But for Chomsky it is not enough to learn how to think critically. Engaged intellectuals must also develop an ethical imagination and sense of social responsibility necessary to make power accountable and to deepen the possibilities for everyone to live a life infused with freedom, liberty, decency, dignity and justice.
"Children for example are naturally curious – they want to know about everything, they want to explore everything but that generally gets knocked out of their heads. They’re put into disciplined structures, things are organised for them to act in certain ways so it tends to get beaten out of you. That’s why school’s boring."
"There’s a kind of a deeper point, that Social Security is based on the principle that Kamal Abbas was talking about, namely social solidarity. Social Security is based on the idea that you’re supposed to care what happens to people who are in need. So like if there’s a disabled widow across town and she doesn’t have food to eat, you’re supposed to care about it. That’s what Social Security is about. And that’s a bad idea. You’re supposed to look after yourself, not care about other people.
Social Security is dangerous. It kind of undermines preferred doctrines and can even lead to action, which could change the way the world works. So we don’t want that.
In fact there’s a large scale attack on public education that’s based on the same principle, if you can privatize… and the same techniques are being used. Defund it so it doesn’t work, complain about how it doesn’t work, privatize it, it gets worse. But then you’ve undermined social solidarity and it’s fine for the wealthy anyway. They’ll get what they want."
Drawing upon the thinking and analyses of renowned intellectuals, this documentary sketches a portrait of neo-liberal ideology and examines the various mechanisms used to impose its dictates throughout the world. Neo-liberalism’s one-size-fits-all dogmas are well known: deregulation, reducing the role of the State, privatization, limiting inflation rather than unemployment, etc. In other words, depoliticizing the economy and putting it into the hands of the financial class. And these dogmas are gradually settling into our consciousness because they’re being broadcast across a vast and pervasive network of propaganda.
With: Noam Chomsky, Ignacio Ramonet, Normand Baillargeon, Susan George, Omar Aktouf, Oncle Bernard, Michel Chossudovsky, François Denord, François Brune, Martin Masse, Jean-Luc Migué, Filip Palda and Donald J. Boudreaux
"education is really aimed at just helping students get to the point where they can learn on their own,
because that’s what you’re going to do for your life,
not just absorb materials that are given to you from the outside and repeat it"
she told me an experience she’d had where a little girl had come up to her and said she was really interested in something that came up and she asked could the teacher give her some ideas for how to look into it further
and the teacher was compelled to tell her , I’m sorry but you can’t do that, you have to study to pass this national exam that’s coming , that’s going to determine your future , the teacher didnt say it but it’s going to determine my future whether i’m rehired and so on
the system is geared to getting the children to pass hurdles but not to learn to understand and explore/
a person can do magnificently on every test and understand very little
all of us who’ve been through schools and collages and universities are very familiar with this , you can be in some course, say, that you have no interest in and there’s demand that you pass a test and you can study hard for the test and you can ‘ace it’ , to use the idiom, you can do fine and a couple of weeks later you forgot what the topic was , I’m sure we’ve all had that experience , i know i have
"There have been many measures taken to try to turn the educational system towards more control, more indoctrination, more vocational training, imposing a debt, which traps students and young people into a life of conformity… That’s the exact opposite of [what] traditionally comes out of The Enlightenment. And there’s a constant struggle between those. In the colleges, in the schools, do you train for passing tests, or do you train for creative inquiry?"
"When both parents are working extra hours, and for most on falling incomes, it doesn’t take a great genius to predict the outcome. The statistics show them. You can read them in Hewlett’s UNICEF study if you like. It’s perfectly obvious without reading them what’s going to happen. Contact time, that is, actual time spent by parents with children, has declined forty percent in the last twenty five years in the Anglo-American societies, mostly in recently years. That’s actually ten to twelve hours a week of eliminating contact time and what they call “highquality time,” time when you’re not just doing something else, is virtually disappearing. Of course that leads to the destruction of family identity and values. It leads to sharply increased reliance on television for child supervision. It leads to what are called “latchkey children,” kids who are alone, a factor in rising child alcoholism and drug use and in criminal violence against children by children and other obvious effects in health, education, ability to participate in a democratic society, even survival, of course decline in SATs and IQs, but you’re not supposed to notice that. That’s bad genes, remember."
"The process of creating and entrenching highly selective, reshaped or completely fabricated memories of the past is what we call “indoctrination” or “propaganda” when it is conducted by oficial enemies, and “education,” “moral instruction” or “character building,” when we do it ourselves. It is a valuable mechanism of control, since it selectively blocks any understanding of what is happening in the world.
One crucial goal of successful education is to deflect attention elsewhere —say, to Vietnam, or Central America, or the Middle East, where our problems allegedly lie—and away from our own institutions and their systematic functioning and behavior, the real source of a great deal of the violence and suffering in the world. It is crucially important to prevent understanding and to divert attention from the sources of our own conduct, so that elite groups can act without popular constraints to achieve their goals—which are called “the national interest” in