Discover more from A Lily Bit
Resisting the Status Quo
How School and MSM Impact Society's Quest for Freedom
In the pursuit of liberty and the preservation of a flourishing society, the eminent poet Walter Whitman shared a profound admonition: “Resist much, obey little. Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved. Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth ever afterward resumes its liberty.” These poignant words serve as a timeless reminder that true freedom can only be safeguarded when individuals are unafraid to question and challenge authority when the need arises.
In the present day, however, it appears that we have veered away from Whitman's inspiring ideal. Blind obedience has become the prevailing norm, overshadowing the courage to stand against the status quo. Yet, buried beneath the layers of conformity, lies the very essence of a society yearning to break free and embrace the principles that have fueled the flames of liberty throughout history.
We find ourselves transformed into docile herds, willingly led into the clutches of tyranny. But how did we, in the Western world, veer away from the wisdom of Whitman?
This article is free. And so are most. However, your support as a paid subscriber enables me to continue producing high-quality, independent journalism on these important topics. As an ad-free platform, I rely on the support of my readers to keep this content accessible and free from external influence.
In this article, we delve into the critical examination of two institutions that have played a significant role in nurturing a submissive citizenry: the compulsory state-run education system, commonly known as the public school system in North America, and the mainstream media.
The public school system is often hailed as a beacon of progress in the modern Western society. Who would dare to question the worth of an institution that offers free and mandatory education for all? However, as we explore further, we may uncover the subtle intricacies that have contributed to shaping our attitudes and fostering passivity in the face of authority.
Like many institutions in our modern world, the idealized perception of how public schools should function sharply contrasts with the stark reality of their actual operation.
Should these schools truly nurture critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and the well-being of their students, few would question their significance and worth.
However, concealed beneath the facade crafted by bureaucratic overseers, a more unsettling truth comes to light.
John Taylor Gatto, a former teacher turned outspoken critic of public schooling, eloquently captures this reality: “…schools are intended to produce formulaic human beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled.”
While it is undeniable that schools typically succeed in achieving this objective, they seem to overlook the essence of success in a society that used to cherish independence, self-reliance, confidence, and individuality. Thus, the products of this educational system seem increasingly detached and irrelevant in a world that values those who can stand apart and carve their unique path to success.
The stark truth remains: individuals who have been thoroughly schooled frequently find themselves detached from genuine human relevance. While they may excel in tasks such as marketing products, handling paperwork, engaging in phone conversations, or mindlessly occupying themselves with a flickering computer terminal, their true essence as human beings seems to wither away, rendering them useless both to others and to their own selves.
Noam Chomsky, in his powerful book Understanding Power, echoes this sentiment, delving deeper into the core issue. He asserts that, within the prevailing power structure of society, schools predominantly function as institutions to mold people into obedient and conforming individuals. Their primary aim is to make the populace controllable and easily indoctrinated to uphold the status quo.
While to some, such a notion may sound like heresy, a thorough examination of history reveals that this outcome was the very intention behind the establishment of state-run school systems in the Western world. These educational structures were originally modeled after the factory-style of education implemented in Prussia during the early 1700s, deliberately designed to produce compliant citizens who would seamlessly fit into the societal machinery.
Through this lens of history and understanding, we come to realize that the current state of affairs in our education systems and the subsequent impact on individuals aligns closely with the planned outcome envisioned centuries ago. To break free from this cycle of obedience and conformity, a critical reassessment of the very essence and purpose of education becomes indispensable. Only then can we reclaim the true potential of human beings and foster a society that values independent thought, genuine curiosity, and the flourishing of every individual's unique strengths.
It is truly alarming that we have wholeheartedly embraced one of the most detrimental aspects of Prussian culture: an educational system deliberately engineered to produce mediocre intellects, stifle the inner growth of individuals, deny them substantial leadership skills, and ultimately mold them into passive and compliant citizens.
All of this manipulation aims to render the populace easily controllable and manageable by those in power.
Albert Einstein, a brilliant mind rarely paralleled in history, did not attribute his intellectual brilliance to the compulsory schooling he endured. In fact, when he reflected on his school years, Einstein revealed that after completing his final examinations, his once vibrant interest in the field he would later revolutionize had all but perished.
The study of scientific problems had become nothing short of distasteful to him for an entire year, a testament to the detrimental effects of a rigid and unfulfilling educational system that fails to nurture genuine curiosity and intellectual passion within its students.
Einstein strongly believed that one of the most significant flaws of compulsory, state-run education systems lies in their coercive and forced style of teaching.
In his words, it is nothing short of a miraculous feat that the modern methods of instruction have not completely stifled the sacred flame of curiosity and inquiry within students. He warned against the grave mistake of assuming that genuine enjoyment of learning and exploration could be cultivated through coercion and a sense of duty.
Despite spending well over a decade within the confines of the educational system, only a few individuals emerge with a genuine thirst for knowledge and a curiosity that extends to the countless mysteries of the world.
As Bruce Levine expounds in his book Resisting Illegitimate Authority, by the time students graduate, they have been conditioned to be passive, to submit to the directions of others, to place significant importance on the rewards and punishments imposed by authority, and to feign interest in matters they truly do not care about. This indoctrination leaves them feeling impotent in the face of their dissatisfying circumstances, unable to effect meaningful change.
If we cannot rely on our schooling to foster critical and curious minds capable of safeguarding society from the influence of corrupt authorities, can the mainstream media step into this role?
While skepticism toward this institution has been growing in recent times, it is essential to recognize that disdain and distrust toward the mainstream media have deep historical roots.
Thomas Jefferson expressed his disillusionment with newspapers and instead turned to the works of Tacitus, Thucydides, Newton, and Euclid, finding greater satisfaction in their intellectual depth and honesty.
Similarly, Nietzsche, renowned for his intellectual freedom and insatiable curiosity, was no admirer of the mainstream media, understanding the potential biases and agendas that could taint their reporting.
“Sick are they always. They vomit their bile and call it a newspaper.”—Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche.
Richard Weaver, a distinguished professor at the University of Chicago during the first half of the 20th century, astutely observed the irony of our progression. While we have freed ourselves from the antiquated earth-centered view of the cosmos, we have unwittingly immersed ourselves in a deceptive and illusory perspective of the world constructed by the mainstream media.
Though Weaver's focus rested on newspapers in his time, as they were the dominant medium, his insights resonate even more powerfully today when modern technology offers far more sophisticated tools for manipulating the masses.
A compelling point is often raised about how contemporary humans no longer perceive a revolving dome with fixed stars above their heads. While that is true, it becomes equally valid to consider what they now witness when they read their daily newspapers.
The newspaper serves as a meticulously crafted cosmos, encapsulating the events and occurrences that surround us in the present moment. Yet, for the average reader, this construct is taken for granted, seldom subjected to scrutiny, much like how their pious forebears in the 13th century did not question the cosmology that defined their worldview.
Weaver's words serve as a timeless reminder of the potent influence wielded by the media in shaping our perceptions, beliefs, and understanding of the world. In the present digital era, where information dissemination has reached unprecedented heights, it becomes all the more vital for individuals to develop discernment and critical thinking skills to navigate through the intricacies of this media-driven cosmos.
Why does the mainstream media frequently opt for deception over truth?
In his illuminating book, Media Control, Noam Chomsky suggests that, much like certain politicians, the mainstream media is predominantly influenced by individuals who uphold an elitist ideology.
Walter Lippmann, a prominent journalist of the 20th century, epitomized this perspective when he referred to the masses as the “bewildered herd,” insinuating that one of the media's primary roles is to keep the public in a passive spectator position rather than active participants in shaping society.
Chomsky further elucidates this elitist ideology, which rests on the belief that the majority of the public lacks the intelligence to comprehend complex matters. According to this view, if people were allowed to engage in managing their own affairs, it would inevitably lead to trouble and chaos. Therefore, it is deemed immoral and improper to permit them such control.
Instead, the approach is to pacify and subdue the bewildered herd, preventing them from expressing their discontent or disrupting the established order. In essence, the goal is to tame the masses and prevent them from unleashing their potential in a manner that might challenge the status quo.
This examination of the media's manipulative tendencies serves as a poignant reminder of the critical role individuals must play in seeking information, questioning narratives, and fostering an informed and engaged citizenry to counterbalance the propagation of elitist agendas.
For those of us who do not belong to the self-anointed elite, a crucial question arises: Is the control of the bewildered herd aimed at promoting a prosperous and flourishing society, or is it merely a means to maintain certain institutional structures that favor the elites at the expense of society as a whole?
This lingering uncertainty reinforces the necessity for adopting a more skeptical stance toward the authority figures of our time. What we need, in essence, are more anti-authoritarians individuals who question and challenge authority when warranted.
An anti-authoritarian is not someone who simply replaces passive acceptance of authority with passive rejection of all forms of authority. They understand that some institutions and authority figures serve beneficial purposes and should be accepted.
However, anti-authoritarians recognize that consensus does not always signify truth, that power can corrupt, that people are capable of deceit, and that certain institutions lack moral justification. They exist solely to preserve specific power structures and dominance.
Acknowledging these undeniable truths, anti-authoritarians approach all authority figures with a healthy dose of skepticism and are willing to resist their commands if such authority proves corrupt and detrimental to society's well-being.
As Henry David Thoreau eloquently wrote, “…if the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.”
However, some may express concerns about a world with an increasing number of anti-authoritarians. The obedience instilled in us during our schooling and the blind deference to authority perpetuated by the mainstream media might lead some to view anti-authoritarians as a threat to societal stability.
Yet, this perspective couldn't be further from the truth.
In reality, anti-authoritarians serve as essential protectors of a flourishing society. As the author C.P. Ellis once aptly put it, they act as the “spark plug” of progress, driving society toward positive change and a more just and equitable future. Their willingness to challenge entrenched power structures and question authority is fundamental to maintaining a society that values liberty, critical thinking, and the well-being of all its members. Far from being a threat, anti-authoritarians are the catalysts for a more enlightened and prosperous society.
Reflecting on the extensive and somber history of humankind, one cannot help but recognize that more heinous crimes have been committed for obedience than for rebellion.
Malevolent authority, when coupled with a passive citizenry, becomes the breeding ground for tyranny. Therefore, anti-authoritarians should not be feared or ostracized; instead, they should be embraced and welcomed.
These individuals play a crucial role in society by raising the alarm and awakening the slumbering masses to the existence of corrupt authority. A society without a healthy number of anti-authoritarians, or one that shuns and silences them, chooses the comfort of illusions over the pursuit of truth. Consequently, it unknowingly paves the way for its destruction.
As the enlightened 18th-century French philosopher Voltaire once cautioned, as long as people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who seek to tyrannize will seize the opportunity. Tyrants are fervent and energetic, dedicating themselves to imposing shackles upon those who slumber in complacency, be it for any number of gods, religious or otherwise.
In essence, the presence of anti-authoritarians in society serves as a safeguard against the encroachment of oppressive forces. They ignite a flame of vigilance, ensuring that the desire for truth and the defense of freedom continue to burn brightly. Embracing anti-authoritarians is vital to the preservation of liberty, justice, and the empowerment of the people to shape a society founded on principles that cherish the wellbeing and prosperity of all.
The true power to shape this world has always lain in your hands. Choose well!
If you found the information provided insightful, and believe that independent journalism should be supported, please consider becoming a paid subscriber for more in-depth insights on various topics.
If you don’t want to commit to a paid subscription but still wish to support me, you can donate an amount you choose here. Most of my content is free to read, so it is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
If you do not wish to make a contribution of any kind, please leave at least a like. It costs you nothing and helps others see this post. Thank You :)