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Dewey and Social Control

A respondent writes regarding my criticism of Dewey’s pedagogy:

« The gist always coming down to:  Dewey suggests that children actually live within a human community, therefore Dewey is destroying the minds of children »

Dewey’s premise is rather more than that.

« and: Dewey is concerned with the problems of democratic society, therefore Dewey is an evil socialist looter »

Actually, even scholars sympathetic to Dewey recognize his politics as socialist (Sydney Hook for example).  And yes, socialism is looting and it is evil, as is its variant fascism.

Let’s let Dewey speak for himself.  This time from 1935. It’s the conclusion of his essay “Liberty and Social Control” reprinted in the book Problems of Man. Page 125:

“... the ends which liberalism has always professed can be attained only when control of the means of production and distribution is taken out of the hands of individuals who exercise powers created socially for narrow interests.  The ends [that is, of liberalism] remain valid.  But the means of attaining them demand a radical change in economic institutions and the political arrangements based upon them.  These changes are necessary in order that social control of forces and agencies socially created may accrue to the liberation of all individuals associated together in the great undertaking of building a life that expresses and promotes human activity.”

Now if all Dewey means is that owners of “means of production and distribution” should be punished for harming you if and when they do so  say by pollution, false advertising, or whatever  why doesn’t he say that instead of what he does say?

See also the even more brazen remarks of Dewey in his book Individualism Old and New, where he holds up the goal of the actual existing Soviet Union of 1930 as a model to follow  minus the KGB (but not always minus, more about this in  PRACTICE:  Dewey among the Soviets  on this website).

Dewey describes his politics as “democratic socialism”  socialism but somehow not “state socialism”  reminiscent of Marx’s “the state shall whither away.”  The differences between Dewey’s politics and Marx’s are inconsequential. Both lead ultimately  whether Dewey acknowledges it or not  to a totalitarian state, where the government tells you what to do and when to do it.Referring to me, the respondent wrote:

« We have seen how the fixed “certainties” of [his] belief system seem to HIM to be as obvious as not stepping out of windows. »

The very phrase “belief system” is relativistic.  It suggests that one fellow’s belief is always as valid as another’s, and no reference to reality is required  or possible, because there is no objective reality.