and they gave us American heroes who served the same job as the gods of Athens. But especially in America very few were literate in Greek and Roman classics, and the only mythology they were really aware of is the Christian mythologoy. Before 1958 they got both what Christianity offers and the American mythology that diminishes the problems with Christianity. And in 1958 we began destroying our national heroes and the culture we defended in two world wars.


The dependency on Christianity was so strong, school books promoted it is a good indoctrination for morality and citizenship. Without literacy they didn't see Christianity as mythology, but fortunately, because the bible is so much Hellenized Judaism, those who were literate could use the bible to manifest democracy, and also to manifest slavery. Slavery of course being opposed to democratic principles, and our education being weak on pointing out some problems with religion, as though everything will be worked out in the long run.

But just as we reach a period in time when we can make our democracy really great, public education was taken over by the Military Industrial Complex, and this as I said, is damaging to our democracy.
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Old October 12th, 2016, 01:55 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by athena View Post
I think we share many agreements. I speak of US education because that is the one I know best, not because its education is the best. My intention is to make it clear what that education has to do with our liberty and also what it has to do with manifesting a democracy. Obviously, democracy is not manifested with warfare. We can not enter another country and destroy its infrastructure and established government and walk away leaving behind a healthy democracy! So what I am saying applies anywhere in the world, and any country that does the same thing better, Great! I write about this because I think the 1958 National Defense Education Act has been very destructive to our democracy, giving us the worst political years possible! .
Yes, I basically I agreed with many things that you said, I just tried to give a more international perspective, even if my knowledge is basically of the Portuguese educational system, and some samples of other European countries. About the USA 1958 National Defense Education Act, I really can’t comment due lack of knowledge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by athena View Post
The connection between morals and morale is universal. It is the same for a fanatic Muslim as it is for the president of the US. When people believe they are doing the right thing, they have high morale. What is not universal is how we determine what is the right thing? People who believe they know absolute truth because they study their holy book, are absolutely dangerous. People who believe they are God's chosen people, and they can know the will of God, and that God's will is always in their favor, are pretty dangerous. When these people do not have education for liberty and democracy, but they have the right to vote, a nation can be in big trouble, and if this nation has military power, the problem can become an international one. So how do we determine what is moral? That is the difference between a democracy and a theocracy or autocracy.
Again, here I basically agree with you. I would even say that most of the people in the West or in West influenced countries will agree or tend to agree, but those concepts and concerns are far from universally accepted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by athena View Post
Absolutely! and I am so glad you said that. Joseph Campbell explained the importance of mythology is to transition youth to adulthood and prepare the young for citizenship. We in general, have not been understanding of that. We have so much work to do! As a few people in Athens wrote stories of the gods, a few Americans and textbook writers understood the importance of mythology and they gave us American heroes who served the same job as the gods of Athens. But especially in America very few were literate in Greek and Roman classics, and the only mythology they were really aware of is the Christian mythologoy. Before 1958 they got both what Christianity offers and the American mythology that diminishes the problems with Christianity. And in 1958 we began destroying our national heroes and the culture we defended in two world wars.
Now you made me think... I really think that is the first time that I see this analogy for the USA between the Greek heroes and the American heroes. Quite interesting and appropriate analogy. But in time the ancient Greeks also separated the Age of Heroes from the Age of Man… so if we go further the USA will also had to demystify their heroes.

On the other hand the mystification of historical characters, from whom we have much more than an oral traditions, can be good for a countries pride, but can also be dangerous specially if brought to the educational system. The mystification is a “liar-ization” of reality, it is an artificial construction, and history, sooner or later can unmask it.

For instance, in my country, Portugal, during the “Estado Novo” dictatorship there was a systematic construction of historical characters like Viriathus (a Lusitanian), D. Afonso Henriques, Henry the Navigator, Vasco da Gama… and some of the constructions build around them are lies that still persist today in the Portuguese popular culture, years later after many historians tried to demystify them. Note that with the demystify process we are not destroying the importance that those man had in history, we are just bringing them back from the Age of heroes to the Age of Man.

Somehow the path must be found between the glorification of human characters and an almost cynic perspective that underlines their human faults and erases their achievements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by athena View Post
The dependency on Christianity was so strong, school books promoted it is a good indoctrination for morality and citizenship. Without literacy they didn't see Christianity as mythology, but fortunately, because the bible is so much Hellenized Judaism, those who were literate could use the bible to manifest democracy, and also to manifest slavery. Slavery of course being opposed to democratic principles, and our education being weak on pointing out some problems with religion, as though everything will be worked out in the long run.

But just as we reach a period in time when we can make our democracy really great, public education was taken over by the Military Industrial Complex, and this as I said, is damaging to our democracy.
As for the last paragraph, I can’t agree more, I would add that is damaging the democracy in a worldwide perspective and not only in the USA.
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Old October 14th, 2016, 09:18 AM   #10
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I don't think there could be a better reply than the one you wrote. In many years of presenting my concerns, no one every had a better understanding than you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulius View Post
Yes, I basically I agreed with many things that you said, I just tried to give a more international perspective, even if my knowledge is basically of the Portuguese educational system, and some samples of other European countries. About the USA 1958 National Defense Education Act, I really can’t comment due lack of knowledge.
The best thing of these forums is people from around the world.

The National Defense Education Act radically changed education in the US. In the thread about US military force in 1932, I got a much deeper understanding of that change to increased military influence that began with the mobilization of the second world war. That mobilization went so well, because of the bureaucratic changes Hoover and Roosevelt worked together to make. We not only had an extremely inefficient government but also very poor military force up to this moment in time.

I keep thinking of what you said about Greek change. I am aware of their change in education and a change in their understanding of the gods, and growing secular knowledge and power, war and economic change. And it is so weird how your post and attempting to respond to it, is deepening my understanding of these matters. For years I thought US history has paralleled Athens history, but now the details of that change are becoming stronger in my mind.

Quote:
Again, here I basically agree with you. I would even say that most of the people in the West or in West influenced countries will agree or tend to agree, but those concepts and concerns are far from universally accepted.
Please, clarify which concepts are not universal? I am speaking of the social organization and where is the power of authority? A democracy puts the power of authority in the individual. This can only be done through education. This is the whole issue, education can create a democracy and can radically change a democracy, returning citizens to subjects under authority. And this goes with having a weak or strong government, family organization/social order or military organization/social/order. Greek history is like adding fuel to the fire here because they had rapid progress and fell apart.

I am going to lay down a few facts and go walk my dog before my head explodes with too much thinking.

"In the past, personal and political liberty depended to a considerable extent upon governmental inefficiency. The spirit of tyranny was always more than willing; but its organization and material equipment were generally weak. Progressive science and technology have changed all this completely." Aldous Huxley

Before 1958 US education internalized authority and the family was the model of all organizations, even some industry. After implementing the National Defense Education Act, education externalized authority and made the military the model of organization.

Bless you for knowing of Greek history, because the ancient Greeks could have had the same complaint, and I am hoping you can add some clarity here as my mind is struggling to grasp this mix and shift in evolution, from a happy go lucky community of people to a colonizing, powerful city/state or nation. When Athenians did this their education became focused on technological correctness. Power is shifted from the gods to the people, but not exactly all people equally, because now power rest in being "technologically correct".

Eisenhower (1958 president) saw this education for technology and merit hiring, as a great advantage for democracy. Now our destiny is in our own hands, and no longer restricted by our birth place. This is an increase in our liberty right? Eisenhower, saw the danger and he warned us of the potential danger of the Military Industrial Complex. He saw the "experts" might grasp too much power and control, as in the warning Aldous Huxley gave us. And it is the National Defense Education Act, that has prepared the young for this new order.

Warning, Hitler's and Bush's New World Order is Eisenhower's Military Industrial Complex. That is what the US defended its democracy against in two world wars. Now please don't jump to conclusions, because I am not saying this is good or bad. I am saying it is a dramatic change, but Athens also experienced this change and it kind of got wash away like a sand castle.

What is the good and bad of this change? Be sure it is directly tied to education! That was so in Athens, as it is so today. Oh, oh and this has everything to do with our understanding of morality and authority.
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