In the interest of maintaining a semblance of sanity, I have not discussed or written about the presidential elections in quite some time. Pageantry now masquerades on the national stage as a substitute for critical thinking and substantive action. The decadence of American life lends itself to feelings of complacency or worse: nihilism. A growing faction of the country has resigned itself to a blueprint designed by their exploiters.
Nihilism is not an accident – it is a goal of capitalism. Despite all the democratic language about voting and education, the ruling class is not interested in a population of enlightened citizens. Consider the Clinton Campaign’s desire to produce an “unaware and compliant citizenry.” If intelligence were the aim, there would not be a systematic under-funding of public schools and a strong movement to privatize the ones that remain. The chief objective is to have a reservoir of obedient and disposable workers.
School (under capitalism) is about training, not education. The first lesson children learn is how to stand in a straight line; followed by coloring inside the lines. At its base, education is mostly about transforming curious and imaginative children into mindless adults. Under this economic regime, school is where dreams go to die. School is where people are taught that maintaining oppression is freedom and fighting for freedom is oppression. This paradox helps produce a paralyzing nihilism – which discourages alternative thoughts and actions. The crippling of the masses works to the advantage of those in power.
The challenge is to move from a passive sulking in our nihilism to an active indictment of the power structure. We must combat feelings of hopelessness and fight to construct a better world.