The Odysseus Group The Odysseus Group - John Taylor Gatto
Keyword search:

Our Documentary Film
I Want to Help
Underground History of American Education
History Tour
Discussion Forum
Odysseus Group
About Us
Contact Us

Table of Contents | Prologue | Comments on the Book
Reviews | Errata | Read the Book | Purchase the Book

Page - 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Serving The Imperial Virus

Toynbee thought he could calculate Britain’s jeopardy if it allowed the masses dreams of independence by a comparison with the Soviet Russia where revolutionary dreaming once dictated social arrangements:

In Marxian Communism we have a notorious example in our midst of a modern Western philosophy which changed in a lifetime quite out of recognition into a proletarian religion, taking the path of violence and carving its New Jerusalem with the sword on the plains of Russia.

The working-class proletariat conceived by Toynbee is in a permanent childlike state, one that requires constant management. Because of this ongoing necessity, a second proletariat must be created, "a special social class" which represents a professionalized proletariat, "often quite abruptly and artificially" gathered by the national leadership to aid in managing the lumpish mass of ordinary folk.

The size this bureaucratic cohort will reach depends upon the circumstances which call it into being. If the dominant minority decides to wage war, for instance, a vast enlargement of noncoms and line officers will occur; if it decides to concentrate public attention on charitable benevolence, a mushrooming of social work positions will ensue; if the public is to be kept fearfully amused and titillated by the spectacle of crime and law enforcement, a new horde of police and detectives will be trained and commissioned. The social management of public attention is a vital aspect of modern states. To the extent that schools, together with commercial entertainment, control an important share of the imagination of the young, they must be heavily involved in such a project. There is no possibility they can be allowed to opt out. Social management of public attention through schooling can be seen as very similar to management of public attention by corporate advertising and by public relations initiatives. Mass production demands psychological interventions intended to create wants that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Among its other roles, school is an important agent of this initiative.

The professional proletariats created to do this important task and others like it can be seen, says Toynbee, to be "a special class of liaison officer" between the governing minorities and the masses. This English way of seeing middle classes clears some of the fog away. Consider the real- life effect of an abstract rule of first allegiance to management on those schoolteachers who work too intimately with parents, or struggle in children’s interests too resolutely—inevitably they become marked for punishment. Good teachers from the human perspective are natural system-wreckers. They don’t fit comfortably into a service class designed to assist governing elites to manage. Their hearts aren’t in it.

Toynbee is brutally candid about where loyal pedagogues fit: "As the [imperial] virus works deeper into the social life of the society which is in the process of being permeated and assimilated, the intelligentsia develops its most characteristic types: the schoolmaster... the civil servant... the lawyer...."

Page - 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

© 2000-2004 The Odysseus Group
Suite 3W  295 East 8th Street  NY, NY 10009
Phone Toll Free: 888 211-7164   Fax: 212 529-3555

Site design by Exploded View