Monday, December 03, 2007

Mikhail Bakunin on Educational Disparity

Nullifidian (Oolon Colluphid) is featuring his first guest blogger on "Beware! Anarchist!". It's a speech given by Mikhail Bakunin regarding educational disparity and his words are as relevant today as it was when it was originally written (1869).

Of course the person with access to the most education will be able to enjoy more of the "freedoms" that, theoretically, we all have. I especially like the points he made about the petite bourgeoisie. Even among those of us who have been able to attend universities, there is a hierarchy of education.

I've gone to both state and elite private universities. The differences between the two were astonishing. However, I had the same amount of intellectual ability at both schools. I was able to participate in all sorts of programs that put "deserving" minorities (e.g. women, people of color, people with disabilities) in universities that they would not otherwise be able to attend.

On the surface it seems quite benevolent, doesn't it? However, there is a bigger picture to be considered. Don't these programs serve to placate the petite bourgeoisie and keep them/us separated from the proletariat? As long as the system holds out carrots and makes them available to a select few, then we have a lot of motivation to to abandon the working class. Doesn't it make us feel like it really is a merit-based system? I mean, just look at how it was able to recognize how deserving we are!

While I'm busy eating from the trough because it could all be snatched away from me tomorrow, how in the world can I be expected to stop munching and start complaining about all the folks who didn't get to eat? And, anyway, why should I bite the hand that feeds me?

I keep thinking about a little saying that we used a lot when I was in my twenties. "Get in where you fit in!" Now the question is, "Where do I fit in?"

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