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“Food for Thought” is an original column appearing every other Tuesday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Norman Imberman. Norman is a retired podiatrist who loves playing piano, writing music, lawn bowling, bridge, reading, classical music, going to movies, plays, concerts and traveling. He is not a member of any social network, nor does he plan on becoming one. Archived columns can be found here. FFT-only RSS feed available here.
Baron Rothchild has been credited with saying that as long as he has control over a nation’s money supply, he doesn’t care who has control over any other aspect of life. I submit that there is another area that is even more critical to control if one wants to have power over a nation—the nation’s education system.
What is meant by education and intelligence? What is the essential characteristic that makes the concept called education what it is; that identifies it as something separate from any other concept? If one memorizes facts, is that an education? If one memorizes the steps necessary to prove the Pythagorean Theorem, is that an education? If one can recite the history of every battle, is that an education? If one can recognize and name the artist for every work of art ever produced, is that an education? All of the above are examples of learning. One may be able to recite the biography of every politician, entertainment and sports celebrity, but that only indicates an excellent memory. One may be able to keep the listener entertained with anecdotes about thousands of people, but that too is not indicative of intelligence. One may have the skill to repair an automobile, treat a disease or build a house, but is that an education? I call such skills examples of training. Of course memory, learning and training are a necessary part of an educational process, but they are not sufficient. There are many learned and/or well-trained people on the planet adept at many of the above skills, but they are not necessarily educated.
The process of becoming educated and intelligent involves learning how to think for oneself. It involves the ability to evaluate the intellectual thought content of the ideas about which one hears and reads, and the ability to independently come to rational conclusions about ideas. It involves the proper use of the one faculty that identifies us as human—the human mind. A proper educational process is one that provides one with the tools—intellectual ammunition—to accomplish the above stated goals. All ends or goals require tools for their implementation. In the thinking realm the tools are intellectual thought processes that are consistent and non-contradictory.
It never ceases to amaze me that laymen and educators alike have concluded that the thinking processes we use to solve the problems of science and technology must somehow be different from those we use to solve our social problems. Try suggesting that the thinking process used to build a bridge across San Francisco Bay has to be the same thinking process required to prevent crime, to reduce starvation, or eliminate economic depression or inflation. Most people will tell you that using science to attain such a goal is impossible. However, thinking is thinking, conceptualization is conceptualization and A is A. Thinking is not wishing, hoping, or praying. There is only one type of thinking for human beings and that is the conceptual method.
What is the subject matter that must be taught in all schools in order for a curriculum to succeed at attaining the goal of education and creating intelligent graduates as outlined above?
1) The Universal Law of Non-Contradiction: It is vital that students be taught the meaning and significance of the term contradiction. They must be taught that a contradiction is nature’s way of sending a message. When a contradiction is identified, nature is saying, “stop here now; you are not correctly following the dots; you are stepping off the path that leads to your chosen goal.” It is true that a contradiction can exist in your mind, but it cannot exist in reality. It is nature’s method of warning you that you have misidentified something about reality and thus either your idea of what is real is mistaken, or your conclusion is incorrect. Metaphorically it is a loose connection in the circuitry of your thinking process. Without understanding the above, education is impossible.
2) The Scientific Method: One’s method of thinking must be consistent no matter what the topic. There is no escaping our nature as human beings. Nature has not programmed us to run like the cheetah, to see like the eagle, or to fly like the bat. But she has given us a nature that requires the use of those tools that define us as what we are. One of those tools is the Scientific Method. I am not suggesting that we must apply formulas or equations to people and place them in neat little cubbyholes, and expect their behavior to reflect our formulas. In fact, such are the expectations of our present politicians and social planners, going back as far as Plato. What I am saying is that thinking and logic involve perceiving the world; making connections using those perceptions to build concepts or abstractions; building higher levels of concepts from lesser concepts; trying to solve problems by using those concepts as tools to make predictions, and finally, testing those predictions in order to arrive at new laws or principles which can also be used as tools for further study and goal attainment. During this process Nature mandates that there be no contradictions. I am not preaching infallibility. I am emphasizing the fact that if students are not taught the significance of identifying a contradiction, they will shrug off their contradictions and continue to commit errors—and the grandfather of all errors is failing to understand a contradiction’s significance and thus continuing to act upon the misconception. Many people have a deep mistrust, or even disdain, for the Scientific Method because they falsely believe (due to mis-education) that it is responsible for most of the evils we are now witnessing, and so they seek out other “mysterious” realms from which to draw knowledge and understanding. They do not understand that it is the failure to apply the Scientific Method to our social problems that has led to our present social crisis. For the very same reasons, people also believe that freedom has failed, thus it is time to try its opposite—slavery, in the form of socialism. What has actually occurred is that slavery has failed, and it is now time to discover freedom for the first time, and then build it.
3) Natural Law: This simply means that principles of nature exist independent of man. It is man’s task to discover or identify them and formulate them in such terms that he can make use of them. A law is a natural principle that is expressed in scientific terms, as, the laws of thermodynamics, the laws of ballistics or the laws of electromagnetic wave propagation. Some examples of laws that pertain to the study of society are: something cannot be gotten for nothing, actions have consequences, all human action involves the employment of chosen means in order to attain greater satisfaction or less dissatisfaction and consequences are independent of the intentions of any action.
4) The Law of Causality: This is the study of cause and effect, also known as Praxeology. Man’s greatest failure in the social realm is his inability to understand the cause of things; not only the cause of the things that he dislikes, but also the cause of the things that he likes. If the goal is to prevent crime for example, students need to understand the fundamental cause of crime and, just as importantly, the cause of the present failure to prevent crime. To prevent crime, you need a Science of Crime Prevention; to attenuate world poverty and attain world prosperity, you need a Science of Poverty and a Science of Prosperity, utilizing all of the tools I discuss in this article, in a consistent and non-contradictory manner. Each science compliments the other. All the sciences are related and must be consistent with each other. In other words, the Science of Crime Prevention can have nothing in it that contradicts the Science of Prosperity, which cannot contradict any portion of the Science of Peace. Causality dictates that the means used to attain certain ends must be consistent with those ends. The means must be identified and defined, and the ends must be identified and defined, and there cannot be a contradiction between the two or failure will result. I once had a conversation with someone who had a Masters degree in Public Health. I explained all of the above to him, and he seemed very receptive to these ideas. He then proceeded to elaborate on his (mistaken) point of view on some public issue. I then asked him if he would change his point of view if I were able to point out a contradiction in his position. His answer was emphatically in the negative. He was so indoctrinated with his point of view that he was immune to looking at the facts, even after admitting that a contradiction would mean that he had made an error. The old socialist adage that “the ends justify the means” is a false concept. Correctly stated, “the ends are inherent in the means”; the effects are inherent in the cause. An educator who understands the laws of causality should be able to say, “Tell me your goal, then tell me your means and I will tell you if you can attain your goal using those means.” All educators should have a thorough understanding of Praxeology, especially if they teach any of the social sciences, and particularly economics because those two subjects have such a great impact on the human condition. Social planners reject this knowledge so in their “wisdom,” they are part of society’s problems and augment the failures.
5) The Principle of Opposites: It identifies the essentials of a concept so that its opposite can also be identified. This study is important for the following reason. If you don’t identify a concept and the opposite concept properly, you will not recognize when its opposite comes into play. If its opposite does result and happens to be an effect that you don’t want, you will not even be able to acknowledge that you have an unwanted effect. This will lead to a perpetuation of the unwanted effect. For example, students are not taught the essential component of the terms freedom and slavery. They graduate government schools having only a vague idea of their meaning. They believe slavery to be a condition where a slave master is whipping the back of a cotton-picker, a pyramid-builder or a concentration camp victim; or perhaps they picture a slave chained to the oars of a ship. To them, nothing else is a representation of slavery. Therefore, anyone who is not being whipped into submission is a free individual. If the student were properly taught that freedom is a condition that exists when each individual has full control over his own property, without having control over anyone else’s property (contractual agreements do not invalidate this definition), then he would understand that the United States is not a free country. In contradistinction, a slave is a person whose control over his own property has been taken away by fraud, force or the threat of force. The only way to enslave someone is to make him involuntarily serve another, thus the term involuntary servitude and slavery are synonymous. Therefore our entire social structure is based upon theft and slavery. This analysis is not just a matter of opinion or some other point of view. To a nation that has peace and prosperity as its goal these distinctions are of vital importance. However, these distinctions cannot be made without a clear understanding of opposites.
6) The Law of Universal Connectivity: This involves understanding that everything in the universe is connected in some way to everything else, especially in the realm of ideas. It is a fusion of the ideas mentioned in this article. It is a realization that we are all bound by the same universal laws; that just as a contradiction cannot exist in the laws of physics, it cannot exist in the laws of the social sciences; that just as you cannot get to the moon by aiming for the center of the earth, you cannot attain societal prosperity by building stumbling blocks to those principles and actions that are the very cause of prosperity; you cannot have peace as your goal and use involuntary servitude as your means to attain that goal. They don’t complement each other; they are antagonistic. In fact a person held in involuntary servitude is in a state of war with his enslavers. All of us are in a constant state of involuntary servitude since we are constantly being forced to serve others through taxation and regulation. So how can there be peace among us? A state of war is the opposite of peace. Failing to understand the above analysis is another example of the failure to teach the Principle of Opposites.
7) Laws of Human Action: A basic course in the Laws of Human Action must be developed and taught at every level of elementary and high school. (Such a course has already been developed but is beyond the scope of this article). It discusses not only what is written in this article but goes into greater detail in breadth and scope in its content.
8) Semantics: This is the study of the function that language plays in gaining understanding. Language is more than just a means of communication. Words have precise contextual meanings that must be based in reality. When words are not based in reality, they are meaningless—just plain babble. Words and definitions give one the inestimable value of knowing what one is talking about and the ability to understand what is going on. When students are taught that words have fuzzy meanings and are just a matter of social convention, the result is fuzzy thinking. We think in words. If the thought process is to be clear and precise, so must the language.
9) The Rules of the Syllogism: A syllogism is the thinking process used by every person, on an intuitive level; however it must be taught and understood on a conscious, conceptual level. We all think in syllogisms when we come to new conclusions. We hold certain ideas as facts. We combine two facts and come to a conclusion based upon those facts. If the facts are true and they concern inter-related topics, and the thought process is correct, we can conclude a third statement, which can then be utilized as a new fact. However, if any of the original premises is incorrect, then the conclusion must be incorrect. For example: Suppose it is true that ABC University is an all-girls school (fact), and also suppose that Pat attends ABC University (fact). You can now be certain, without even meeting Pat, that Pat is a girl. If you conclude that Pat is a chimpanzee, you have concluded incorrectly. On the other hand, if ABC University is really a co-educational school, then the original premise is incorrect so you cannot be certain if you conclude that Pat is a girl.
All systems fail in direct proportion to the number of contradictions (flaws) in the system. In cases of mechanical systems, the time it takes to discover the problem is relatively short. (The rocket explodes, the TV set doesn’t work or the automobile stalls). In the case of social systems, it usually takes decades or centuries for the failure to appear, thus making it a monumental task to identify the flaw that caused the social system to fail and to undo the harm that was created. The reason for this delay rests with the fact that there are millions of innocent victims who can be forced to shoulder the burden of the failure through their pocket books (taxes), and there are also many groups who are usually falsely identified as scapegoats for the problems; i.e., the unions, the businessmen, the blacks, the whites, the liberals, the conservatives, the immigrants, the Jews, the gypsies, ad nauseam. In addition, many people’s jobs and comfort zones become dependent upon the status quo, thus making it difficult to change. However, you can’t fool Mother Nature. She has the unalterable habit of inflicting the lesson of natural consequences upon us, whether or not we have good intentions or whether or not we choose to pay heed to her warnings.
There is an old joke that relates an incident where a priest is standing in front of his church as the town is being inundated by a raging flood. As he prays to God to save him, a man in a rowboat appears and offers him a ride to safety. The priest refuses, saying that God will save him. An hour later the priest is standing in waist-high water, still praying, when another man in a rowboat makes him the same offer and he again refuses, saying that God will save him. At the end of the day the priest is standing on the roof of the church since the water has risen to the rooftops, and a man in a helicopter flies by and offers him a ride to safety. Once again the priest refuses because God will answer his prayers. The water rises further and the priest drowns. When he arrives in Heaven he asks God why He did not save him. God answers, “What more do you want from me? I already sent you two rowboats and a helicopter?”
Let’s change the story a bit. Mankind is slowly drowning in a sea of contradictions and inconsistencies. Its prayers are not answered and Mankind finally drowns and goes to heaven. When God is asked why He did not save Mankind, He answers, “What more do you want from me? I already sent you The Universal Law of Non-Contradiction, The Scientific Method, Natural Law, The Law of Causality, The Law of Opposites, The Law of Universal Connectivity, The Laws of Human Action and the Syllogism!”
Since none of the above is taught at either our public schools or institutes of “higher learning,” except in math and science, it follows that our educators are not educated. Whether you are an aerospace engineer, a rocket scientist, an astrophysicist, a Ph.D. in economics, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a successful talk-show host, or an Albert Einstein, if you were schooled in any institution that failed to teach the ideas I have outlined, the chances are that you are not an educated person and your intelligence is lacking. Some people have been able to see through the fraud and have become self-educated. I hold such people in high esteem.
The primary reason why opponents in a discussion over a social issue end up shouting in frustration is that at least one of them assumes that they are both using the same “ground rules” of thinking. A number of years ago, after learning about the principles discussed in this article, a dramatic turnaround occurred in my thinking and conclusions about social and political issues. With great excitement I proceeded to engage in a running discussion with a friend about the social issues of the day. Since he held the beliefs that I formerly held, with great excitement I wanted to share my newly found knowledge with him. However, I found it to be an extremely frustrating and futile endeavor. Finally, after arguing with him over many issues for an entire year, I asked him for the first time, “Don’t you see the contradictions and inconsistencies in your point of view?” I’ll never forget his answer! He said, “Who ever said that I have to be consistent and without contradiction?” I sat there with my mouth open in disbelief not just at him, but also at myself. I learned at that moment that one must not assume that one’s partner in a discussion understands or even cares about the necessity for consistency and non-contradiction. Unless the rules are established, it is an exercise in futility. You must not assume that you are having a discussion using the same ground rules.
Even an objective moral system is a derivative of learning and understanding all of the subjects outlined in this article. It is only through the use of these intellectual tools that the moral values leading to peace and harmony can be derived and practiced. All knowledge exists in a hierarchy. You cannot run until you learn to walk, or understand advanced mathematics until you learn basic arithmetic. In like manner, you cannot understand a proper moral code until you learn how to think independently. That is nature’s method. I call it the “if-then” rule.
You cannot create moral behavior in others by merely preaching morality. This has been tried for the past 6,000 years of recorded history by teachers, the clergy and parents, but with little success because a code of morality also must have no contradictions. Does one expound upon one’s love of freedom, while voting for even one single piece of legislation that enslaves someone? To answer this question one must understand what constitutes freedom and its opposite, namely slavery.
Since the younger generation recognizes the hypocrisy in the behavior and ideas of its leaders—teachers, politicians, clergy, superstars, newscasters and prominent members of the community—one should not be so shocked when these young people behave immorally. There is nobody to set a proper example, since there is nobody qualified to teach morality as a derivative of fundamental principles. Have you noticed that most of our statues and monuments are dedicated to destroyers—not builders? For every statue of an Isaac Newton or an Eli Whitney there are hundreds dedicated to generals, politicians and battles.
Without the benefit of the type of positive education I have identified, on the issue of morality, one could uncritically adopt their moral code simply by accepting the authority of a book or of another person. Of course they have the problem of deciding which book or person to believe. Without the proper tools one cannot properly evaluate ideas. On the other hand, if a moral code is derived from the basic principles described here, one can then independently arrive at a code that is conducive to the type of life that is proper for humans. Since almost every teacher of morality on the planet lacks those tools, most are not qualified to teach the subject. All they can do is to tell their students to behave in a certain manner because this book says so, or because God says so, or because it is the law of the land. (Laws are not necessarily moral.) These are not examples of an education in morality.
In all cases it is the failure of our State-run educational system to properly teach the ideas enumerated here that is the cause of our social decay. The battle is ideological; a battle of ideas. The Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain have fallen, but there is one more barrier that must collapse before we can extricate ourselves from our present mess. I call it the Invisible Wall. It lurks unseen in every classroom. It is composed of the quagmire of false ideas, and untaught principles, creating an inability to identify social mistakes. It is the last wall that must come down in order for the human species to survive on this earth.
Even though I come down hard on our educational system, I do consider it the most efficient agency of our government. To be efficient is to be able to attain the ends sought. It is very apparent to me that the end sought is not education. It is something sinister. I claim that the goals of our present education system are as follows:
- Training in reading, writing and arithmetic. (The system once excelled at this training but now even fails in these areas.)
- Teaching “facts,” some of which are true and some of which are untrue.
- Mind control and indoctrination. (Since there is no disputing the fact that government-run schools are not teaching any of the subjects discussed earlier, I submit that there is nothing other than indoctrination remaining as the goal. The goal of indoctrination is a means to other more insidious goals, enumerated as follows:
- Perpetuation of the status quo in the educational system
- Perpetuation of the status quo in the political system
- To make every student a “good citizen”
- The propagation of Nationalism
- Making it very difficult for students to understand an article such as this one
Earlier, I discussed the perversion of the terms freedom and slavery. I believe a flourishing indoctrination program is in evidence when the good citizens of our country vote in favor of some enslaving piece of legislation and then vote for more slavery to fix the problem when the situation is exacerbated as a result of the original legislation. To add insult to injury, they consider the USA a free country and expect the rest of the world to follow our example. The only reason that they still consider us a free country is that we are freer than any other country on the planet. Do they have to feel the whips on their own backs before they become convinced that our freedom is eroding? That’s what happened in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Slavery fascist style and slavery socialist style is still slavery! We have a combination of both.
Further evidence of the efficient indoctrination produced by the government-run schools occurs at election time. Notice that no matter how vehemently all sides may disagree on the issues, they all agree that the means to be used to decide what is right, is through the voting booth. They are constantly repeating over the airwaves that no matter what your view on the issues, you have a duty and responsibility to vote in order to maintain our freedoms. Thus they perpetuate the false ideology taught in the schools that confuses the means (voting in a democracy), with the ends (freedom). In addition, whenever we hear in the media that some dictatorship has become democratic with “free” elections, the news commentators and politicians claim that the country is finally free.
Our “indoctrinational” system leaves the student and every citizen unarmed, without the intellectual ammunition to see through the fraud. The system is so efficient that it is a monumental task to convince anyone that they have been indoctrinated with false ideas (which is the goal of an efficient indoctrination program). The people of Russia, in spite of the demise of official Communism, are still communists in ideology because of the efficient indoctrination of the past seventy-three years. Once the indoctrinated masses die off, the younger generation may be able to make changes, except that the new Russian school system will no doubt be run by the government, in which case, they will eventually fail again.
Suppose you were the Czar of the United States and appointed a Commissar of Education whose goal was to produce obedient citizens. What means would you use to accomplish this task?
The following would be my plan if I were the Czar:
- Make schooling mandatory. Fine or imprison the parents of those children who do not attend.
- The government must run most of the schools.
- Dictate the curriculum, even in the private schools.
- Allow for some fringe “freely-run” private schools to give courses in anything they want in order to keep up the appearance of freedom in education.
- Consider allowing for a voucher system so that the citizens could choose the schools they prefer. However, the basic tenets of democracy, patriotism and nationalism must be fostered in the curriculum of every school.
- Teach that it is a duty and a privilege to vote and bestow “good citizenship” awards on those students who can best recite the prescribed ideology.
- Teach that all government laws are for the common good, without defining the common good.
- Teach the following lies: everything is relative, there are no absolutes, there are no principles that can be applied to human action, words are meaningless and have no basis in reality, one cannot apply the scientific method to solve human problems, democracy equals freedom, it is un-American and unpatriotic to question the basic foundation of the government educational system or the government.
- Pervert the meaning of key words used in the social studies programs such as freedom, slavery, moral, immoral, good, evil, profit, greed, crime, coercion. The list is enormous. The perversion technique was predicted in the novel 1984 by George Orwell. Orwell’s predictions were right on target. However, he failed to realize that the government indoctrination programs would be so thorough that people would not even be able to recognize what was happening, despite the popularity and warnings in his book. When the year 1984 ended, people remarked, “I see that Orwell was wrong in his predictions.” He was correct but hardly anyone has the intellectual ammunition to notice.
- Teach the students to treat the American educational and political systems like a religion, not to be questioned in principle, to be blindly obeyed. I call it “politictheism.” Theists and atheists alike fall prey to this religion.
The single most valuable, but unappreciated, misunderstood, and underutilized intellectual tool in the history of mankind is the contradiction concept, and man’s very success at survival as a species depends upon a complete comprehension of its importance. It is only through the efforts of our institutions of learning that its importance can be taught. Indoctrination (government “education”) and the teaching of the law of non-contradiction are mutually exclusive.
I began this essay by mentioning Baron Rothchild’s claim that he could control a nation if he had control over the money supply. I believe that I have made a convincing case for the idea that controlling the minds of a nation’s citizens is a more dangerous and insidious power. It makes no difference if the mind is controlled by an individual, (Jim Jones-style), or by an organization (United States government-style), the effect will be the same—ineffectual solutions and an aggravation and multiplication of problems.
The concept of slavery versus freedom is similar to the on-off switch for your electricity. It is “all or none.” There is no gray area. Contradictions can exist only in one’s mind. Contradictions never exist in reality, and the sooner we understand this, the sooner will we be able to solve our social problems. This is why freedom is a package deal. One cannot believe in the freedom to produce bread, shoes or safety pins, but not believe in the freedom to produce education. One cannot believe in the freedom to purchase or sell a product on the market but not believe in the freedom to purchase employment at a mutually agreed upon salary. One cannot believe in the freedom to ask for a profitable price when one sells an automobile but not believe in the freedom to ask for a profitable price when one offers an apartment for rent. One cannot be free to open a grocery store but not free to open a post office to deliver first class mail. One cannot teach one’s children “thou shalt not steal” without precisely defining the word steal and to make matters worse, the adult who has no concept of the word steal, cannot even set an example for his own children.
The consequences of not paying heed to this article will be the destruction of the human race. Paying attention can lead to lifting mankind to heights beyond the imagination. Choose—reality versus hopes, wishes and prayers. The choice is yours and so are the consequences.
Our government-run schools are the epitome of efficiency in the pursuit of the government’s goals. They have no equal. Our most urgent social problems will continue to deteriorate as long as the government efficiently maintains a choke-hold on the faculty that makes us human—the human mind. Government-run schools are an insult and attack upon the human mind and civilization.