The Middle Class Fights Back: How Progressive Movements Can Restore Democracy in America

By Brian D’Agostino | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
School Reform and Other
Diversions

INTRODUCTION

The national security, postindustrial, and neoliberal belief systems promised national greatness and ever-increasing prosperity. For more than three decades, however, there has been a growing chasm between these promises and the actual economic fortunes of tens of millions of Americans. Mass discontent increasingly threatens the plausibility of these ideologies and the state capitalist power structure they legitimize. Corporate elites deflect this discontent from themselves and maintain the sacred-cow status of their capitalism-friendly policies by attributing national decline to scapegoats—especially unions, “government” (defined to exclude the national security state and corporate welfare), and a public education system that is allegedly failing to prepare America’s youth to compete in the global economy.

Further, through their ownership and control of vast media conglomerates, their domination of electoral politics and the state, and their influence over cultural institutions that depend on their philanthropy, America’s ruling class propagates this self-serving ideology of sacred cows and scapegoats deep into the consciousness of ordinary people. This is not to say that all the rich and powerful are engaged in deliberate propaganda, though some certainly are. Rather, as in past ages, ruling elites generally believe in the ideologies they propagate, which serve to simultaneously legitimize their power in the eyes of others and enable them to feel good about themselves. The Spanish conquistadores, for example, thought of themselves not as oppressors but rather as enlightened leaders bringing lost souls to Christ. Similarly, British imperialists

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The Middle Class Fights Back: How Progressive Movements Can Restore Democracy in America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Part I- How the Rich Rule 1
  • Chapter 1- The National Security Scam 3
  • Chapter 2- The Attack on Wages and Benifits 29
  • Chapter 3- School Reform and Other Diversions 55
  • Chapter 4- The Attack on Goverment 83
  • Part II- A New Progressive Agenda 95
  • Chapter 5- Government for the People 97
  • Chapter 6- Markets without Capitalism 129
  • Chapter 7- Unleashing Minds and Brains 143
  • Chapter 8- Renewing Democracy 159
  • Appendix Psychology of Radical Right 169
  • Bibliography 177
  • Index 197
  • About the Author 205
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