Diamonds in the Mud


 Column by Jim Davies, published on December 02, 2011 in

Mainstream-media news broadcasts normally leave me cold, they so trivialize the important events they describe. The photography is frequently excellent, but the commentary is so banal as to give me less knowledge of what the events mean, not more. Anchorpersons in that trade must be the most overpaid employees anywhere. Last Sunday evening's news from NBC was no exception – but, remarkably, for me something in it sparkled in the mud.

The half-hour began with three reports of violence and chaos – nothing new there. The first showed crowds in Pakistan, seething with anger over the killing of two dozen soldiers in a US air strike, called because the soldiers were firing artillery at the wrong target. Chalk that one up to the chaos of war; that is, one or more governments trying to enforce their wills on someone else.

The second portrayed other seething crowds, in Cairo; their beef was that they are being ruled by their erstwhile heroes of the Army, and the remedy they seek is to be ruled by... someone else. Seems none of the angry demonstrators want simply to be left alone altogether, to operate his own life his own way. The idea of government by somebody must be a powerful drug.

Then the day's third dose of violence took us North to Syria, whose government still clings to power after killing 2,900 of "its own" people, who also want someone else instead to be their rulers. Breaking news was that the club of governments known as the Arab League is expelling this member, for violating its rules.

At this point in the broadcast, NBC anchor Lester Holt might have offered viewers a few words of interpretation or comment, such as "Ladies and gentlemen, these terrible events demonstrate yet again that, contrary to everything government has taught us, chaos results not from the lack of government but from its presence. Anarchy, which means the absence of a ruler, is not chaos; government is chaos, and everywhere as this has showed you again, it produces violence."

But did I hear any such clarifying, enlightening few seconds of explanation? – not at all. Not on your sweet FCC license.

In fairness, it wasn't just the danger of losing government's permission to broadcast; the problem was that all newspersons are themselves the product of schools operated or licensed by government. Almost certainly, it never crossed the mind of Lester Holt to use such words; no doubt, his brain has long since been washed clean of such independent thoughts. The facts of the day's headlines are shouting out loud for that understanding, but they are not heard because ears have been deafened by eight generations of dumbing-down indoctrination.

So the final segment of Sunday's NBC News was particularly welcome: a report from Florida of a "Virtual School." Thanks to the Great Recession (it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good!) the government school system there is so strapped for cash it has allowed a commercial contractor to teach children at home via the Internet – with a teacher available by phone or Instant Messaging. Now, this concept is exactly how education would be delivered in a free society, except of course that parents would pay directly instead of through the dinosaur of taxation and government administration and curriculum and attendance control; so I was delighted to learn of the improvement. Nationwide, NBC said there are several hundred thousand kids being schooled this way, with and without tax funding, and what excites me is that now, it's so much smaller a step from government indoctrination to true learning that parents might fairly be expected to realize that all they have to do is to take government out of the process!

NBC failed to list the other huge advantages of such on-line schooling, such as freedom from the waste of time and diesel fuel twice a day, freedom from the regimenting of fixed-interval classes, freedom from the arrogant bullying of school cops, and freedom from being held back in class for the sake of kids who are forced to be present but who have no wish to learn. The reporter did bring to my screen a spokesman for the old guard – a teacher, or administrator, the difference hardly matters – who warned that schools "are not just for learning lessons. Their purpose is also to make good citizens."

At last! Under the pressure of shortage of money, at least one grizzled indoctrinator has told it the way it is! He didn't use the word "socialize", though I was expecting it – a nicely ambiguous word, meaning either to "make sociable" or to "teach Socialism", the second of which they disguise with the first – but he did admit that government schools are about turning children into citizens, with proper Respect for Authority. That has always been their primary purpose, ever since Prussian soldiers failed to obey Frederick William III and went home to farm instead of fighting Napoleon.

When government spokesmen admit some truth and allow progress however grudgingly, the event is as rare as diamonds – but we can still enjoy the resulting glint of hope.

Back to Subject Index