Change the Education Paradigm

by Philip Greenspan

October 15, 2001

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If I were in charge in the wake of the 9/11 calamity I would enact numerous changes in policy. Some would drastically choke off the funding of terrorists around the world. Others would bring to justice the criminals who are guilty of unjustifiable acts of violence and destruction. But my most profound change would be to a process that affects and infects all countries and large organizations as well -- corporations, unions, NGOs, etc. A desire to create intense loyalty to the government (or organization). A loyalty so intense that the citizen is willing to sacrifice his life for the state.

When a child is socialized to fit into the existing culture he is indoctrinated to believe that his country is and always was a force for good. His parents, having been indoctrinated previously, and the school are his primary sources.

As he matures and his interests broaden he encounters a mass media that enthusiastically supports the system and further aids in this 'brainwashing'. Now, the entire cultural environment molds the mind and hinders critical thinking and analysis.

As a young child in school I was taught to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and to sing the 'Star-Spangled Banner'. I learned both by rote without knowing what either really meant. Every schoolroom I entered prominently displayed the flag -- a designed piece of multicolored cloth that has become modern man's 'golden calf' -- and every day my class would recite the pledge to that flag.

I was taught a history of the United States that glorified our founding fathers, our Constitution, and the noble deeds that were performed by so many of our presidents, military leaders, industrialists, etc.

The world outside my classrooms reinforced that initial indoctrination. The news media parroted the administration position of the day. Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley were additional allies in support of patriotism.

It is only within the past few years, by maintaining an open mind and critically exploring alternative sources, that I was able to gain a wider perspective and discovered how brainwashed I and almost everyone else I knew had become.

The mind of the young child at school should be taught to think critically. He should be given a wide variety of viewpoints in learning about our history. And our cultural environment should offer the same mix in all the major media -- newspapers, TV, radio, film, etc.

When the educational horizons are widened, Americans would learn facts contradicting many of their prior beliefs. A few examples follow:

a.. Our founding fathers were the wealthy elite who were most intent on maintaining their wealth and power.

b.. Our constitution was designed to protect their wealth and power. The constitution is a terribly racist document that supported slavery.

c.. The Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments) was added not out of a desire to grant political freedoms and protections. They were the byproduct of a tactical struggle between opposing forces over ratification of the constitution.

d.. Almost all of the early settlers were guilty participants of the genocide of native Americans and to the present day they are still treated miserably.

e.. Our entries into the country's wars were usually instigated by the then current administrations and not by its opponents as is frequently contended. Three examples among many:

• Vietnam: The exposure of the fraud of Gulf of Tonkin is so well known that no further comment in necessary.

• Gulf War: Saddam Hussein was an ally of the US at the time he invaded Kuwait. He had been given everything he desired during his war with Iran. He was unaware that the US had encouraged the Kuwaitis to antagonize him; and was led to believe that Iraq had a green light for aggression against Kuwait by our ambassador April Glaspie who told him, "We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait." When he discovered his mistake he attempted a face saving negotiation to restore the status quo. The US wanted war so negotiations were rejected. (See The 1991 Gulf Massacre, by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, http://www.mediamonitors.net/mosaddeq14.html)

• World War II: Franklin Roosevelt was intent on getting the US into the war but a majority of the American public was opposed to war. To gain the support of the people, it was necessary for the US to be ruthlessly attacked. Accordingly the administration implemented a program that eventually resulted in a Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. (See Day of Deceit, by Robert B. Stinnett, The Free Press 2000)

If I were in charge I would select a panel of education experts to formulate a program for our schools that would train students to critically think and analyze problems that are presented to them, evaluating all possibilities and considering the opinions, pro and con, of the relevant issues.

I would select another panel of journalists to formulate a program for the mass media that will make all points of view on current issues readily accessible. Proponents of each will prominently present his position.

Wouldn't such programs possibly violate the constitution? Yes, but if we are to give a voice to the people and trust them to democratically come up with the right answers we cannot rely on how our constitution has been interpreted over the years by the various courts. A new constitution following the guidelines of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations that promotes not only political freedom and protections but also economic security.

Our news media would be radically different. It would have no advertising. A supporter of the establishment would not independently own it. It might be a cooperative of the staff of the paper or of its readers. The news columns should have the quality of past journalistic greats like George Seldes and I. F. Stone and such current media iconoclasts as John Pilger, Robert Fisk, and Amy Goodman,

While early indoctrination and a censored culture subtly manipulate people to arrive at decisions which can only benefit the elite who remain in control, I sincerely believe that if the American public were presented with all options and judged them with an open mind their humanitarianism and good sense would revolutionize our policies. The numerous injustices, at home and abroad, too many to enumerate, would be eliminated. The burning fuel of terrorism would turn to water and fear of terrorism would be relegated to history books.


       Philip Greenspan's bio is concise and right to the point: 75 years old, married 49 years, 2 children, 3 grandchildren. Veteran World War II Army of the U.S. Graduate Brooklyn Law School, member of the NY bar. Private law practice, followed by employments in the motion picture industry -- distribution and exhibition, and data processing industry -- retailing and stock market; retired 6 years.

       Please, DO NOT steal, scavenge or repost this work without the expressed written authorization of Swans, which will seek permission from the author. This material is copyrighted, © Philip Greenspan 2001. All rights reserved.

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Published October 15, 2001
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