Shoshana Zuboff says Hillary Clinton is banking on a system of superdelegate elites overriding the will of the people and criticizes this mentality:
With tens of millions of blogs, 211 million Internet users, and more than two hundred million cell phones, these folks don’t want to be cogs in some vast machinery of Big Politics or Big Business. They want a voice and they want their voices to matter. They don’t want to simply take orders; they do want to make a difference.
With the idea of a people averse to taking orders I heartily agree, though I do not think superdelegates would ever have the power to overturn a clear win. The American tradition of liberty and the voice of the governed is very powerful, even if the people can be misled, manipulated and deceived. We may be fickle idiots, but it really is crucial for our voices to at least be heard and our concerns to be taken seriously if we
shout louder present them rationally.
However, Zuboff hinges her discussion of Hillary Clinton’s (perhaps reprehensible) hope on the premise of the people being educated:
Since the last brokered Democratic convention at mid-century, the huddled masses have been reborn as a nation of wired individuals. The greatest symbol of this shift is education. In 1900, only 2.3% of the United States’ young adults were enrolled in college. By 1940 that proportion had inched up to 9.1%, but by the end of the century it had exploded to 55.7%.
With this I cannot but cordially disagree. I shall assume her figures are correct, but her argument contains the logical fallacy of begging the question: she uses the proposition of university and college enrolment entailing real education to prove under the cover that our vast masses really are educated. I take issue with such an argument, to which she seems either to have paid little attention or swept under the rug in the spirit of catering to the crowd’s demand for numbers that don’t actually mean anything without explanation.
Since she goes to the trouble of highlighting these facts, I should hope she would not fall into the useless-numbers trap. It is certainly true that in ages past higher education has been a preserve of the few, but I do not think a system that has undergone John Dewey’s abuse and pushes a majority through into middle-classdom really means anything of substance to our ability to make the right decisions. Might — or numbers — does not make right, regardless of whether it comes from the top or the bottom.
I’m not saying Hillary is definitely not elitist or ruthless, but pointing to the schooling of the American people does little to speak for this assertion. Indeed we may just be held captive to a system that short-changes us of real education and make us technocrats who feel educated as long as we hold to the orthodoxy of an ill-justified vision of “progress” and “change”. Change is good only if it actually makes things better. This may be a near-tautology, but think about what change makes things better and what change makes things worse.
Chances are, if things are not at their worst, many kinds of changes could make things worse. Therefore we must do more than chant for change and say “Yes, we can!” about it. Things may be bad now, but a regime change does not imply real progress. Real education should enable us to think clearly about the issues that face us, even if ultimately the problem is much more complex than our solutions. Real education should enable us to think about being a virtuous nation and not just a superficially prosperous but fundamentally diseased one. Real education should enable us to think of this reality in light of a higher one.
Now do I jump ship because no one in these hallowed halls sees education that way? Not if it’s redeemable inside the system, unless by staying I would be putting many in danger. I need to assess education and see what I shall do about it.