12. Governments don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking.
Close to something Carlin actually said, but a significantly botched quote:
Governments don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. That is against their interests. They want obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept it.
This is a failed attempt to quote Carlin’s routine called “Dumb Americans”, from his album and HBO special Life Is Worth Losing (2006). Even if we try to match up this quotation with the bogus one, using an ellipsis here and there to fill in the blocks of skipped words, then at best we’d get the following.
The owners of this country … don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking … That’s against their interest … They want obedient workers … people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs
Some people may see this and say, “Well then the quotation is off by a few words. So what?” The problem is that changing the subject from “the owners of this country” to “governments” effectively changes the whole context of the quotation.
Carlin was NOT talking about governments. As he even explicitly said in the same quote, “Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice.” Carlin was instead referring to people in positions of power – not necessarily through government – who make decisions that can potentially affect your life. This is a concept that he’s brought up in a few of his other HBO specials and books. The people who share the bogus quotation do so because, rightly or wrongly, they have a distrust of their government and the politicians who make up that government. But again, it’s not “governments”, let alone the US government, that Carlin was referring to. This makes the misquote misleading and worth correcting here.
For the sake of competion, here is the original quote in full, with the extracted parts in CAPS:
There’s a reason that education sucks. And it’s the same reason that it will never ever, ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better. Don’t look for it. Be happy with what you got. Because THE OWNERS OF THIS COUNTRY DON’T WANT THAT. I’m talking about the real owners now. The real owners. The big, wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, and city halls. They got the judges in their back pocket. And they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else.
But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. THEY DON’T WANT WELL-INFORMED, WELL-EDUCATED PEOPLE CAPABLE OF CRITICAL THINKING. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. THAT’S AGAINST THEIR INTEREST.
That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? THEY WANT OBEDIENT WORKERS. Obedient workers. PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST SMART ENOUGH TO RUN THE MACHINES AND DO THE PAPERWORK, AND JUST DUMB ENOUGH TO PASSIVELY ACCEPT ALL THESE INCREASINGLY SHITTIER JOBS with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits.