Educated elites as followers

For the first time I find myself in disagreement with Heather Mallick. She writes in part that “[e]ducated people are more likely to deny authority. People who don’t read don’t have an intellectual storehouse to help them think independently. They do what they’re told. They have an endless desire to please those in authority; they don’t know they don’t have to.”

If it was anyone other than Heather Mallick who wrote that, I would be outraged. As it is, I am simply confused and upset. I am in my second year of University in Communications Studies. I am 51 years old and spent 30 years working for Bell as a technician. Most of those years I was basically, just existing – yes following. I had not formed a sense of class consciousness yet. I did so bt reading and paying attention, but I wasn’t TRAINED to do it. Elites are trained to think in certain ways, and believe me as a university student, I believe intellectuals have a lot to teach us. However, knowledge gained without some grasp of the realities of the working class existence is dangerous – especially in these days in which PR spin counts as hard news.

Some describe working people as followers who will believe whatever they are told. Yet it is educated elites who go along with George Bush – good people who are looking out for their own well-being – on the backs of working class Iraqi’s who are being blown up by the dozens everyday!

As a worker, I got involved with the union, became a Local president and ran for the NDP in 1999 and 2000. I attended Labour College in 2000. Today I describe myself as a Socialist convinced that “Neo-Liberal” elites promoting a business agenda for every human endeavour have brought the world to the brink of global disaster, through increased conflict and environmental collapse.

Noam Chomsky says that the educated elites are more easily indoctrinated – they are the followers enabling the power elites to continue their assaults on working people in order to maximize profits.

There is a certain common-sense to the collective mind of working people. It doesn’t take a well-educated belief to know genocide when confronted by it. However, to live and work under the yoke of a large corporation is to live a life of resistance everyday. And it takes away energy that could be used to constructively confront and challenge corporate power.

In other words, working class people would by their very nature, stand with their bloodied class peers in Iraq, except the filters on the media that Chomsky and Herman describe in “Manufacturing Consent” tend to blunt the energy and fighting spirit inherent in the working class.

The working class could and should be the policy leaders of society and we are not because we have always been in a class war, THAT WE ARE LOSING, and most people – elites and working class – do not see it that way.



Filed under Heather Mallick, Media Matters, Paul Chislett, Politics, PR Spin, propaganda, Union Activism, Windsor Media Conference

4 responses to “Educated elites as followers

  1. Yes, you are clearly right on all your points. If you haven’t yet read “The prince and other writings” by Antonio Gramsci you may find it interesting. “White collar”, “New men of power…” and “The power elite” all by C. Wright Mills also go into depth on these issues. Simply put: it is clear that the intelligentsia and especially the academic intelligentsia owe their livelihoods to the power elite that run our society in such a way as to further enrich and empower the power elite by weakening and impoverishing the rest of us. This makes the intelligentsia go along to get along lest they lose their cushy jobs.

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

  2. Thanks for the book links – Gramsci is on my list to read and I’ll look for Mills as well.

  3. Bob

    A Small observation from my nearly 62 years of life. It’s been my experience that those who believe themselves to be intellectual rarely are capable of original thought. They are great at regurgitating the words of others, but fall way short when they need to think for themselves. They tend to ignore those ‘lesser people’ who would dare to disagree with them and are closed to any reason but their own.

    Those who genuinely are intellectual are above average listeners who will consider the thoughts of others regardless of their educational background. They will respect the knowledge gained by experience with the same validity as that which is gained from books. They are respectful of opposing views and are open to civil debate.

    Good luck with your studies and hope you will remain with the latter.

  4. Alice M. Heath

    Regardless of political opinion or orientation, Canadians (who are forever – for some reason – exercising a deep need by comparing themselves to Americans) ought to be deeply ashamed of Ms. Mallick’s “contribution” to the political debate. Surely we’re better than this, Canada.

    Maybe our educational standards have really dropped so far in the last few decades that we think of Ms. Mallick’s writing as “witty” or “intelligent.” (And please, spare me the talk of our standards being better than those of the Americans. It’s just more proof that we feel inadequate enough that we need to compare ourselves to Uncle Sam again.) Heather Mallick is little better, in terms of quality of content, than Howard Stern – except you don’t need to go to private satellite radio to find it. It’s right there on the CBC.

    This only makes us look foolish. Maybe the CBC ought to let some grown-ups write their political opinion pieces. Apparently, Heather Mallick’s “lowly master’s degree” failed to help her achieve emotional adulthood.

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