Bauer – Education vs. Indoctrination

Bauer brings up yet another good point when he begins his section in Chapter 1 on education vs. indoctrination.  He begins by pointing out how illiteracy is used by politicians as an idea.

He gives the example of a congressman claiming that the other congresspeople were scientifically illiterate because they were voting against a water act.  He asks the question: “Scientifically illiterate or there was not enough evidence.”

Bauer uses this to segue (not segway like I had originally tried to spell it) into an idea of literacy that I had not thought about before.  Literacy is a culturally and socially determined entity, it is a political masterpiece akin to the name “Autism Speaks.”  He points out that in the example above, the congressman was using illiterate against those who didn’t think the same way he did.

But the choice of the word is genius.  Because who can say that they are against literacy?  If they are against literacy, then they are against the thing many believe to be the creation of literacy: education.  If you are against literacy, you are against education.  But Bauer makes a fantastic shift when he says that education is not what causes literacy, but indoctrination.  An indoctrination of making living, breathing, and thinking humans into what Foucault would call “Docile Bodies.”  If you create a bunch of people who think and act the same way, then you have what literacy actually aims at: people who all know the same things and do not question why things are done in the way they are done.

It’s genius rhetoric, but it is also infuriatingly frustrating rhetoric as well because it is so genius that no one questions it.  If anyone is against literacy, then they must be against education.

This is a really good book and very easily accessible to someone like me who didn’t go into science for a reason.


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