“Hm. Clearly no relation to Michael.”
“Oh? Who’s that, Syd?”
“This Adam Savage person, Reg. TV presenter and sometime SX guy, and like most TV types he thinks he’s smarter than the average bear. Made a crack about boosting test scores for school kids, the other day, that’s taken over Twitter.”
“Because he was selling …?”
“A public appearance in Tampa next week.”
“Naturally. So he can conveniently forget, in his quest for personal profit, the fact that we’ve had band in the American public schools, and we’ve had shop, and we’ve had all the artsy-fartsy stuff, had them for decades, and not only did the lovely coddled children produced by those schools not bother to learn how to read and do arithmetic, they couldn’t be bothered to fight a war either, so we lost Vietnam and made a pretty foul hash of Iraq.
“Once he’s made his money, he will come around to our way of thinking. He’ll recognize, as we do, that this testing is not about making all kids smarter. It’s about finding out which of them is worthy.
“For as long as we have to put up with this ‘universal public education’ nonsense, which I trust will not be a protracted length of time, we have to find out which of these kids has enough wit and drive for us to consider adopting them, bringing them into our circles of prosperity, and seeing how many, if any, of them can compete with those who were born into our circles and rightfully belong there. Those who can’t cut it, of course, as Tyler has correctly, and, alas, publicly laid out, get to take whatever’s left, whatever we choose to make available. As little as possible, of course.”
“True, Reg. But I reckon Mr. Adam Savage and his ilk are banking on people getting riled up over this prospect – with himself leading the charge, of course.”
“Ah, Sydney. I can’t decide whether your consistent ability to imagine circumstances, under which the little people actually manage to make trouble for us, is endearing or merely exasperating. I should advise Mr. Adam Savage to have a little chat with the global-warming losers. The ones who got Joe Q. Public all worked up over the rising temperature of the planet – until Joe realized that paying attention to that temperature would cost him his car. Price of gasoline is down now. And what has consumption done? Shot way up, of course. So much for global warming.
“Same thing here. Say Mr. Adam Savage’s campaigns start to gain traction. People start clamoring for band, for shop, for science labs, for arts projects. All this hands-on stuff. Then the good people will get handed the bill. None of this stuff can be done without paying more skilled people real wages to teach it, without cutting class sizes down to levels where it can actually be taught effectively.
“None of it will survive the first public school board meeting. Especially when the school board can present, as an alternative, online-based education systems that will require no skilled persons onsite, just glorified babysitters to manage the big-screen TVs – like the people we mostly have in the schools now, but actually paid accordingly. The good citizens will snap up their miniscule tax relief like drowning ocean liner passengers snap up life rings. And all will be well with our strategy to restrict real education to the worthy, funded by those willing and able to pay for their privileges.
“And how does Mr. Adam Savage propose to keep children safe while they’re doing all this dangerous hands-on stuff, hm? I heard this delicious story about the elementary school teacher who actually wanted to demonstrate to her students how rain was formed, by bringing a teakettle to class and actually boiling water in it! Teacher brought down half the school’s administration on her head. And by the time she’d demonstrated to the satisfaction of those administrators that none of their precious children were at any risk of getting their fingers burned, there was no time left in the day, or the curriculum, for the teacher to actually boil any water. The administrators did the job we wished them to do to perfection. Science was founded by the wealthy elites – by us – and it is properly ours, to dispense, or dispense with, as we see fit.”
“And those who are outside the elites are therefore motivated to stop science – like they’re doing on Mauna Kea on Hawai‘i Island right now.”
“Right, Syd. And how are those protestors coordinating their activities?”
“Precisely! We control science – with the willing assent of the people who use the products of science that make any actual difference. And by using the superstitions of those same people to knock down science that does not make any difference, we demonstrate to the scientists that we control them. There’s no more profit in tracking space rocks, never mind sending useless probes to them, than there is in collecting “global warming” data. The scientists will learn this, and adapt as we wish them to. Or die.”
“So if we control the scientists – if the scientists, therefore, don’t have the independence they claim they need to make decisions – are they even scientists any more?”
“‘If a tree falls in the forest with no one to hear it, does it make a sound?’ So long as those sciencey-type persons who work for us make us money, and those who don’t work for us are prevented from getting in the way of our making money, what do we care what labels we put on them?”
“You’d care what the label says on a bottle of wine, would you not?”
“Yes. But the analogy is flawed. The bottle of wine is a finished product being peddled for sale. You peddle it as hard as your budget allows. The scientist is more like the wine maker. That person you keep secret, as much as possible, along with that person’s portfolio. Speaking of wine …?”
“Yes. You could say that.”