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#188#189#190#191 Episode #192 - Beyond the Shell Game to Real Choices
(Examinations and Elections as Cooling Out Exercises)

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Sat 8 November 2003  Mark Lance, Jeff Schmidt (reading)
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2 How elections and examinations are elaborate 'cooling out' procedures to help people settle for what they don't want.
It's election season again and politicians are promising good jobs for all and that no child will be left behind. Even if these candidates are sincere, which can not be assumed, what people hear being promised can't be delivered, because the very structure of this society is designed to leave most everyone behind, and to relegate us to lives in which we have no real say about how society will operate. We are forced to perform a lifetime of tedious work for somebody else's benefit and accept limited choices, mostly in the realm of consumption options.

Even the consumer with the much vaunted 500 TV channels has had no say in what those 500 channels broadcast, but may only choose from what someone else has decided to make available. The role laid out for most people is to follow orders and not cause trouble. This week, we read chapter 11 from Disciplined Minds by Jeff Schmidt, entitled "Neutral" voices. This week we examine the techniques the educational system uses to quietly reconcile people with their limited opportunity for a fulfilling life while perpetuating the myth of endless possibility.

But we'll begin the program from the opposite direction, how to approach the creation of a society where everyone really does get to make the decisions that effect our lives, instead of living as factotums in a hierarchy that serves the agenda of a few at the top. Mark Lance, an anarchist philosopher and activist on the faculty of Georgetown university argues that in order to create a society of equals we must learn how to recreate ourselves - and that we must, in the here and now, not only protest what is oppressive, but strive to create institutions fit for free people.
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