There is nothing more frightening to a fascist regime than education. When the Nazis took over Germany, it was intellectuals and not Jews who were the first to go to the camps. The Hitler Youth was quickly established to kill any spark of intellectual honesty that threatened to spring up in the German school system. Once the intellectuals were all busy learning about the joy that came from hard work and short rations, the road was clear to go after the Jews.
The American government has seen the dangers that come from a truly educated public. An educated public can raise their collective fists and swat a politician like a fly. Richard M. Nixon was an example of that happening. An educated youth is going to hear the war propaganda and tell the powers that be to go piss up a rope. That’s certainly what happened with the Viet Nam war. I would have to say that the American anti-Communist propaganda came around and bit them in the collective butts. Communist Russia was a poor and technologically backwards country that was presented as the enemy. Popular literature, TV and movies portrayed Russia as a technologically advanced super-power that could easily conquer the United States if we did not stay ahead of them. The U.S started a huge push for education. Our public schools improved the quality of education. Scholarships and grants were created to bring more people to college. America became the best educated country in the world.
This brought a plethora of technological wonders for American corporations to exploit. We created the computer, the VCR, and dozens of other toys that the American economy grew fat on. The fact that the public became educated was an unexpected side effect from the economic boost. Not all Americans became scientists working to make more profits for American corporations. Some became clergy, some philosophers, some social scientists, and still others were everyday workers who had been given the tools to use their own intelligence. The results were unexpected. European Americans could see the justice of Martin Luther King’s cause. The American public could judge Malcolm X’s arguments on their own merit. Mohammad Ali (who will always be “The Greatest” in my heart) was a college-educated boxer that appealed to an educated America. He popularized the anti-war movement and gave us our first slogan. Hell no, we won’t go. The American government found themselves with a crop of young people who refused to serve in Viet Nam and actually saw the reality of the war. It all culminated with Nixon, when the American people demanded his impeachment and got it.
The people behind Nixon had their butts kicked, but returned with Ronald Reagan as their front man. This time they came back smarter. They had a brand new philosophy of smaller government to hide behind. The first thing they did to demonstrate their dedication to smaller government was attack education. Not only did they eliminate millions of dollars in college grants and scholarships, but they began underfunding public schools. By the Nineties, public schools were being bought up by multinational corporations like Lockheed. By the Twenty first century, there were high school students who had no idea what the Second World War was all about.
Not content with destroying the American education system, the Neocons have continued to destroy any attempt at education through their support of the Christianoid right. The U.S Park Service hands out creationist propaganda rather than actual science. California was once the best educated state in the Union. Today it has Proposition 8 on the ballot. How far we have fallen from the days when the public rallied around Dr. King? It breaks my heart. Proposition 8 is the culmination of a 28 year attack on education.
Now that I have all the silliness out of my system, let’s take a serious look at the new trend in dorm rooms. The designer creations featured in the Time pictorial that I featured yesterday was by an outfit called American Campus Communities. From their website:
American Campus Communities is one of the nation’s largest developers, owners and managers of high-quality student housing communities. We led the industry to a new plateau in 2004 when we became the first publicly traded student housing REIT (NYSE: ACC). Since 1996, we’ve developed more than $1.5 billion in properties for our own account and our university clients, and we have acquired in excess of $2 billion in student housing assets. Also, we’ve become a national leader in third-party development and management of on-campus student housing, having been awarded the development of 46 on-campus projects (in addition to our 11 projects developed off campus). We have forged strong relationships through our on-campus developments: 11 of our college, university and system partners have called ACC back for 24 additional projects or phases after we completed their initial communities.
There we go folks; it’s a real estate scam. Universities get to increase their real estate values without having to manage the properties. Then they pass on the added expenses with their tuitions. University regents live in a make-believe world where they can raise tuition without limit. Rather than create an atmosphere where all students are equal, colleges are now enforcing the capitalist class system where wealthy students will be isolated from their less wealthy fellow students. This will certainly help to assure that what happened in the Sixties will never happen again. Different classes of people will never mix. The upper class kids will never be exposed to poverty, and never see that there is anything wrong in our society. So there is one class of students living in dorms with their own 7-11s and private gyms . Then there is another class of students who have to go to the food pantry to survive.
As above, so below, folks. This is a reflection of America today. As more and more Americans lose their homes and jobs, more and more Americans are eating from food pantries. At the same time, more and more Americans are living in luxury. So which America does the media focus on? Time Magazine does a a puff piece on American Campus Communities and present this as if all college students are living that lifestyle.
What amazes me is that people are actually going to believe this. They have their heads so far up their butts that they are going to start kvetching about how easy college kids have it these days. Of course they are going to ignore the kids who are eating out of food pantries. People have a tendency to see what they want to see. So while the world looks through its rose colored glasses, corporate America is busily stealing everything that’s not nailed down and returning with crowbars.
I think the next paragraph from their website brings a greater understanding of this idiocy:
Today’s sophisticated student consumers demand more and expect the modern conveniences they grew up with. Private bedrooms, private baths, Internet connectivity, fully equipped kitchens, spacious living areas and resort-style amenities are seen as necessities – and universities are catching on. They now know that to recruit and retain students, they must offer modern housing options that support their academic mission. With college enrollment at an all-time high, universities are turning to private developers to meet this rising demand for amenity-rich student housing both on and off campus.
Show of hands here. How many of us have grown up in this sort of atmosphere? Internet connectivity is no big deal. There are homeless shelters with WiFi for the residents who managed to hang on to their laptops. I grew up with a fully equipped kitchen and I used it, too. Nobody in their right minds would have let my mother anywhere near a frying pan. Really folks, how many of us grew up with resort style amenities? Show of hands. Whatever happened to the good old fashioned cafeteria? I got my first two years of college mad money washing dishes.
Education has become class-driven. We are no longer training our young people to become the best they can be. We gave up the space race. We surrendered the war on poverty. Colleges are no longer places of learning. They have devolved into places where kids go to make contact with people of their own class. Is it any wonder the very people who screwed the pooch and caused a world wide stock market crash simply don’t see that they have done the slightest thing wrong?