Ever wondered why we have a generation gap? What is a generation gap?
generation gap noun
: the differences in opinions, values, etc., between younger people and older people
We treat the generation gap like it is to be expected, but why? If their children are learning what their parents want them to learn, then why don’t children share largely the same opinions, values, etc. Well, the obvious answer is children are not learning what their parents want them to learn.
Where do children get what they learn from? Schools and the mass media.
Consider this column, Answers for the anarchy, by Everett Piper.
In 1948, Richard Weaver told us that ideas have consequences. A few short years earlier, Hitler said, “let me control the textbooks and I will control the State.” Huxley and Orwell followed and warned of dystopias where education would be used as a means to total power and total control. Ideas do matter. Yes, ideas clearly have consequences. Good ideas lead to good places and bad ideas lead to bad places. As your grandmother said: Garbage in, garbage out. She was right. Education matters.
Today, however, it seems that education has become more interested in what is common than what is exceptional; in acquiring more information rather than more ethics; in teaching the student how to get a career and use a condom rather than how to build character and have a conscience. Education has lost its way and consequently our country has lost its soul and our culture has lost its sense. (from here)
Piper’s article focuses on colleges, but the same problem exists in our K-12 schools. The root problem is that politicians, not parents, decide what children learn. Once parents give up their tax dollars to politicians, politicians decide what children will be taught and who will teach them. When parents accept a “free” education for their children, they give up their right to decide what their children will learn. When parents demand that government help pay for a college education, they give up their right to decide what their children will learn.
What do politicians want children to learn? If you are a parent, you had better start thinking about that. Who is contributing to the campaigns of the politicians that run our country, our states, our local governments, and our school boards? Those people decide what is taught in government-run schools, not parents.
The Mass Media
What about our sacred mass media, including the free press, America’s First Amendment protected news reporters? Isn’t the mass media owned by big, evil, amoral corporations? Do corporations use their mass media assets to inform us or to generate propaganda that serves their political interests?
Consider that Amazon, for example, has competitive advantages it wants to secure from Internet regulation. So it pays Amazon to make certain it has political allies in Congress. Amazon owns The Washington Post. Does Amazon’s political interests affect The Washington Post’s news coverage? Let’s consider recent events.
Amazon HQ Relocation
When Amazon decided to relocate its headquarters, it secured huge tax breaks from the “winners” of the competition it staged. Those tax breaks give the company a big competitive advantage. Do the people who will pay for those tax breaks need to be convinced their political leadership made a good deal on their behalf? Perhaps, and Amazon is hardly the only big company getting such special treatment. Could that be why this is the story running in much of the news media, Correction: Amazon HQ-Trump Tax Break story? It is a timely distraction. However, state and local governments directly and specifically offered Amazon huge tax breaks. Opportunity zones are not targeted at big business.
- Amazon picks Northern Virginia, New York City to split new HQ (politico.com): This article notes Amazon required nondisclosure agreements.
- Here Are the Outrageous Incentives That Losing Cities Offered Amazon for HQ2 (slate.com)
- Amazon says $3B in tax breaks didn’t sway HQ2 decisions (nypost.com)
Consider that Amazon will compete with local businesses. Consider that taxpayers have to pay for tax breaks that supposedly did not sway Amazon’s decision (So why did Amazon stage a tax break competition?). If those tax breaks don’t matter, then why penalize small businesses and tax payers for the sake of a monstrously huge corporation? Why should government give big businesses costly tax advantages at the expense of small businesses?
Amazon Goes After Government Contracts
Not too long ago (When Obama was still in office.), Amazon bought The Washington Post (Why Jeff Bezos Bought The Washington Post (forbes.com)). At about the same time, the company won a big government contract. Coincidence? Think about the way Amazon is going into government contracting.
- Pentagon’s Winner-Take-All Move on Cloud Contract Expected to Favor Amazon (bloomberg.com)
- AMAZON SEEKS TO DOMINATE GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING (dailycaller.com)
- “EVERYBODY IMMEDIATELY KNEW THAT IT WAS FOR AMAZON”: HAS BEZOS BECOME MORE POWERFUL IN D.C. THAN TRUMP? (vanityfair.com)
- Oracle loses $10B Pentagon contract protest as rivals fear Amazon is front-runner (foxbusiness.com)
- Oracle Claimed that Bidding for the Pentagon’s Massive Cloud Contract Favors Amazon. The Government Is Unconvinced (fortune.com)
So What Is The Truth?
So is Amazon doing anything immoral or illegal? To some extent that seems to depend upon what we call immoral and who is enforcing the law. The bigger problem is figuring out what is going on. The notion you and I can easily get the truth out of a newspaper or a cable news show is naïve. How much incentive do the big corporations that own the mass media have to squeal on each other? How do we distinguish news reports from tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theorists and serious journalists? Unfortunately, it is not that difficult to make an ordinary activity look shady. What is unmistakable, however, is that the mass media does not exist to inform us. It exists to provide an audience for advertisers, to sell us whatever we will pay for (including sex and violence filled garbage), or to propagandize us.
Because we are not properly educated. We do not know how to be astute consumers of what the mass media produces. Many of us don’t even realize that the mass media, including the news media, is largely about separating us from our money, not informing us. Thus, we have become easy marks for political chicanery.
What Is To Come?
- Did The People Ever Run America? (25 November 1018): Here is an excerpt from Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville. What did Tocqueville observe when he visited America in the 1830’s.
- The Difference Between A Republic And A Representative Democracy: There are two ways of looking at this difference. James Madison explained the mechanical differences. What about the spiritual differences? UPDATE: I ended up retitling this post, Did The People Ever Run America? (November 25, 2018).
- Divide And Conquer: What Do We Call Home?: Do you live as part of community? Do you have family, friends, and neighbors you talk to, play with, educate your children with, go to church with, spend your lives with? Do you truly care about your neighbors, the people who live in your neighborhood
- Stuff, Sex, State, and Self: America’s Pagan Idols: What cause have you given your life to? For what have you sold your vote?