Sunday, February 28, 2010

from Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky

Something similar happened in the United States during our industrial revolution, actually. Mass public education first was introduced in the United States in the nineteenth century as a way of training the largely rural workforce here for industry-in fact, the general population in the United States largely was opposed to public education, because it meant taking kids off the farms where they belonged and where they worked with their families, and forcing them into this setting in which they were basically being trained to become industrial workers. That was part of the whole transformation of American society in the nineteenth century.

So when you have a chance to meet with people or talk with them, I think the thing to do is to try to get them to learn how to explore things for themselves- for example, to help them learn for themselves the way that the media shaped and frame issues for the purpose of manipulation and control. Now, there's not much point in doing it abstractly- you know, like some theory of how it works. What you have to do is look at cases. So take cases that people are interested in, and just teach them how to do research projects- research projects are very easy to do, you don't need a Ph.D.; maybe in physics you do, but not in these topics. You just have to have common sense, you have to look carefully at the facts; it may be a little bit of work to find the facts- like usually you're not just going to find them right therein the headlines or something. But if you do a little work, you can find out what the facts are, you can find out the way they're being distorted and modified by the institutions. And then the purposes of those distortions quickly become clear.

from History is A Weapon

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