From “Underground History of American Education,” by John Taylor Gatto:
“To speak of scientific management in school and society without crediting the influence of the Fabians would do great disservice to truth, but the nature of Fabianism is so complex it raises questions this essay cannot answer. To deal with the Fabians in a brief compass as I’m going to do is to deal necessarily in simplifications in order to see a little how this charming group of scholars, writers, heirs, heiresses, scientists, philosophers, bombazines, gazebos, trust-fund babies, and successful men and women of affairs became the most potent force in the creation of the modern welfare state, distributors of its characteristically dumbed-down version of schooling.”
“[I]t would not be too far out of line to call the twentieth century the Fabian century. One thing is certain: the direction of modern schooling for the bottom 90 percent of our society has followed a largely Fabian design–and the puzzling security and prestige enjoyed at the moment by those who speak of “globalism” and “multiculturalism” are a direct result of heed paid earlier to Fabian prophecies that a welfare state, followed by an intense focus on internationalism, would be the mechanism elevating corporate society over political society, and a necessary precursor to utopia. Fabian theory is the Das Kapital of financial capitalism.”
Even though meritocracy is their reliable cover, social stratification was always the Fabian’s real trump suit. Entitlements are another Fabian insertion into the social fabric, even though the idea antedates them, of course.
From an evolutionary perspective, schools are the indoctrination phase of a gigantic breeding experiment. Working-class fantasies of “self-improvement” were dismissed from the start as sentimentality that evolutionary theory had no place for.
“Darwin made it possible to consider political affairs as a prime instrument of social evolution. Here was a pivotal moment in Western thought, a changing of the guard in which secular purpose replaced religious purpose, long before trashed by the Enlightenment. For the poor, the working classes, and middle classes in the American sense, this change in outlook, lauded by the most influential minds of the nineteenth century, was a catastrophe of titanic proportions, especially for government school children. Children could no longer simply be parents’ darlings. Many were (biologically) a racial menace. The rest had to be thought of as soldiers in genetic combat, the moral equivalent of war. For all but a relative handful of favoured families, aspiration was off the board as a scientific proposition. For governments, children could no longer be considered individuals but were regarded as categories, rungs on a biological ladder. Evolutionary science pronounced the majority useless mouths waiting for nature to dispense with entirely. Nature (as expressed through her human agents) was to be understood not as cruel or oppressive but beautifully, functionally purposeful—a neo-pagan perspective to be reflected in the organisation and administration of schools.”
The state not only had a vested interest in becoming an active agent of evolution, it could not help but become one, willy-nilly. Fabians set out to write a sensible evolutionary agenda when they entered the political arena. Once this biopolitical connection is recognised, the past, present, and future of this seemingly bumbling movement takes on a formidable coherence. Under the dottiness, lovability, intelligence, high social position, and genuine goodness of some of their works, the system held out as humanitarian by Fabians is grotesquely deceptive; in reality, Fabian compassion masks a real aloofness to humanity. It is purely an intellectual project in scientific management.
As the movement developed, Fabians became aristocratic friends of other social-efficiency vanguards like Taylorism or allies of the Methodist social gospel crowd of liberal Christian religionists busy substituting Works for Faith in one of the most noteworthy religious reversals of all time. Especially, they became friends and advisors of industrialists and financiers, travellers in the same direction. This cross-fertilization occurred naturally, not out of petty motives of profit, but because by Fabian lights evolution had progressed furthest among the international business and banking classes!
Fabian practitioners developed Hegelian principles which they co-taught alongside Morgan bankers and other important financial allies over the first half of the twentieth century. One insightful Hegelianism was that to push ideas efficiently it was necessary first to co-opt both political Left and political Right. Adversarial politics–competition–was a loser’s game. By infiltrating all major media, by continual low-intensity propaganda, by massive changes in group orientations (accomplished through principles developed in the psychological-warfare bureaus of the military), and with the ability, using government intelligence agents and press contacts, to induce a succession of crises, they accomplished that astonishing feat.
You needn’t carry a card or even have heard the name Fabian to follow the wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing flag. Fabianism is mainly a value-system with progressive objectives. Its social club aspect isn’t for coalminers, farmers, or steam-fitters. We’ve all been exposed to many details of the Fabian program without realising it. In the United States, some organisations heavily influenced by Fabianism are the Ford Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Stanford Research Institute, the Carnegie Endowments, the Aspen Institute, the Wharton School, and RAND. And this short list is illustrative, not complete. Tavistock underwrites or has intimate relations with thirty research institutions in the United States, all which at one time or another have taken a player’s hand in the shaping of American schooling. Once again, you need to remember we aren’t conspiracy hunting but tracking an idea, like microchipping an eel to see what holes it swims into in case we want to catch it later on.
Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote his famous signature book “Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era” in 1970, a piece reeking with Fabianisms: dislike of direct popular power, relentless advocacy of the right and duty of evolutionarily advanced nations to administer less developed parts of the world, revulsion at populist demands for “selfish self-government” (homeschooling would be a prime example), and stress on collectivism. Brzezinski said in the book: “It will soon be possible to assert almost continuous control over every citizen and to maintain up-to-date files containing even the most personal details about health and personal behaviour of every citizen, in addition to the more customary data. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities. Power will gravitate into the hands of those who control information.” In his essay, Brzezinski called common people, “an increasingly purposeless mass.” And, of course, if the army of children collected in mass schooling is really “purposeless,” what argument says it should exist at all?
In the “world peace” phenomenon so necessary to establish a unitary world order lies a real danger, according to evolutionists, of species deterioration caused by inadvertent preservation of inferior genes which would otherwise be killed or starved. Hence the urgency of insulating superior breeding stock from pollution through various strategies of social segregation. Among these, forced classification through schooling has been by far the most important.
Fabianism was a principal force and inspiration behind all major school legislation of the first half of the twentieth century. And it will doubtless continue to be in the twenty-first. The “purpose of education” was to supply the teacher with “fundamentals of an everlasting faith as broad as human nature and as deep as the life of the race.” . . .These “educational missionaries” spoke of schools as if they were monasteries.
By limiting the idea of education to formal school instruction, the public gradually lost sight of what the real thing was. The questions these specialists disputed were as irrelevant to real people as the disputes of medieval divines; there was about their writing a condescension for public concerns, for them “the whole range of education had become an instrument of deliberate social purpose.” (emphasis added)
After 1910, divergence between what various publics expected would happen, in government schools and what the rapidly expanding school establishment intended to make happen opened a deep gulf between home and school, ordinary citizen and policymaker.”
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