Saturday, July 24, 2010

Indispensable enemies

Indispensable Enemies

A student loaned me a book by G.K. Chesterton, whom I think is popular among some Catholics with conservative leanings, which I kind of understand but only kind of, given what I read. I finished the book in two days, What Is Wrong with The World, is the title. And here is a passage which explains why I like this guy, or at least some of what he has to say. He is aware of the power of the oligarchy as well as being aware that the oligarchy is the Establishment, comprehending both "parties." This passage refers to English politics in the early 1900s but it could, of course, be applied to US politics today. Enjoy.

"And now, as this book is drawing to a close, I will whisper in the reader's ear a horrible suspicion that has sometimes haunted me: the suspicion that Hudge [read "liberal" or "socialist"] and Grudge [read "conservative"] are secretly in partnership. That the quarrel that they keep up in public is very much a put-up job, and that the way in which they perpetually play into each other's hands is not an everlasting coincidence. Grudge, the plutocrat, wants an anarchic individualism; Hudge, the idealist, provides him with lyric praises of anarchy. Grudge wants women-workers because they are cheaper; Hudge calls woman's work "freedom to live her own life." Grudge wants steady and obedient workmen; Hudge preaches teetotalism - to workmen, not to Grudge. Grudge wants a tame and timid population who will never take arms against tyranny; Hudge proves from Tolstoi that nobody must take arms against anything....Above all, Grudge rules by a coarse and cruel system of sacking and sweating and bi-sexual toil which is totally inconsistent with the free family and which is bound to destroy it; therefore Hudge, stretching out his arms to the universe with a prophetic smile, tells us that the family is something that we shall soon gloriously outgrow." [p.190]

Just one illustration from today. In today's NY Times [July 24,2010] there is a story of how the current superintendent of D.C. schools has fired hundreds of teachers who did not measure up on a scale of assessment recently created under Obama's "Race to the Top" education policy. Now, of course, Republicans/"conservatives" will like this because it looks like responsibility being enforced and if some lose their jobs, tough luck and besides this is what happens in the "market place" or at least parts of the market place. Ah, but Democrats/"liberals" will like it because it is "regulation," allegedly "real regulation" and, of course, they have no doubt that all these fired teachers deserved their fate because BOBs - Basic Old Bureaucrats - are never wrong. And just as unsurprising is that the article nowhere even hints at the substance of this "assessment tool" except to say that it is connected to "test scores." But then who really cares if this assessment tool measures anything real? This is bound to produce that "tame and timid population" that is incapable of protesting oppression. And, of course, the school children will get the message too. For real!

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