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America: Youth Gone Mild



“All that’s sacred comes from youth … dedication … naive and true … with no power … nothing to do …”

So sang Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder back in the day. Of course if you listen to a Pearl Jam concert lately (which our founding editor recently did) Vedder’s lyrics have changed a bit.

The youth still have no power, only now they’ve got “f*cking so much to do.”

Indeed …

We mention this by way of commending to your attention a dated – yet still fascinating – post authored by clinical psychologist Bruce E. Levine, who a few years back wrote a book entitled “Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite.”

Originally published in 2011, Levine’s post identifies eight ways in which America’s “ruling elite” have successfully “created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination.”

Seriously … this guy thinks modern-day America is one step away from the dystopia of The Hunger Games trilogy.

And he’s probably right …

According to Levine the eight methods of youth subjugation are 1) Student Loan Debt, 2) Psychopathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance, 3) Schools That Educate for Compliance and Not for Democracy, 4) “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top,” 5) Shaming Young People Who Take Education—But Not Their Schooling—Seriously, 6) The Normalization of Surveillance, 7) Television and 8) Fundamentalist Religion and Fundamentalist Consumerism.

Very interesting …

We’re not necessarily sold on all of Levine’s conclusions, but we wholeheartedly embrace his assessment of the pernicious impact of expanded federal involvement in education.

“In a more democratic and less authoritarian society, one would evaluate the effectiveness of a teacher not by corporatocracy-sanctioned standardized tests but by asking students, parents, and a community if a teacher is inspiring students to be more curious, to read more, to learn independently, to enjoy thinking critically, to question authorities, and to challenge illegitimate authorities,” he writes.

That’s true …

Which is another reason why the government-run education monopoly must be undone if America has any hope of maintaining competitiveness in the 21st century …


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