cross-posted: The G Bitch Spot
Western experts later distanced themselves from the excesses of the Indian Emergency, but records from the time show that many advisers supported, if not cheered, India’s fling with despotism. In September 1975, three months after the Emergency began, demographer Kingsley Davis considered the expansion of Asian slums in an article for the Population Development Review, a journal sponsored by the Population Council, and arrived at an endorsement of authoritarianism. Democracy, Davis concluded, was at odds with effective population control and stability in Asia; the only political system for the continent’s mushrooming megacities was a “strong government that stands in contrast to the populace in skill as well as power…ruling a docile mass of semi-educated but thoroughly indoctrinated urbanites existing at a low level of consumption, working very hard, and accepting passively what is provided for them.” [Hvistendahl, 2011, p. 88]
Substitute other words and you might get:
Education experts later distanced themselves from the excesses of the charter movement, but records from the time show that many advisers supported, if not cheered, Louisiana‘s fling with despotism. In September 2012, seven years after the Reform began, education researcher and university professor Calvin Hobbes considered the expansion of charter schools in the Times-Picayune, and arrived at an endorsement of authoritarianism. Democracy, Hobbes concluded, was at odds with effective school reform in New Orleans; the only political system for the city’s deteriorated public school system was a “strong government that stands in contrast to the populace in skill as well as power…ruling a docile mass of semi-educated but thoroughly indoctrinated urbanites existing at a low level of consumption, working very hard, and accepting passively what is provided for them.”
Or “War on Women” and “Conscientious Objection” and “Republican base.”
Hvistendahl, M. (2011). Unnatural selection: choosing boys over girls, and the consequences of a world full of men. New York: PublicAffiars.
I find this objectionable. It’s a mad lib, and you can substitute in any group or movement and make an outrageous statement. Removing words from a passage and replacing them with words of your own choosing? And supposing that this makes a point? Unbelievably lame. It’s more charter hate with nothing to back it up but insult and aspersion.
Well, the point of this type of analogy is to point out the ironies of simplistic answers to complex issues. If you’re looking for more in depth critiques, the authors has a number in the archives, which also have detailed discussion that follows. At the same time, the central analogy, that of the mega city, is worth exploration. I’ve lived in the largest city in the world, and the problem is similar: overconcentration of resources in one area creates an escalating strain on what is available.
What makes it all ring is the ease and blitheness with which democracy and consent are tossed aside in the name of “progress” or, as we now hear it called, “Reform.” Because x “right,” the ends justify all and any means, especially ignoring local voices, needs and justified complaints, and any objection, regardless of content, is dismissed as anti-“progress”/”Reform.” It is and should be highly disturbing that democracy and consent are labeled as antithetical to change. In other words, if it involves you and your lived life, you are the last person who should have a say or control or even get to squeak a No. It’s a repulsive line of thinking that is far too common. Far too common.
I’m surprised that was ignored. But a community that lets its public schools be dismantled and just shrugs [not my kids, they were horrible anyway, etc.] shouldn’t be surprised when that conquer-and-conquer pattern is repeated elsewhere, like the Times-Picayune.