The real conspirators were ourselves. When we sold our liberty for the promise of automatic security, we became like children in a conspiracy against growing up, sad children who conspire against their own children, consigning them over and over to the denaturing vats of compulsory state factory schooling.
We were warned a long time ago...any man that trades freedom for security deserves neither. Government provided education that promises a good job and secure future, government managed retirement that promises a secure future, government managed health care that promises a secure future. It all ties together nicely, eh?
Unfortunately for us, none of those promises can be kept.
None of this was conspiratorial. Each increment was rationally defensible. But the net effect was the destruction of small-town, small-government America, strong families, individual liberty, and a lot of other things people weren't aware they were trading for a regular corporate paycheck.
We also didn't realize that the regular corporate paycheck wasn't going to be regular.
Our economy has no adequate outlet of expression for its artists, dancers, poets, painters, farmers, filmmakers, wildcat business people, handcraft workers, whiskey makers, intellectuals, or a thousand other useful human enterprises; no outlet except corporate work or fringe slots on the periphery of things. Unless you do "creative" work the company way, you run afoul of a host of laws and regulations put on the books to control the dangerous products of imagination which can never be safely tolerated by a centralized command system.
Interestingly, Daniel Pink writes in his new book that now is the time that the creative class will rise. His theory is that all the mundane production and technical work can and will be outsourced. All that will be left is creative work.
Although plenty went wrong with the national experiment in forced schooling, nothing was as damaging as this.
Samuel Johnson entered a note into his diary several hundred years ago about the powerful effect reading Hamlet was having upon him. He was nine at the time. Abraham Cowley wrote of his "infinite delight" with Spenser's Faerie Queen; an epic poem that treats moral values allegorically in nine-line stanzas that never existed before Spenser (and hardly since). He spoke of his pleasure with its "Stories of Knights and Giants and Monsters and Brave Houses." Cowley was twelve at the time. It couldn't have been an easy read in 1630 for anyone, and it's beyond the reach of many elite college graduates today. What happened? The answer is that Dick and Jane happened. "Frank had a dog. His name was Spot." That happened.
I'm constantly amazed at what my kids teach themselves from books. It should go without saying that they didn't learn to read the "school way".
Gatto also touches on the future a bit. The underclasses have been sold a bill of goods. A college degree isn't really worth that much either. The working class is starting to realize that 16 years of school was just a way to keep us busy and keep us under control.
What happens if we decide to revolt?