I founded Free Learning Exchange, 1970. I invited my wife’s step-father, Dr. Emile Benoit, to be a trustee if he wanted. Emile did what he always did when he didn’t like what I said (which seemed to be all the time): he left the room without saying anything! At the next meal in which we were guests in Benoit’s apartment (practically every meal), I found a magazine by my plate: cover article: Sidney Hook on Ivan Illich. I read it. Hook was rejecting Illich. For anyone who had read Illich, understood 10% of it, it was clear that Hook had neither read it nor understood it!
I’d just seen Illich on a Hugh Downs show, Downs invited Illich back the next day, Illich accepted, Garagiola glowered (Illich had been talking about cultural imperialism): next day, no Illich, no explanation: no mention whatsoever. And the moron monkeys don’t even see how their cage is cleaned.
The moron monkeys don’t see how their cage is cleaned.
Illich (and I) wanted to deregulate information. Hook and Benoit were among the regulators.
Benoit hated the school system, but was part of the university system, thought the universities were somehow exempt from the anti-intellectual crimes of the schools.
Benoit and Hook were not just both New Yorkers, both Jews, both academics who’d found tenured niches; they were establishment intellectuals. Illich and I were anti-establishment intellectuals: intellectuals criticizing the Establishment, offering to improve it.
Benoit and Hook in this case were functioning as the Temple: against God.
Illich was expelled from the church. I was buried by the universities (and ignored by the churches). I tell my stories and wait for Judgment: nothing to be done: until there’s an opening for truth.
As is, the labs are run by the FBI: caught red handed, again and again, they’re still boss of the budget.
I’ll provide more details, more depth and breadth, scrapbook fashion, rearrange once there’s more to work with:
Argument by Vacation
Emile argued by leaving the room. So did my wife, so did her mother. So occasionally does my son.
Do I? Is there anyone who doesn’t?
People I know refute what I’m saying by not letting me say it, but misunderstanding what I’ve said if I’ve managed to say it anyway. The audience doesn’t get the joke, rejects the challenge. Crucifixion is the cheap and easy way to shut God up, to waste intelligence: let the sighted die, and the blind will rule by default.
Decades later some joker makes a living on TV by telling my jokes!
The first ten people with a new cosmological idea, a new theological idea, a new idea of social fairness, get creamed, then one gets tolerated, then a hoard steal the royalties of the first ten crucified.
There’s another Benoit story relating directly to the above but let me tell an Etta story first:
My mother in law, economist to the UN, was talking about some opera company needing subsidies. Romney doesn’t want DC subsidizing Big Bird; I think people should not get what they won’t pay for. Otherwise, how is evolution to learn? (My favorite joke on the subject is my Rocco joke!) Anyway: it kills me to sense how much great music never gets heard because Beethoven is getting all the money for music. If people won’t support a true science pepole have no business getting a true science; if the Jews murder Jesus, the Jews have no right to Jesus: and if Christians won’t support Jesus’ followers, Christians have no right to Jesus either.
I said, “I don’t believe that anything should be subsidized.” Etta, looked at me, her face pale, and left the room!
She didn’t get the joke, didn’t want to see the point. Absolutely refused to play straightman to me.
I was inviting a dialogue; she was rehearsing an orthodoxy: a liberal orthodoxy: government should monopolize the resources and interfere with everything!
Hilary does the same thing: I tell Hilary, 1969 or so, “Oo, I just thought of the greatest short story.” and she’d leave the room. When other people interrupt me, Hilary turns to them to show she’s following their interruption; not my point, whatever point I was about to make! Why did I marry her? pure masochism?
Why did Jesus walk into the Temple? Didn’t he know what would happen?
People can’t see who or what I am because hypocritical practicality is the only non-sabotaged philosophy. Sidney Hook was a practical philosopher!
Another Emile story: I no longer remember the group names: there was a group, at Princeton, anti-Commie establishment intellectuals, who dreamed about how free we could all be if only we could first vanquish the Commies.
Hook was a Commie first, an anti-Commie later. Emile may have been half-Commie at one time, who wasn’t? Anyway, these Princetonians wanted to nuke the Commies and live in a simple perfect ideal world: Draconian solution.
Emile talked seriously about these people. I said, “They want to kill half the people in the world, then live in peace?”
Emile said, “No, they don’t want to kill anybody.”
“Nuking the soviets would have no casualties? Aren’t “half” the people in the world Commie in one way or another?”
“Oh …” Emile, caught in double-think.
By the way, read about Emile in Jules Henry’s Culture Against Man, 1963. Henry details how Emile was the chairman of the US committee that developed the idea of “disarmament”: paraphrasing:
we have a million A-bombs
we depend economically on building more A-bombs
A-bombs are dangerous, not all agree we should have quite so many,
some are made nervous by people who want to nuke everything, we don’t really know what the results would be …
So: get reelected by promising to slow down the acceleration:
if we build fifty new A-bombs this year, promise to build only fifty-five new ones next year.
Grow, accelerate, but slow the acceleration! Call the speed up a slow down.
I imagine that every intelligent, creative, independent, original unique person has to put up with the same behavior: but of course I can’t know: there’s no honest communication.
The Tudor princess wins the beauty contest because all non-Tudor participants have boiling oil poured on them. Americans weren’t the first, aren’t the only ones.
Sorry this is such a mess. Pardon the vitriol, notice though: it’s been earned. Still, I’ll edit, trim.
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