The Third Place: Historical Case Studies for the SSE (Pt. I of III)

Like the Work-Standard, the concept of the SSE is an original creation of this Author, whose ideas, concepts, and theories were drawn from centuries of accumulated knowledge on various related topics, fields, and disciplines. While the “State of Total Mobilization” was a recurring concept derived from the works of Ernst Jünger, its corresponding “Total Educational Effort” originated from the works of Mary Perkins Ryan. Ryan was an American Catholic housewife from New England whose Vocation in Life happened to be concerned with education of young adults. Even though I am aware that not everyone reading my own works is expecting to encounter aspects of Roman Catholicism, just as I am also aware that not all Roman Catholics will be supportive of the Work-Standard, I must admit that there are some intriguing parallels between Ryan’s Total Educational Effort and Jünger’s State of Total Mobilization.

In this three-part Entry, I will be presenting a series of empirical case studies that are of significance to the ongoing discussion about the SSE. There are certain aspects of the Total Educational Effort, which cannot otherwise be elaborated by philosophy or political theory insofar as they can only be fleshed out by empirical evidence gathered from specific historical events throughout the 20th century, particularly historical events where young people had a predominant role. Please note that the Total Educational Effort, like the State of Total Mobilization, is a non-exhaustive area of research. While other valid case studies do exist, for the sake of brevity, I will only be focusing on a select number that are of strategic value for Section Five.  

Origins of the Total Educational Effort

Part of the motivation behind wanting to write The Third Place (1st Ed.) was to address the role of young people in the State of Total Mobilization. This was a topic which simply could not be given a satisfactory discussion in The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.) insofar as the ideas described here are dependent on what has already been established in that treatise. At the same time, the State of Total Mobilization itself has impacted the everyday lives of young people in ways that are not well-understood but are nonetheless taken for granted. After the State of Total Mobilization enabled propertyless men and power to agitate for Legal Rights throughout the 19th century, another precedent was introduced at the turn of the 20th century. One important social reform in the Western world concerned the education of young people beyond the primary educational level.

The central argument is that the State should assume a proactive role in the education of young people among the ranks of the Totality. The initial argument was that by ensuring that young people are able to complete secondary education, they will be able to navigate the State of Total Mobilization later on in Life. Coinciding with this trend was the belief that more and more young people are becoming increasingly isolated from nature due to the growing prevalence of Technology. The “Scouting Movement” in particular was a major proponent of providing young people a chance to leave the cities and develop a closer relationship with nature through camping and physical activity among other youths of around the same age.     

Political movements, organizations and parties have also caught on to this trend as well. In addition to some establishing separate female wings, a “Youth Wing” was also established where politically-minded young people are able to experience a combination of physical and ideological training. The Soviet Union, Fascist Italy, the German Reich, the British Empire, and these United States all had prior histories of youth movements where young people found themselves involved in political activities beyond the usual mundane affairs related to scouting. This was arguably the case during the two World Wars, where young people found themselves increasingly mobilized to support the war efforts of their respective nations.

Ernst Jünger and Mary Perkins Ryan both came of age during this period in the early 20th century, and one can find aspects of these trends influencing their respective discussions about the role of the State within the national educational system. In Der Arbeiter, Jünger was convinced that the national educational system would allow the social bonds between Totality and Self to become solidified by the State and yield the establishment of a National Consciousness. It would also give rise to the social conditions where young people find themselves increasingly involved in the State of Total Mobilization, although Jünger does not specify exactly how this would occur outside of the social demands of young people and their fascination with emerging technologies.

For Mary Perkins Ryan, she was investigating another aspect of the same phenomenon. In her works, Ryan became convinced that the rise of the national educational system should never be limited to the routine pedagogy of classroom instruction. The State must not be the only entity imparting knowledge to young people; she believed that the Totality has its own role to play. This brings us back to Jünger’s idea about the social bonds of the Totality and the Self being integrated into the State, of which the national educational system happens to be one of those avenues. But therein lies an important issue which Ryan sought to address, its metaphysical premises reminiscent of the “Political Organization Problem” posited by Jünger and Heidegger as a concept which I had described it in The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.).

The historical context behind Ryan’s Total Educational Effort was derived from the conditions occurring both inside and outside the Catholic Church during the 1960s and 1970s. The Catholic Church in the 1960s was trying to reevaluate its role and purpose within the State of Total Mobilization. This was best exemplified by the Second Vatican Council and the Church teachings which emerged from it. The most significant theme associated with Vatican II and what motivated Ryan to write two key works was that the Church can no longer proclaim its teachings through language alone; the faithful must act on their religious beliefs as Roman Catholics. These changes were eventually consolidated by the Church in the 1970s, the legacy of which continues to be affect the Vatican’s diplomatic relations with other nations, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

Vatican II was just one among many different political and social changes occurring in the Western world during those two decades. As stated at the beginning of Section Four, the Counterculture was also occurring around the same timeframe. And while Ryan did not have as many connections to the Counterculture as Jünger (and there are plenty of other arguments to be made about those connections), her writings are indicative of the fact that the conduct of young people in the 1960s and 1970s became a very serious matter of political, social, educational and cultural debate.

A Basic Primer on Student Finances?

The two important works penned by Ryan are of interest in understanding the Total Educational Effort. Those two are entitled, Are Parochial Schools the Answer? and We’re All in This Together. Ryan wrote those books as critiques of Catholic America’s “Parochial School System,” whose institutional logic has remained more or less intact despite massive changes to its size and composition. She argued that, because American Catholics are no longer discriminated for their religious beliefs, the Parochial School System is not only losing its Authentic Dasein (its “Catholic Identity,” to be more precise) but also draining the manpower and resources of Catholic America. The manpower and resources spent on propping up and maintaining the Parochial School System, Ryan argued, have grown so massive that the Catholic Church in America can no longer educate American Catholics of all ages.  Rather than continuing to spend more and more manpower and resources on the Parochial School System, Ryan advocated for ways to revolutionize its Student Economy and reduce the financial expenditures, stressing the need to look for suitable alternatives to implement faith formation.

The problem described by Ryan is capable of occurring within the conduct of MTEP (Mission-Type Economic Planning). It can happen in the VCS Economy, the SSE, and the Council State. The possibilities can be summarized as three discernible phenomena under the Work-Standard:

  1. What happens if the Requisitionary Productive Forces (RPF), the units of currency that the Central Bank is allowed to put into circulation, surpasses the Total Productive Potential (TPP) of the Life-Energy Reserve? The excess units of currency yields “Sovereign Schuld” that must be paid off in the future.
  2. What happens if Revenues exceed Expenses? That too creates Sovereign Schuld.
  3. What happens if so much Life-Energy is being expended on a given economic activity to the detriment of all other economic activities? The Quality of Arbeit diminishes and that in turn leads to a subsequent increase in the Quality of Geld. This will cause Attrition for the affected economic activity and create Inaction for the Quality of Arbeit of others.

Each of those three phenomena can serve as suitable explanations about the Parochial School System. If we were to reimagine it as a real Student Economy, it would be overburdened by Sovereign Schuld, struggling to generate Revenues and a depreciating Quality of Arbeit commensurate with an out of control Quality of Geld. To maintain its Student Economy, the would-be Student Government has had to borrow increasing amounts of Actual Geld from the Central Bank, causing the RPF to increase and eventually surpass the TPP, resulting in additional accumulations of Sovereign Schuld. Worse, the Attrition Rate would be so terrible that Prices across the board would increase exponentially.

In a certain sense, this has already happened to the Parochial School System in America since the 1970s. The Catholic education of young adults has become increasingly inconsistent and even out of reach for working class Catholic families. Since the Parochial School System relied on the Vocations of religious nuns and monks as well as priests to keep costs down, that option has also become unsustainable as fewer young people are going into the priesthood and religious life.      

Whether one considers themselves as Roman Catholic or even agrees with Ryan’s assessment is not the Implicit Intent of this discussion. What needs to be addressed is that there is an instructive lesson to be inferred from understanding the operation of a Student Economy for any Student Government. The Student Government, like the Household (and the Council State), has its own Budget, Revenues and Expenses. Its economic activities, given its ability to create Arbeit and Geld, are capable of adding to the TPP and RPF values of the Life-Energy Reserve. Just like the Totality, the Student Body has to balance their Student Economy’s Quality of Arbeit and Quality of Geld, affecting the final Attrition/Inaction Rate of the Sociable Currency.

The lesson to be drawn from Ryan’s Total Educational Effort is that the Student Government and Student Body are not isolated from the Council State and Totality, both of which are governed by Jünger’s State of Total Mobilization. The Student Body’s actions and those of their Student Government can affect the Council State and Totality, just as the Council State and Totality’s actions can also affect the Student Government and Student Body. The Total Educational Effort, thanks to the Work-Standard, feeds directly into the State of Total Mobilization. I described the precise manner in which that occurs through a series of mathematical equations in the final Section of The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.), demonstrating how the SSE can impact the final TPP value of the Life-Energy Reserve through the actions of the Student Government and Student Body.

An Experiment in Student Self-Governance?

In Political Science, “Self-Governance” is defined as the ability of the Self or Totality to freely exercise activities and regulate conduct without any unnecessary intervention from the State. The same definition applies to the ability of the individual Student or the Student Body to act without receiving any interventions from the Student Government. It is here that the concept of ‘Student Self-Governance’ can be spoken of in the SSE. The Student Tournament and Student Government both exist as entities capable of operating without the official Tournament of the VCS Economy and the central government of the Council State. Self-Governance is realized in the SSE when the Student Body demonstrates mastery of the fugue of Council Democracy and MTEP (Mission-Type Economic Planning) under the Work-Standard.  

There is an historical event from the 1960s where the implications of Student Self-Governance can be studied. The “Third Wave Experiment” was a simulated training exercise by a Californian schoolteacher in Palo Alto named Ron Jones, who was trying to teach the students of his Contemporary World classes about the Hitlerists’ seizure of the German Reich. The students had trouble rationalizing how the German-speaking world let the Hitlerists take over the Weimar Republic and left the whole German Reich in ruins by 1945. Since he wanted his students to experience how the Hitlerists consolidated power, Jones conducted a social experiment that ran the course of an entire school week in April 1967.

The Experiment was split into four phases:

  • Strength through Discipline: Students are expected to follow orders when asked.  
  • Strength through Community: Students are expected to view each other as members of a Student Body with shared interests, goals, and beliefs.
  • Strength through Action: Students are expected to act on their orders as a combined effort.
  • Strength through Pride: Students are expected to justify or question the outcomes of following their orders.

The general consensus is that the Experiment began as a class lecture that quickly evolved into a live training exercise. To enforce the parameters of the Experiment, Jones relied on the Grading System of the national educational system. The highest grade is conferred if either the participants complete all four phases with the utmost passion or they channel that same passion toward working together and challenging “Mr. Jones.” An average grade is conferred to those who simply went along. And a failing grade is conferred to those who disobeyed and refused to follow directions.    

The precise catalyst that led to the Experiment going live is when the Intent changed from educational to political. Jones convinced the participants that the “Third Wave” was in actuality the beginnings of a political movement. It occurred during the third phase, “Strength through Action,” which at that stage most participants are actively carrying out their orders.  This alleged “‘Third Wave’ movement” would express a likewise opposition to US involvement in the Vietnam War. The male participants in particular knew that they were going to be conscripted into the US military upon finishing their secondary education and were hoping that the tertiary educational level would defer them from conscription (the grading itself had to have played a role). Having convinced themselves that opposition to conscription was the real Intent, they convinced their female classmates that this was their chance to start an antiwar movement, to be a part of something that is far greater than themselves. It was at that particular moment when the Experiment is said to have spiraled out of control.     

From that moment on ward, Jones became what the German-speaking referred to as the “Rattenfänger von Hameln (Rat-Catcher of Hamelin),” who was said to have led the children of Hameln astray in retaliation for the town’s refusal to pay Actual Geld for dealing with a rat infestation. In the English-speaking world, the folkloric myth is best understood as the “Piped Piper,” a charismatic figure who misleads people through demagogic appeals to public opinion.      

Palo Alto is not far from the San Francisco Bay Area. This 1909 painting of The Pied Piper, commissioned by Maxfield Parrish, can still be found inside the Pied Piper at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.

The implications of this Experiment are clear to this Author. After all, why did the German-speaking world allow the Hitlerists get away with their actions? Why did certain members of the Konservative Revolution, despite some spying for the Soviet Union or plotting to assassinate Adolf Hitler, chose to join the NSDAP or fought in the Wehrmacht? Why did the Prussian military aristocracy, who acted as a sort of Deep State within the Weimar Republic, willingly accepted the Hitlerists despite displaying covert acts of opposition? How could anyone in the German-speaking world claim to be acting in the interests of the German Reich without ever being accused of supporting the Hitlerists? Were there any limits as to how far the German-speaking world was willing to adhere to the Führerprinzip (Principle of Leaderism)?

The lesson that Jones wanted to impart to his Contemporary World classes was that Hitlerism’s political legitimacy rested squarely on the Führerprinzip. Without the Führerprinzip, Hitlerism is nothing more than a Cult of Personality around Adolf Hitler. The crux behind the Führerprinzip, including why it should deserve contempt, is that the Leader will always be right, even in those moments where he is literally wrong. Labor Unions and Enterprises upholding the Führerprinzip have the most to gain, whereas those that do not will be crushed and their assets seized. What neither Jones nor most historians will ever know are the other problems of the Führerprinzip. Its institutionalization will lead to an excessive centralization, bureaucratization, and formalism whose impracticality yields corruption, favoritism, and cronyism. Even if the Hitlerists had these issues under control, absent any serious reforms, they will seriously impact the German Reich sometime during the latter half of the 20th century.   

Why Study the Experiment?

I am convinced that the Third Wave Experiment is a worthwhile case study because of the implications that it imparts on the question of Self-Governance by the Student Body. It says something about the feasibility of applying aspects of Council Democracy in the national educational system and the potential complications which might arise in the process.  

First, the political education of young people does not necessarily begin on the university campuses at the tertiary education level. Instead, it can begin as early as the secondary educational level, where the general age range runs between 14 and 18. This is also the same age range where the development of human consciousness reaches its maturity phase in time for early adulthood. The question that must be entertained, assuming this social experiment did in fact occur, is what served as the catalyst for the political mobilization of its involved participants.

Second, the social experiment itself revealed the stark differences between the Custodial-Care Function and the Total Educational Effort concerning the role of the Teacher within the classroom. In the Custodial-Care Function, the Teacher serves as the transceiver of information to the Student Body, imparting everything they know. The Student Body are supposed to be passive spectators who are expected to later recite that information. Meanwhile, in the Total Educational Effort, the Teacher provides instruction and instills critical and creative thinking about those instructions. The Student Body is expected to be active participants who must not only grasp those instructions, but also understand the Intent of those instructions. If the Students are able to know the Intent, they can instinctively follow directions and later apply the information hands-on.  

And third, it is a given among educators that the Teacher of a classroom wields the Intents of Command and Obedience. The Teacher expects compliance from the Student Body and enforces their Domain within the Work-World through “Grades” and “Demerits.” Grades are used to gauge the performance of individual Students, Demerits reprimanding individual Students who fail to enforce the Intents of Command and Obedience. The Total Educational Effort differs from the Custodial-Care Function in its application of Command and Obedience: just as the Teacher can exercise Command and Obedience, so too can the Student Body within relevant situations.   

With these factors in mind, one must wonder if the Experiment could have gone in any other direction. I am inclined to believe that the Experiment might have morphed into a live-training exercise in Council Democracy if Jones used “Strength through Conscience” (which I believe would be another way of conducting the Experiment). In essence, Jones wanted to stress the need for Freedom of Conscience in order to demonstrate why it is sometimes necessary to dissent from a prevailing consensus and try to change it. The message here would then be one of “Diversity in Community and Conscience, Unity in Discipline and Action.”       

The significance is a valid one in Council Democracy. Everybody must come to a majority consensus on any given policy issue within the allotted timeframe before voting on what is be done. But unlike Parliamentary Democracy, in Council Democracy, everybody is expected to follow through on that decision and not try to interfere with it until enough time has passed for the results to finally materialize. Only then can the ones in dissent proceed to oppose the prevailing consensus and implement their own.    

If one has doubts about the feasibility of a decision or its implications, one must take a proactive role and express their concerns about the emerging consensus. Address the concerns of oneself and others in a direct and straightforward manner before everyone else decides to cast their votes. That will force everyone else to stop and think about the decisions in front of them before rushing straight into a potential disaster. In MTEP (Mission-Type Economic Planning), I introduced the methodology of Richard Alan Clarke’s “Cassandra Coefficient” to ensure that anyone can anticipate potential disasters and policy failures before they happen. Everything discussed about it in The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.) will be expanded upon at the end of Section Four.     

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