Saturday, October 04, 2008

Education and V for Vendatta

A man I respect had this to say about the 700 billion dollar bailout our Congressmen voted on October 4, 2008: "The treason of our politicians had put me in a very sour and depressed mood. To Lift my spirits and regain some inspiration - tonight I am again watching "V For Vendetta". It always seems to lift my spirits and give me hope."

Many Americans are worried by how irresponsible our leadership is in handling money. But I see bigger problems than the money and I see a connection between our problems and education.

The failure of banks in America, year after year, is a symptom of big problems. The problems are (1) our leaders are incompetent, (2) our leaders deceive and manipulate us, and (3) too many people go along with the manipulation and deception.

Regarding Manipulation

Besides the movie V for Vendetta, featuring government deception, there have been movies with a similar theme for many years, like The Parallax View (1974). Even the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) had the AI computer, HAL, go crazy because it was forced to lie to its crew.

In the movie, The Matrix, the character Morpheus says, "...there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad." That "something" is the deception and manipulation practiced by our leaders,

On the large scale, our deception has been documented in Manufacturing Consent. On a smaller scale, an article in the Saturday August 30, 2008 Wall Street Journal, "Machiavelli's Daring Gift" by William Amelia says Lee Atwater has read The Prince 23 times.

Karl Rove has been described as a Machiavellian in Machiavelli's Shadow by Paul Alexander. Scott McClellan wrote What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception and was pilloried in the press for being disloyal.


One critique I have heard of The Prince said that the manipulation and deception encouraged by The Prince is most helpful to mediocre people, so a Machiavellian system is riddled with mediocrity and incompetence. This goes a long way towards explaining the incompetence of the current Bush administration. Lee Atwater was important to George H.W. Bush and this Machiavellian presence in the 1st Bush administration had to influence the 2nd Bush administration.

To Be or Not to Be, a Sheep

The frustration of the American people with our corrupt leaders is finding voice in artistic works besides V for Vendetta. The book Black Friday by James Patterson describes disgruntled veterans blowing up Wall Street and assassinating the Secret Government. The short story, Sergeant Chip by Bradley Denton in Year's Best SF 10 depicts our government murdering its own soldiers in order to give the government an excuse to continue an unpopular war. There is a growing sentiment that our government cannot be trusted.

Cicero said it is dishonorable to be deceived. So it is our responsibility to be well enough informed that we are not easily deceived. Once we perceive the deception, some people think violence is an answer, or at least enjoy fantasies or movies about a heroically violent struggle. Yet, non-violence has been an effective form of resistence.

The Wall Street Journal, Saturday September 13, 2008, ran a story on page 1, American Revolutionary by Philip Shishkin about Gene Sharp. Gene Sharp started The Albert Einstein Institution to promote non-violence in the defense of freedom and democracy.

Gene Sharp wrote a handbook, From Dictatorship to Democracy, that is available as free PDF document. Gene Sharp promotes non-violence and the techniques he describes have been proven to work around the world.

Education is the Real Solution

We must avoid slipping into an outright dictatorship. The key to preserving our freedom is to educate our children for liberty to they can preserve their freedoms.

Ideally, we should educate our children so they can become tomorrow's leaders. We do not need to accept the existing ruling class. We can educate our children to rise to the top and restore competency, rationality, and morality to our nation's leadership. This is one of the goals of the Timeless Way Foundation.

Robert Canright

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