Saturday, November 07, 2009

The empire cripples itself

Recently there was a story in the Army Times about how youths in the United States are generally unfit for military service. Too many potential recruits are either insufficiently educated, physically unfit, or have criminal records.

It is quite interesting because these youths are the products of government run taxpayer funded schools. Theoretically the government would want a population that is fit enough for military service, and as such would ensure the government run schools would provide a population that is smart enough, fit enough, and motivated enough to serve in the military.

This is one of the fundamental flaws of empire. On the one hand empire needs a population that is fit, intelligent, and motivated, so that these people can serve in ways necessary to administer the empire over other people. On the other hand, due to the repressive nature of empires back home, the empire needs a population that is under-informed, docile, and apathetic. It is very difficult to achieve both of those goals at the same time.

It is true that there is a way out of the dilemma, and that is to have a very militaristic educational system that emphasizes obedience above all else while educating in the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. But that is not what happened in the United States. With the emphasis being on not educating the public, the result is a public that is functionally illiterate. Michael Jackson’s funeral has more public interest than Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill.

It’s clear that the emphasis isn’t on education, even though nobody in the education system (other than John Taylor Gatto) will ever admit to such. It is clear because you hear complaints about “teaching to the test” and complaints about people entering the work force unqualified. Many college have a basic skills department to remedy the lack in even reading and arithmetic among entering students. If there really was a desire among the leadership in this country to produce an educated public, it could be accomplished, so therefore one must logically conclude that desire is not there.

Small wonder that among those who do seek employ in the government, too many of them are more than willing to abuse their position instead of think about the responsibilities of their position. More and more it is becoming apparent that while prosecutors have the necessary specialized knowledge of law to perform their job they have no knowledge about the philosophy of the laws they enforce and never stop to consider the ethics of their actions. More and more it is becoming apparent that too many police are no longer different from the criminals they are supposed to stop and are instead merely criminals with official permission to act. Just as the education system fails to provide soldiers, it fails to provide police.

Among the fields that require extensive thought, many of the engineering and medical students in this country are students who grew up in foreign countries and are now studying in the United States. Engineers and doctors study the humanities, but very few in politics have studied even the rudiments of science.

An empire will fail either because the public will not tolerate the domestic abuses needed to maintain an empire abroad, or because the public is too apathetic or unfit to maintain the empire abroad. It is clear which of these two paths has been chosen by the United States government.

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