John Taylor Gatto, 2-time New York Teacher of the Year, remembers his Army basic training days. One thing all recruits had to do was assemble the 50+ pieces of a rifle together . . . blindfolded.
Of course, they were trained in this complex task. Although some were slower than others, Gatto never knew of someone who couldn't do it.
The same, Gatto pointed out, can almost be said about driving. Yes, we all know of people who can't drive - because the general population is a bigger pool than qualified army conscripts. But the fact is, most people can drive, which involves a series of highly sophisticated maneuvers and subtle nuances and reactions. Not everyone, but almost everyone, can operate these deadly machines.
Gatto's point is that the supposedly "average" and even "below average" accomplish these sophisticated and dangerous tasks because it is in the interests of (what I call) the Ruling Class that they are able to do these things.
And yet, Gatto points out, all these supposedly mediocre people have a hard time reading a 19th-century novel, with the long sentences and the verbs appearing at the end. Why is that?
Because this doesn't fit the interests of the Ruling Class. Children can learn much more than they do, but the school system prevents them. It is part of the design of the school system, Gatto claims, for children to become convinced that they're not smart enough or talented enough.
The Ruling Class wants worker bees who do as they're told. Yes, it's good that they know how to read and write on a rudimentary level, but to actually think and contemplate new ideas would be dangerous.
The only things as threatening to the Ruling Class as an independent mind, is an independent living and private ownership.
Let's think back to one of those young soldiers. If he can put the rifle together blindfolded, he can be taught or apprenticed to do anything. If he has the discipline to learn how to assemble the rifle, as everyone in Gatto's memory did, then he is employable in any task. And if he masters that task, he is able to work for himself and teach others in the task.
The same can be said of a licensed driver. If you can drive a car, you can work. You might be prevented from working, but at least you are qualified to drive a cab.
But a society of independent shopkeepers and tradesmen is the last thing the Ruling Class wants for those who lay their lives on the line for them. The Ruling Class will instead steer young people to go into debt to pay for "higher education," after which they are to work for corporations. When they are laid off, they are to become dependent on government.
Just as threatening as thinking your own thoughts and working for yourself, the Ruling Class hates the idea of you owning your own land and property. Our entire credit-based society is intended to give you the illusion of ownership while keeping you in debt for most of your working life.
In short, the people - the masses of poor and middle class - have very little leverage. The entire structure of modern life makes them economically dependent on financial institutions and the government.
Healthcare takes this one step further. The federal government can literally take control of your life.
But the federal government is grabbing more and more power at the very moment that more and more people are losing their faith in it.
There has to be a breaking point. High taxes, complicated regulations, and price inflation will force people to make changes. I foresee more unreported cash exchanges and barter arrangements in the future. Doctors will take more and more shortcuts when it comes to regulations and paperwork. There would be an unorganized, even unconscious, tax revolt as each person does what they must to get by.
And states will be more willing to take matters in their own hands. For instance, if California legalizes marijuana this fall, the War on Drugs will collapse. In turn, this could start a train of events in which the federal government faces its own Berlin Wall moment.
I'm looking forward to the day. For a century the Ruling Class dumbed us down, stole our land, destroyed our prospects, devastated our communities, and dragged into war after useless war. Only the pace of technological change has made this process bearable.
But human beings are talented and resilient. We can do remarkable things like assemble rifles blindfolded and drive cars. If we smash the systems the Ruling Class set up for us, we may fulfill our potential as individuals and as a society.